Gmail Thoughts

November 28, 2007

Gmail LogoEver since Chatter Email on the Treo now works well with Google’s Gmail, I’ve been using Gmail heavily over the past week. Even though I struggled at first with it, I must admit I have fallen completely in love with Gmail.

Gmail is quite different from most email programs and email websites. We’re so used to the Outlook / Yahoo / Hotmail format, with folders on the left and all emails listed separately in your inbox. Rather, Gmail uses “Tags” instead of folders, and groups together all emails in the same thread rather than listing them separately in the inbox. And if you want to file away an email, you “Archive” it (even after you’ve already tagged it).

At first, I didn’t like having to tag an email and THEN archiving it (a 2- to 3-click process) if I wanted to file away an email on Gmail. And it felt a bit cumbersome to constantly hunt for the right button with my mouse.

And then I discovered “Better Gmail.”

Better Gmail is a Firefox-only extension that adds a good number (I think 25!) of Gmail-specific extensions and features — most of which were developed by other people and then collected under one application. I didn’t like keyboard shortcuts before (I prefer the mouse!), but now with Better Gmail, I love how a few keyboard clicks takes care of just about everything on Gmail. And I really like Better Gmail’s “Filter Assistant” that’s at the top of each email and which makes it easy for you to create filters. Now whenever I get an email to my mom, it’s automatically tagged as “Family” — and every time I send an email to her, my email is automatically tagged as “Family” and then archived. (Yes, I admit it, I’m a mommy’s boy.) Better Gmail also comes with several “skins” — or new looks for Gmail. And Better Gmail adds numerous other features to Gmail — I ain’t gonna list them all here.

But yes, Better Gmail only works with the increasingly popular Firefox browser. I use Firefox on my PCs at home, but at work I grit my teeth and use either Internet Explorer or Netscape — neither of which works with Better Gmail.

The best thing yet about Gmail (and Better Gmail)? It’s free. Even its IMAP functionality is free. Yahoo Mail charges you a yearly fee if you want to use its now-primitive POP functionality — and Yahoo Mail doesn’t even offer IMAP.

Gmail — it’s gonna be the start of a beautiful friendship …


7 Responses to “Gmail Thoughts”

  1. Ron Says:

    Little slow to the party on this one… And what sort of geek prefers the mouse over keyboard shortcuts???

  2. proudgeek Says:

    Ha, Ron! At first, I preferred the mouse over the keyboard too. But I guess, like Colette on that cartoon movie Ratatouille says, “Every second counts and you CANNOT be MOMMIED!” With the right keyboard shortcuts, things really do go a lot more quickly and smoothly. The “Better Gmail” keyboard shortcuts make it fun to use (at least for me) and quick as well. I guess that’s the best answer I can give you …

  3. josh Says:

    if gmail doesn’t use folders, are your messages sorted into folders when you use chattermail?

    do you prefer the gmail web interface to Outlook?

  4. Proud Geek Says:

    Hi Josh! Thankfully, Chatter loads the list of “tags” as folders when it connects to Gmail via IMAP. And when I move an email to a folder on Chatter, the same email is tagged and archived on Gmail (which pretty much amounts to the same thing as being filed in a folder). Whew!

  5. Vicki Says:

    I read your blog from time to time. You never cease to amaze me with all the tidbits! For an everyday person who likes Gmail but wishes for more, this is very helpful! As I’m not the tech whiz as you are, I am excited to give this a try even if it means giving Firefox another try as I still prefer Explorer.

  6. proudgeek Says:

    Aww, thanks, Vicki! This type of comment makes blogging about all these very worthwhile. It’s funny, sometimes I feel like I’m blogging about something that seems so trivial to me, and then I find out that it does mean much to others too. So, thanks for your comment. FYI, I’ve used Explorer for many years, and I really prefer Firefox over Explorer. But Explorer does have its good points.

  7. Deaf Pixie Says:

    Agree that I fell love Gmail so I can written in Docuoment in Gmail do have different kind of send chat online and sometime they dont able to answer my question so I can click on email instead of chat online. I think it is perfect time for me to click on email. it will sending person’s email. I dont have to open the gmail. No need to worry about it.

    Also I written a document in sort of similiar as MS and save as. I don’t have to looking. Or, worry about to use through from MS Words. so my kids sometime accdient removed it.or some reason it disappear.

    I love GMAIL is best top!!!

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