Google Gmail Review

    April 7, 2004

Well, Gmail reviews are trickling onto the web (solely?) by way of Sean Palmer, author of the blog Miscoranda and one of 1000 official Gmail beta testers.

What are your thoughts on Gmail’s functionality?

The When, What and Where of GMail
The When, What and Where of GMail

He offers both screen shots and commentary on this new email service from Google that fooled me into thinking it was a joke and is now drawing fire from EU privacy groups and a company in the UK with claims to the name Gmail.

Gmail apparently keeps messages in collapsable thread form, eliminating the sent/received mailboxes and keeping an entire correspondence in context, much like a forum thread.

In addition, you can create “labels” and organize your mail that way, though Sean points out that with Google’s search mail function he’s not likely to use this method.

If you move an email from your inbox into one of your “labels” (a fancy word for folder it seems) and it’s only accessible if you search for it or click the “All Mail.”

Also, Sean reports that instead of “forward” and “back” buttons, which I’m familiar with from Hotmail but don’t use, you have “newer” and “older” buttons.

Gmail also differentiates between bulk mailings and a single direct email with chevrons. According to Sean, “>>” indicates an email sent to the user directly, while “>” indicates a bulk mailing.

In the works though unconfirmed is the ability to direct email from a Gmail account into a separate account. This would, as Sean pointed out, remove the ads.

Gmail doesn’t currently add any advertisements to outgoing mail.

In regards to spam, Sean said, “I’m afraid I’ve nothing to report on its spam handling capabilities since I’m being careful to ensure that I get as little as possible!”

He reported that there are still bugs in the display, but that “there are no bugs that prevent usage, and gmail is already so good that I’ve no qualms over using it for my regular general email straight away.”

Thanks to Sean for Testing Gmail and More Gmail Beta Testing.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.