Do You Trust Gmail?

Are you concerned about Gmail violating your privacy? Do you have a method for routinely backing up your Gmail account?  Do you trust Gmail?

Gmail logo

When Gmail started two years ago I thought the idea of having a free, giant, email account was divine and I paid someone on eBay $40 to get one of the first Gmail invitations.


Once I was in the Gmail beta and I had my own invitations to distribute, I sent an email to some of my favorite students and to a few faculty members and support staff at a major East Coast University — where I was teaching at the time — to offer them free Gmail invitations.

Moments after I sent the email one of the main technical support people in the department — a guy I previously considered a friend — sent out a broadcast email explaining how dangerous Gmail was to our privacy and that anyone who took me up on my offer of a free Gmail account was not only naive, but inviting trouble into their lives because Gmail “reads” every message it receives.

I replied to everyone to explain how Gmail didn’t violate anyone’s privacy any more than Yahoo! or Microsoft or any other email provider violates your privacy by “reading” your mail using a Spam filter to determine how to route your email.

My former friend replied, “Ah, but Gmail reads your email to soak you with advertising based on the content of your messages.”

That was it.

He successfully killed all faculty interest in Gmail because none of them understood what Gmail was or how innovative it was or how much room you were offered to store your stuff online. Gmail, in their minds, was branded as a spy service reading your mail to deliver Spam in the form of sidebar advertising.

Not one staff or faculty member took up my invitation offer.

The students, on the other hand, gobbled up every invitation I had.

They innately knew the power and promise of Gmail and they wanted in fast and early.

Now that two years have passed and we’ve seen Google enhance Gmail with a Calendar and Talk and POP access and twice the free space and other gobs of goodies, I have decided to use Gmail even more now than I had been using it for my everyday email needs.

I love IMAP. The idea of having all my email “discoverable” on the server from any interface and any computer I wish to use around the world is appealing. I am also a folder person. I like dropping the email I wish to save in extremely specific folders for safekeeping.

When my favorite IMAP provider decided to raise its rates to $40 a year for a 2gig mailbox, and after installing a new main laptop, I realized IMAP was maybe not all that great.

If you have a lot of folders you want to re-index for your local computer you have re-download all the messages in those folders so your local search engine and Outlook can find them and that takes forever if you have a lot of messages.

I have over 37,000 saved emails stretching back a decade.

I passed on renewing service with my IMAP email provider. I decided to try to use Gmail as my new main backup and storage email haunt.

I was able to “redirect” all 37,000 messages to my Gmail address. It took all day. I had to open every single one of the 315 folders I had created over the last five years and then redirect the contents to my Gmail account.

It was then I realized the beauty and simplicity of Gmail.

Instead of putting one email in one folder, Gmail keeps all your mail — all 37,000 pieces of email in my case — in a single giant email pool where each message is equal and important.

There are no folder hierarchies in Gmail. There are no sub-sub-sub folders-within-folders in Gmail.

If you need to fool yourself you are in control of your email, Gmail lets you add as many labels to your messages as you wish.

I soon realized Gmail labels really aren’t that important because Gmail — and Google Desktop if you give it access to index your Gmail account — can search your email based on any word in your email message so the labels are only there to fool the “folder makers” like me into feeling I know where all my email is located even though there’s no way for the human mind to order 37,000 email messages.

The hard thing to realize is Gmail is completely ordered by default because its index of your email provides all the structure and shape you need to find anything instantly.

When Gmail indexed all 37,000 email messages for me, Gmail also re-constructed disparate conversations into more readable thread chains. That was amazing to see how Gmail was able to reconstitute old relationships between people and what they said and when they said it and what I said in response.

Get rid of the idea of folders and containers and labels and coloring messages and start thinking about your email just as words you spoke by typing and then the ideas those words represent and you’ll be able to search for, and find, anything your mind desires.

Gmail frees you to think abstractly about relational idea strings.

You don’t need to suffer the panic of wondering where an email physically resides on a server in order to hunt it down.

I no longer love IMAP.

I am over folders.

I am a Gmailman.

I don’t even notice the Gmail advertising. My eyes are numb to the sidebar contents and it doesn’t matter me to if the advertising called is because my email was “read” by Gmail.

Google already “reads” my desktop contents and saves my chats and knows
my surfing preference and what I buy and my website and my Sitemap stats and my Analytics numbers so why should I care about my email?

