Jul 27, 2004

I got a Gmail account

I can hardly believe this. I've been invited to sign up for, and I have signed up for, Gmail. I for one thought you had to be a much more regular blogger to be invited to Gmail. Imagine my surprise when I signed in to Blogger.com and found the invitation.

Of course, I've read about the disadvantages of the Gmail account -- potential security issues, totally unsupported 1000 MB of storage that I could totally lose any time in the future, and so on. But on the whole I'm glad I signed up. It's very impressive. They've used JavaScript in a very standards-compliant way and have done amazing things with a Web page. Perhaps things that have never been done before with public Web pages. I could be wrong. Blogger.com has some pretty nifty features approximating to Gmail's, and Hotmail looks pretty cool too. I've heard that Outlook Web Access (hell, I've seen OWA) is liked a souped-up version of Hotmail.

But Gmail is the first I've ever experienced that's so ... well, nifty. And the conversation grouping feature is a masterstroke.

The only thing I don't like about Gmail (here it comes!) is its poorly-integrated address book. Sure, you can import contacts from your local CSV files, but after you have set up the contacts, you can only email one person at a time from the contacts window. And in the message composition window, there is no mention at all of any contacts you might have.

Uh, scratch that. It turns out as you start typing anything in the To: box, a little window listing possible email address or name matches is popped up for you to choose from using the arrow keys and then Tab or Enter. Nifty!

But an earlier gripe still remains. There's no way to quickly select (i.e. with check boxes or some such method) a whole bunch of contacts to mail to. And I haven't seen any mailing list facilities. That is, no way to create a contact that sends the message to multiple addresses.

All in all, though, I feel I'll really come to appreciate Gmail's power as the emails accumulate in the account and give Gmail a chance to show them to me in an organised manner.

No comments: