Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Gmail



Well, I've been using Gmail, Google's much-talked about new mail service, for a week or so now. Those of you who know me should know my "main" e-mail address, which I never publish anywhere, and never give to anybody but an actual human being. I have a couple of secondary e-mail addresses, which I feel free to ditch when I get too much spam. I recently got rid of jgrantham.com. My main two other addresses are at comcast.net and yahoo.com. I was intrigued, however, by Google's new e-mail service, so I thought I'd try it out. I was offered a chance to beta-test it, as a Blogger user, so I gave it a shot.

The 1 GB of space is nice. "You are currently using 0 MB (0%) of your 1000 MB." The main cool feature, though, is how fast it is. They use Javascript in a very creative way...basically, they load a whole bunch of information in your browser. Then when you click on an action, rather than contacting the server, they just re-write the page locally. Want to reply to something? Until you're ready to send, you don't actually need to talk to Google's computers at all. Opening a reply window can be done on your own computer.

I haven't really noticed the controversial context-sensitive ads. Well, in one case, they were, let's say, insensitive. I forwarded my work e-mail (whoops, there's another address) to gmail, and it placed ads on an e-mail a co-worker had sent expressing gratitude for the sympathy she had received on the death of her mother-in-law. That's not bad, in and of itself, except the ads were for "humorous greeting cards for all occasions." Oops. Looking closer, she had started her message with the salutation, "Greetings," which was presumably what the ad-bot keyed in on.

Well, I'm sufficiently happy with Gmail to give it a whirl as the e-mail of choice on that sidebar to the right. Of course, I'm obfuscating the address like I mentioned last year. We'll see how it goes.
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