There’s no such thing as privacy on the internet and there never was.

I know people who use Gmail as their email back up system and Spam filter. They have all email sent to Gmail, saved there, filtered for Spam and then all legitimate email is forwarded on to their “real” email address.

That’s a pretty slick setup.

Every important email I now send gets BCC:d to Gmail. All my database backups of this Urban Semiotic blog get Gmailed every day for safe keeping. If I have a file I know I’ll need later, it gets Gmailed.

There are rumblings Google is going to start a free storage service called GDrive and that should prove to be an interesting idea.

Gmail is my main backup for vital email and files and if Gmail coughs one day and everything is lost, I trust Google to recover the information for me more than any other email provider.

Am I foolish to put so much blind belief in Gmail?

Have I been duped by the Google Gods?

I trust Gmail because the proof is in the performance and for the last two years there hasn’t been another company that can touch the goodness and the smarts Google have provided to each of us — FOR FREE — and that kind of dedication to innovation on one side requires faith and humility from the other side.

80 comments

  • I have a Gmail account, along with other Google accounts for Blogger, Analytics, Adsense, and Adwords.
    I haven’t used Gmail much, however. I’ve been using the paid version of Yahoo mail for so long that I’m used to using it for my mailing needs.
    I’m going to have to log in and check things out since it sounds like a great service.

    Like

  • Hi Chris —
    I HATED not having folders in Gmail. I did not like their labels. Now, after moving 37,000 messages over to Gmail I see the beauty in the Gmail simplicity that I understood before but never really appreciated.
    I used to use Yahoo! a lot for mail, but they use the idea of “one message one folder” and that means you have to drag-and-drop your email into a folder for saving — even in their new beta interface. That isn’t very intuitive. It is file cabinet thinking in an Age where everything wants to freely associate in the ether.
    With Gmail you just hit “Archive” for a message you don’t want in your Inbox and Gmail handles the rest.

    Like

  • As far as security or fear of email monitoring, I’m not worried about Google (or any other service provider).
    If any ISP was discovered spying on their users, they would immediately lose so many customers and users that their business would fail spectacularly. Google has too much to lose and not much to gain by looking at users’ email accounts.
    I’m more concerned about someone spying on my email if I use a free WiFi connection at a coffee shop or other business.
    I assume that email can be compromised easily as it travels along the web, so I wouldn’t send anything confidential or financially sensitive unless I was using encyrption.

    Like

  • I enjoy Gmail as well… even their content-based ads (which I agree are very ignorable) can be interesting in a freeassociative kind of way.

    Like

  • Hi Chris —
    Yes, you are certainly right Google would be in big trouble if they were truly spying on us through our Gmail accounts.
    You make an excellent point on the value of encryption and open Wi-Fi hotspots.
    Does your office offer VPN connections for secure work in the field?

    Like

  • Hi Lily!
    You’re right about the Google Ads in Gmail being funny — especially seeing the adverts for Spam when you’re in the Spam folder! :mrgreen:

    Like

  • I use gmail over my own domain, in fact, I’ve closed all email accounts on my domain because I simply don’t use them for anything.
    I’ve not worried about gmail, not simply because I feel comfotable with thire style of business, and other such interesting things. But because I understand WHY they offer stuff for free.
    Other than haveing a lot to do with how much they make from adds (yes, I know all about how people pay to get rankings, it’s not bullshit), it’s also about gaining trust and a user base for future plans.
    Gaining customer trust online is one of the seven most important marketing traits for eCommerce, and Google is damn good at it.

    Like

  • Excellent point, krome, and the fact that everything Google offers us is in “beta” gives them just a tiny ounce of an out if anything blows up. There does come a time, however, when “beta” — when you think of Google — will have to mean “fully released version.” :mrgreen:

    Like

  • Hi David,
    I’d never use the work laptop at a WiFi hotspot.
    I’ll surf the web from a hotspot with my own laptop, however.

    Like

  • That’s interesting, Chris. Do you not like VPN connections or doesn’t your office server support that protocol for secure offsite connections?

    Like

  • I must admit I find the ad entertaining. For example, the junk mail folder lawyas has a spam recipe, all of which sound disgustning. Sometimes the ads are amazingly on target and some are wildly off, but entertaining none-the-less.

