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April 15, 2004

Stalking the Wild Gmail Account: First Impressions

Posted 3 years, 3 months ago on April 15, 2004
Somehow, I lucked into having a Gmail beta account (who knew I had friends in those high places?)

Here are my first impressions:

First, Gmail doesn't work with Safari; very annoying. It does, however, work with Firefox. I also found it frustrating that you can't set up a forward, or customize your "from" email address to make it look like, say, your work email address. But then again, it is free webmail, so perhaps that was expecting too much.

The UI is clean, and fairly straight-forward; just what you'd expect from Team Google. Once signed into your mail, you are offered the following links:

Starred (like "flagged", where you flag your mail for whatever reason)
Sent Mail

And, of course, the Archive.

The account has been up for 4 days, so I checked the spam folder. Nothing there, except a cute little message which says "Hooray, no spam here!" Actually, each page/folder includes a cute little witty remark like this, however I won't give the game away here.

The labels feature is pretty nifty - it allows you to assign a 'label' to your email, so that when you are searching or reviewing archives, you can search/sort by labels (you can, for example, label an email by the name of the person who sent it, the name of the company, a mailing list name - any label which you would find useful - I myself set up labels "friends", "people asking for money", and "d*ckheads").

Curious about how the AdSense (content scanning, and targetting AdSense ads in your email) worked with Gmail, I sent myself a few test messages. Curiously, although the AdSense ads appeared in the "Welcome" email from Google, no AdSense ads appeared in any of the test messages which I sent to myself.

And how, the thing you really wanted to know about: the search function. It rocks. Fast, slick, and does exactly what you'd expect it to: type in the search string, and it searches your entire archive of email. Did I mention that it was fast?

Now, granted, my entire archive of email is only 5 messages; clearly not an adequate sample. So, for the first time ever, I'm going to put one of my email addresses out there, in the open, naked on the Internet (heh, that ought to surprise a few people when they get that in their search results!) for everyone to see and harvest:

Go ahead, write me! I can't promise a response, but if you put "Hi There!" as the subject, I might!

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