Monday, July 5

Gmail

Gmail is awesome. I really like it, and I will probably make it my full-time email address soon. There's no way I'm going to post my gmail address here, but if you want it and you know how to get a hold of me through other means, I'll give it to you.

There are a few things I think gmail needs (please send in feature requests if you've got a gmail account too!):

Contacts list
1. The ability to have multiple email addresses for the same contact.
2. Separate "First Name" and "Last Name" fields, and the ability to sort by last name.
3. A Palm conduit! It could be like an AvantGo-meets-IntelliSync kind of thing. I would gladly pay money to get software that would do this, and I would use it on both OS X and Windows XP.
4. The ability to browse the Contacts list to add email addresses to the To: field. This would include the ability to put a check mark next to multiple contacts and click a "Send to All" button.
5. Labels for Contacts, like the email labels. If #3 were implemented, these Labels would sync with Palm "Categories."
6. Search contacts. You can search emails, Google is a search engine, why not?

Viewing/Composition
1. Gmail should have the option (actually, it should have had it from the beginning) of displaying all emails with a fixed-width font. People who use or view ASCII art in email messages (many people use it in .signatures; not that I condone this) see a VERY skewed version of the "text picture" if the columns do not line up.
1a. Once gmail includes fixed-width fonts when viewing, it should also include fixed-width fonts during email composition.
2. Along with fixed-width email composition, gmail should (like Yahoo!) allow a fixed number of columns in the "Compose" box. This would make cleaning up replies and/or forwards a lot easier, as you will be able to see how long the line and its accompanying ">" mark will stretch.
2a. Even better than a fixed number of columns would be support for format=flowed emailing, like Mozilla Thunderbird and Mac OS X Mail.

I know this is a long list, but I have sent all of these in as feature requests. If you agree, please tell Google that you want these added features as well. If you are unsure how to send in feature requests, just go to gmail's Help, find a Help article about something related to the feature you're requesting, and click the "contact us" link at the bottom of the article.

Thanks for reading this... if we all ask for the same things, we can make gmail even better!

4 comments:

Harry J. Sachz said...

well brad.. those are very small changes when you look at the large picture... personally, i have a yahoo account and a hotmail account; and typically, whenever someone asks for an email address, i tell them the hotmail account... 99% of the letters received there are all junk mail - and proud of it... proud that hotmail is there to aid in the collection of crap... yahoo is a little better in spam filtering and storage space, but it's no google....

i think the point that i'm trying to make is that gmail is a godsend... thankfully a (big-name) provider came out with system that doesn't require you to delete mails to stay within your limits, adds keyboard shortcuts for us lazy people, and organizes your contacts and all the mail as simply as they do... remember that it's still in a 'beta' test phase, and still has alot of work... so minor changes to the system can be on hold... for now...

good points though....

oh, and it doesn't support opera... that, needs to change....

Brad said...

Harry:

I realize that my proposed changes are pretty minor... in general, I'm very pleased with gmail. However, since it's still in beta, I think it would be easier for them to make changes right now than to wait for later. It's currently "on the table with its guts out," so to speak, so changes will be much easier than when gmail is all sewn up and packaged for the masses.

And I agree that Opera 7.50 support needs to be added.

Harry J. Sachz said...

i also wanted to say that i cant receive any files that are larger than 10 megs in size... it keeps getting sent back to the recipient with:

<<< 552 sorry, that message size exceeds the maximum
554 5.0.0 Service unavailable

that's stupid to put a maximum size on a RECEIVED letter, especially since they're on your contact list...

Brad said...

Yeah, I think it's also weird that you can't send more than 10MB at a time. Yesterday I wanted to send a 22.9 MB MP3 to myself while I was at work, so I could have it again at home (granted, I could have just re-downloaded it at home, but I wanted to test its message-storage capability).

I had to split up the file, email it in pieces, and then re-assemble it at home. That's stupid... if I've got 1000 MB of online storage space, I should be able to put large files in there. They should allow some sort of "personal file storage," like this guy has figured out how to do with PHP:

http://ilia.ws/archives/15_Gmail_as_an_online_backup_system.html

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------


If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.