    Like

  • I bet they have VPN set up, but I never have a need to remotely access the office on the road.
    I haven’t checked out a work laptop in ages because usually don’t need any of the info contained in the computer. I usually have all of the information I need summarized on a single paper sheet that I attach to my pleadings and orders. All of the heavy work and document preparation is done before I go to court.
    Carrying a laptop means having to guard it from theft or breakage, so it’s usually not worthwhile bring it along.

    Like

  • Hi Matt!
    Great to meet you!
    Exactly! The Spam recipes make me laugh as I go into that folder/label/idea to “Delete Forever” all that junk eroding my life.

    Like

  • Chris —
    You should ask about VPN. You’d install a small client on your laptop and then you’d connect to your office via VPN — and here’s the beauty part — you do all your internet work in the field AS IF YOU’RE AT WORK. You are on the work server. You have their protections. You are in a highly encrypted “Virtual Private Tunnel” between your computer and the office servers and you are completely protected while away from the office as if you are behind your office desk surfing.
    Many universities offer VPN connections for faculty and in many ways it can be a faster connection to the web because once you connect remotely you are “on” the office backbone and that speeds up local Wi-Fi or DSL surfing by a magnitude!

    Like

  • Hi David,
    Sounds pretty cool!
    When I was younger and before the turn of the century, I remember dialing into the office and working from home. It was the worst.
    Having VPN on a high-speed connection sounds like the way to go if any remote work is necessary.
    I usually try to pass out assignments to my helpers and have them work on projects, so I won’t have to do any work while I’m away.
    I took a look at my spam folder in Gmail and found a nice receipe for Spam Veggie Pita Pockets — Serves 8.
    Yum yum!

    Like

  • That works in theory, but not in practice. I use to have a MyOwnEmail account, and this WAS a reputable and long standing email service. I had that email for about five years before one day they simply disapeared. No reason, no warning, simply gone.
    Yahoo I wouldn’t trust with a 10foot barge poll. Their servers are absolute sh*t, a lot of their stuff is only geared to be used on IE, their spam filters are cr*p. All in all Yahoo is just a prettier version of MSN/Hotmail.
    As for your Ford vs Chevy, thats not a good idea considering how thats like MSN vs Yahoo, same old sh*t with a different package. Only thing different is Ford has the World Rally and Chevy, also known as Holden, has Batherst.
    In this case, as is with most online stuff, I think it’s all about consumer trust. Because Amazon has weathered many things, and continued to GROW through out it, we have a certain level of trust for them. Same can be said for anything else online.
    [Edited for content by David W. Boles]

    Like

  • What your friend (or sys. admin.) was confusing is spying vs. scanning! Many people get confused by that actually, while there’s a huge difference.
    Spying is performed with the purpose of collecting and STORING information in the situation where the owner of the information assumes or under impression that the information exchange was performed privately.
    Scanning is performed by automated robots with the purpose to personalize your web experience and it does not aquire any additional information rather than what the owner has already willingly given up.
    Now let’s see what the users are affraid of, when someone says Google is scanning e-mail to place targeted ads on your e-mail web page. People are afraid that Google now “knows” what they were talking about. Many are also afraid that now Google may release these information to let’s say a “Governmental Agency” (whatever that could be). Well, that’s a very ligitimate concern.
    Now, let’s say Google does NOT scan your e-mails. You still rely on Google (or Yahoo, or Hotmail) to store a lifetime of your correspondence on their servers. How is that any different from scanning? Don’t you think you already wi;lingly provided all the possible information to them? So, just because they have a software that scans your e-mail for some keywords, doesn’t add any more information about you to Google than you already gave them by starting using their online e-mail. And that’s the same for any Internet communication!
    As for the trageted adds, you do get the service for free. The provider needs to pay for this service somehow. So, I for one, would preffer seing adds that are relevant to my interests, let’s say something about new photo equipment, rather than another mail-bride or refinance your home stuff (I don’t even own a home yet)!
    So people, relax! You write an e-mail – you send it out, that’s where the privacy of that info ends, whether it’s scanned or not. You do however expect *reasonable* privacy, i.e. that Google would broadcast your e-mail to all of your co-workers, but you have that level of privacy. As for Google, or Yahoo, or Hotmail, you can’t expect privacy. It’s like going to a shrink and asking him not to listen to what you are saying because you are affraid that he might suggest you a medicine that’s related to what you have just said – oouuhh, privacy is in danger!

    Like

  • Dave —
    Sometimes we need to try new things to learn what we’re missing! :grin:

    Like

  • Chris —
    VPN is fantastic if your office is set up to use it.
    Yeah! Those Spam Ads are super crazy! I don’t have the guts to even tempt trying one just for fun. :grin:

    Like

  • krome —
    I have to agree with you Yahoo! is pretty awful for mail and web hosting. They chowed a lot of my email and their new mail interface isn’t much better than their old interface from a substance POV.

    Like

  • I didn’t mean it to seem that way, what I ment to convey was that you have trust in them but others dont, and that is an issue online when choosing services. Man do I get lost on some things, I’m VERY sorry.
    First email I got was when I was 11, so thats 13 years ago, and I compleatly forget who it was with .. lol
    I have serious problems using firefox to access some of the things offered by yahoo, such as avatars, and can only get it to work properly in IE.
    One thing we, you, people, work with in eCommerce is the basic two people, traditionalists and early adaptors. Traditionalists like to stick with the tried and true, such as yourself. These people are hard to reach because you really need to prove that your going to stick around and only get better. Early adopters are easy (yeah, thats me) because they like to try new things, and will adapt to things easily.
    This is an obvisou divider exspecialy regarding labels vs folders, personally i love them, but many traditionalists despise them.

    Like

  • Sergei —
    You said it well, my friend.
    I welcome you here, and thank you!

    Like

  • krome —
    You are right about Yahoo! and IE. You can’t listen or watch anything on LaunchCast without IE and Yahoo! will tell you IE is required after it chokes on Firefox. I don’t like an internet portal that is supposed to support all users of all types forcing me to decide how I must interact with them.

    Like

  • I wonder how many people make the Spam receipes contained in their Gmail spam folders?
    I know that the food product Spam is huge in the Filipino and Hawaiian cultures.

    Like

  • I do use yahoo messy, I personally like it over and above the other options out there, and damn there’s a lot of them. But the whole 360 thing freaks me out, it seems wrong for so many reasons ..

    Like

  • Chris —
    Harr! It would be funny to find out how the Spam Ads convert into click-throughs. It’s an interesting, theory, though, to buy ad space on Google in the hopes that you’ll be associated with people’s hateful feelings about their Spam folder! That’s pretty gutsy and it could be an effective form of viral marketing if you had the right product and approach.

    Like

  • I asked the spam man on the couch .. he says ..
    spam subi
    spam in rice wrapped with nori
    I could be mistaken, but I believe that this is like Samoans tined corned beef. I’ve herd there’s a dish they do where you tip the corned beef into a bananna leaf and then cover it in coconut milk and put it in a hanki type cooking .. it’s delish .. and i hate coconut milk .. lol .. theres other seasoning in it but i have no clue what.

    Like

  • krome —
    Yah, Yahoo! 360 is a strange beast with a personality disorder:
    http://360.yahoo.com/david.boles
    I haven’t updated my slot there since November!

    Like

  • Dave —
    No, Google doesn’t offer an alternative to LaunchCast but when they do it will be superior to Yahoo! and it will support Firefox. :grin:
    For music I use Rhapsody:
    http://www.rhapsody.com/
    I can watch, listen and play anywhere from any computer.

    Like

  • krome —
    Even when I was eating meat I couldn’t stomach Spam!

    Like

  • Spam is also big in Austin, TX. There they have the http://www.spamarama.com/ Spam-a-rama.
    From the History of the Spam-a-rama:
    The SPAM®-related festival started out small as an alternative event to April Fools’ Day barbecues at the original Soap Creek Saloon. It has since moved to Waterloo Park and picked up the support of Kieke’s organization, which receives 50 percent of the proceeds and uses them to provide employment support, technology training and general assistance to disabled Central Texans.
    Local rock band Uranium Savages opened the festival and the second event, a SPAM® toss, began the SPAMALYMPICS. The youngest competitor, 11-year-old Alex Hager, opened the SPAM® calling contest, which is just like hog calling but with the word “SPAM®.” His unique call, a series of armpit noises followed by a call of “Here SPAM®, here SPAM®!” took the gold medal.
    Returning to defend their title in the SPAM® toss were Mark and Cody Mikeska, a father-son team with four previous SPAM® tosses under its belt. SPAM® tossers throw a chunk of SPAM® to each other at increasing distances until someone drops it. After three rounds of flying SPAM®, which sometimes christened spectators with SPAM® juice, the defending champions were pitted against two other teams. The Mikeskas won the 2004 championship. “The key is getting enough elevation under the SPAM®,” Mark Mikeska said after their victory.

    Like

  • Matt —
    I am shocked and disbelieving.
    Who knew Spam had such a cultural influence?

    Like

  • I’ve never eaten spam, I’m not keep on the “it’s all meat groups in one” kind of idea.
    I try to stay away from overly processed foods, I think it’s strange that peascome in a can let a lone a whole chilly meal. And who on earth thought powdered potatoes was a good idea? EWWWWWW!!!
    I stay away from GE as well, trying to pick organic as much as possible (whuch is hard or expencive where I live, luckily).
    I take my diet very seriously, I think eating healthy is important for a healthy body and mind (along with spirit/soul/chi and anything else unmentioned). By diet, I don’t mean starving myself, I mean regular eating rutine.

    Like

  • It’s not just “all meat groups in one,” but also all parts of the animal mixed together — I assume. Waste not, want not? I see at the grocery store that there’s a market for pig snouts, ears, and feet, so to each his own taste.

    Like

  • I don’t believe in waisting meat. But I’ll leave those for the dog thanks .. they love dried pigs ears ..

    Like

  • Complaining about email privacy with respect to a certain provider seems rather illogical. Email is inherently insecure unless you actively decide to employ encryption such as PGP to encrypt the message. People may be fooled into thinking that email is secure by the fact that you have to sign in and that webmail services like Gmail use HTTPS to secure transmissions between your browser and their serers. However, the messages themselves are wide -open. E-mai is not private and is not secure out-of-the-box, which I would guess is the way that >90% of people use email.
    Gmail is great, I love the storage, I love the ability to search for emails quicky without scratching my head about which folder or category I put them in. There are already tools that can be used to store and retrieve files from a Gmail acount (even a firefox extension or two). At various times Gmail seems to be delayed in delivering mail, but other than that I really have no complaints

    Like

  • I love Gmail. I wish I could convince others to switch but alas many are stubborn and hate the unknown. I suppose more for me right? :D

    Like

  • Chris —
    Yes, Spam is all parts of the pig. It is pig and not cow, right?

    Like

  • krome —
    Ooof! I could never feed one animal to another animal when there are less cruel alternatives. Dogs love steamed veggies ya know! :grin:

    Like

  • Hi Jonathan!
    It’s nice to hear from you again. You were caught in moderation because you changed your email address.
    I agree with your warnings about email generally being insecure by default.
    If people subscribe to an email list — or even the comments in this thread — Gmail will also thread and organize those emails as well. Nifty!
    Few people understand the power of Gmail — I was initially one of them after staking a $40 claim that I’d fall in love with it — and you really won’t comprehend Gmail until you get a conversation going or you need to search 100 emails.
    Folks tend to give up on Gmail after 10 emails or so because it’s ugly or complicated or messages are getting threaded without their intervention and they go back to the easier familiar so they never feel the true power of the product.

    Like

  • I am a Gmail Junkie! I used to use Yahoo! a lot, but then my partner sent me a Gmail invite and I haven’y looked back. I was bowled over by the amount of space to store messages, but every so often, you’ll find me clearing out my inbox anywayz, because I hate seeing it cluttered, and I really have no reason to actually save the messages. Well – apart from the ones from the Wedding Co-ordinator.
    I have all my comments sent to me at Gmail, from my WordPress, most of my friends email me at Gmail, the Wedding Co-ordinator emails me at Gmail, and I gotta say just one thing.
    TRY THE SPAM RECIPES!!
    They’re not really that bad lol. Okay, so maybe it’s cuz I’m from the UK lol, even my partner can’t get why I like spam :(

    Like

  • Hi Dawn!
    It’s been a long while since you’ve been here. Welcome back!
    I archive everything to get it out of sight of my Inbox label/folder/idea because I find Gmail loads faster and I don’t want to see everyday what I’ve already read. :grin:
    How do you eat Spam, Dawn? Do you bake it? Fry it? Eat it raw?

    Like

  • Hi David,
    SPAM is spiced ham. There’s also a low fat turkey variety!
    I must admit that I’ve eaten SPAM a couple of times.

    Like

  • Gmail definately have many good features, no doubt about that. but sometimes the thought of someone storing your mail long after you have “deleted” them from you inbox scares me. just cos they are providing mail for free can they keep my personal mails even if i delete them?
    think about it

    Like

  • Chris —
    Ooof! Turkey Spam. Ouch! Hurts my stomach just to type that! :mrgreen:
    I think I had Spam a few times when I was younger as well. I think it was grilled or something and it wasn’t awful until you asked what was in it.

    Like

  • Jack!
    Nice to have you with us.
    You raise an important point. The whole idea behind Gmail when it started was that you’d never want to delete anything. You had so much room you’d just keep everything.
    Well… there are some things we never want to see again. Like Spam. Hate mail. Old love letters. CIA Documents. Etc. :mrgreen:
    Gmail now offers a “Delete Forever” option that will remove the email you select for forever deletion.
    To get rid of the Spam, just go into your Spam folder/label/idea and “Select All” and then hit the “Delete Forever” button.
    For “regular” mail you’ll have to go through the process twice. You’ll have to “Delete” the message and then go into your Trash folder/label/idea and then do a “Select All” and click on the “Delete Forever” button and you’re done!

    Like

  • I fry it David, and stick it into a sandwich – or sammich as I say :D
    I’m not too keen on it raw. My partner refuses to even touch it lol

    Like

  • Yeouch! Thanks for the gory details, Dawn! :grin:

    Like

  • I use gmail and have never really noticed the ads. I use Yahoo for mail too because they host my site and I get 200 email boxes, I pay for their service and they still have ads so i just no longer notice them anymore.
    I like the way gmail works for the reasons you mention. With it being priced at my favorite price of free makes it all the better.
    We’ll be in the UK next month and I’ll use the folks PC to check all my gmail stuff with no hassles.
    I got my invite to gmail from eBay too, later than you obviously did David because I paid something liek 99 cents for it!

    Like

  • Oh yeah and to answer the header question, I trust gmail as much as any other mail service we use, I think we have MSN and AOL, wife uses them a lot.

    Like

  • I know dogs love steamed vegies, they also love raw vegies and fruit, carrots being a wonderful way to help them clean their teeth. But a dog needs more than veggies for a healthy diet.
    I agree with Johnathon about security, but even encryption isn’t a promise of security. As always, one should asume that data is unstable and has been compromised. If your that obsessed with people not knowing what your typing then use a com64 that has never been connected to the net, encrypt it at least three times, place it on an old arse floppy, and physically transfer it yourself.

    Like

  • I trust google. Google was the only one of the major search engines to stand up to the DOJ and tell them no when they asked for a weeks worth of searches. Even though google did agree to hand over some info in the end, the fact that they didn’t without a fight says alot.

    Like

  • I’m strangly agreeable lately, I agree with Blackscorpion, and found that whole situation to be very strange.

    Like

  • Those privacy nuts are paranoid.
    Also, no offense, but anyone who paid for a GMail invite is a sap. With ten minutes worth of talking on fora, you could have easily gotten it for free.

    Like

  • David-
    I have been busy with work and life, blogging has taken a backseat. Ooops, same email, just mistyped it. The keyboard on my laptop has been dropping keypreses lately.
    Yeah, Gmail takes threads to a new level, it makes organizing discussions amongst different people on the same topic almost seamless. You immediately have the full history of a discussion displayed as a stack of cards.

    Like

  • While I’m thinking abut it, my favourite option with Gmail is the chats. Due to the way the proxy’s set up where my partner atends school we can’t use normal chat clients, but we can easily, and seemlessly, chat via Gmail. It’s wonderful :)

    Like

  • Hi Mik!
    I have no problems criticizing Yahoo! because I gave them a lot of my money for web hosting, and non-advert email and for their Plus interface and their awful LaunchCast music service.
    It is hard to beat Google and their free services because you wonder why you spent all that money on an inferior product.
    Have a great time on your trip! It sounds like loads of fun!

    Like

  • Blackscorpion —
    I agree with krome — you make an excellent point about Google standing up to the DOJ. Well done!

    Like

  • Hi Jeremie —
    We don’t call other people names on this blog so please refrain from doing that here.
    2.5 years ago when Gmail was barely in beta the only way to get in was to know one of the lucky few — most worked for/had-a-relationship-with Google – and those few held limited invites. Gmail, for about six months, was a money-making endeavor for those who held the invites and the only way in was to buy your way into the beta.

    Like

  • Hi Jonathan —
    You used your berkeley.edu address beore — now you’re cleared to post comments on both accounts.
    Gmail threads discussions and displays them “like a stack of cards” — love that! Right on!

    Like

  • krome —
    GoogleTalk is absolutely great! I love the online interface and the downloadable version. GoogleTalk for BlackBerry — distributed by RIM — is fast and fun and a delight to use.

    Like

  • Name callings seems strangely pre-school here ..
    I’d kill for a BlackBerry, I’ll get one .. yet ..
    In New Zealand the old ones are twice as expencive as the new ones are in america .. and Aussies prices on them are WORSE!

    Like

  • krome —
    You’ll love a BlackBerry 8700! You can do everything anytime anywhere.
    It’s funny how people were buying the 8700 from Australia to get the first units for use on Tmobile in America:

    Like

  • Sooo how do I get this wonderful thing? Do I need an invite? You’ve talked me into it. :)

    Like

  • Does Gmailman wear a cape? spandex? mask?
    Just curious.

    Like

  • Hi Lisa!
    I just sent you a Gmail invite!
    Enjoy and let us know what you think of the service!

    Like

  • Andy —
    Gmailman thank you for acknowledging his status and the answers to your questions are: A cape made of Spam; a bodysuit mosaic the colors of the Google logo and a mask made from a stack of cards!

    Like

  • I have been noticing frequent mail delivery delays since Gmail Chat was rolled out. I suscribe to comments here and also receive comment notifications on my own blog via email. Both are delayed to the point that they sending mail-server seems to give up some of the time. This is really annoying and has led me to (gasp!) begin looking for a decent Gmail alternative.

    Like

  • Hi Jonathan —
    I am sorry to hear about your Gmail delays. I love the new Gmail chat because it works on my desktop and on my BlackBerry and on the web so I can chat either place and Gmail will log those chats in my Gmail account.
    I haven’t noticed any slowdowns in Gmail.
    If you want robust email with your own domain — with or without BlackBerry service — you might want to check out a hosted Microsoft exchange service like http://www.mailstreet.com … or my old IMAP host http://fastmail.fm if you just want fast and ugly.
    Hey, you should register your berkeley.edu address with Gravatar so we can see your beautiful face on these comments! You can add as many additional email addresses as you wish for $5.

    Like

  • I love Gmail. Thank you for being kind enough to send me an invite. The no folder thing irked me for a while but I got over it. I love the “conversation” mode it goes into for emails sent back and forth.

    Like

  • i get this when i trie to conect te google talk in my blackberry “connection error (56) problem with encryption of message” please help me

    Like

  • You need to contact your service provider for help, hector. It sounds like you might be having a network problem.

    Like

  • i have the same problem with my blackberry 7290, i install google talk but when i try to enter to google talk get the “connection error (56) problem with encryption of message”

    Like

  • David,
    This has been one of THE most articulate and accurate descriptions of the gmail service I’ve seen to date and that’s 3 years. Nice job!
    Some people who I initially invited in 2004 said the same thing that Google was “reading” email.
    In reality, emails sent by insecure transmission such as http:// can be snooped by anyone and this is especially why hopping on your laptop at a coffee shop without a vpn is a danger.
    I second your statement that Google Gmail has proven itself with robust service since its launch and has demonstrated their reinvestment towards R&D.
    Google Earth is amazing. Showing to a 5 year old she can “drive around the world” was a reality for me because of Google. I love Google Maps for my driving directions and “Googling” is just plain fun.
    Innovation should be embraced but like many new ideas of the past, some people reject them at first.

    Like

  • Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Adria, and I LOVE IT when people use their Real Names while commenting. You get much more respect and admiration from the world when you publicly stand by your words and own them.
    I agree that the fear of Gmail is unfounded and rather naive. It’s good to have your support in confirming Gmail is just as secure as “ordinary” email.

    Like

  • Pingback: Social Networking and Social Justice Meet in Jumo | Urban Semiotic

  • It is incredible how relevant your post still is almost 5 years later. Everything changes so quickly online, so 5 years is a long time, but GMail’s core is essentially the same – they got it right in beta! I am from RSA and the recent online changes here are really great, I can only think what it would be like for the guys in the USA.

    Like

  • Pingback: Tutorial: How to Get a 212 Area Code Phone Number | Panopticonic

  • Pingback: I am My Own Trained Monkey: Getting the Gmail Out! | Urban Semiotic

Share Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s