I don't really remember why I decided to do this, but roughly a month and a half ago I began automatically forwarding copies of all my email to my GMail account. I wanted to see what it'd be like to use GMail on a daily basis--not using it exclusively but as a supplement to Thunderbird on my desktop.
What I've discovered is that GMail is rather amazing. Like Flickr, it's on a very short list of Internet applications that are at least as good as their desktop counterparts. In the case of GMail, it's faster and easier to use than any desktop mail application I've tried.
Let me say that again, to reinforce my point. GMail is really damn fast. Fater than desktop email. And the interface feels no more complicated than it needs to.
Like many habit changing attempts, it took a few weeks of forcing myself to use the service before I really started to see the light. This explains why I missed the point last August. Most of the buzz and chatter was about the size (1GB at the time), and that turns out not to be the big deal.
Does this mean I'm switching to GMail and away from Thunderbird? No. At least not yet. But it means that GMail is now on equal footing with Thunderbird. When I need to find an old message or check mail quickly, there's a 50/50 chance I'll try GMail.
I hinted at changes to my email behavior when I wrote about Winning the Inbox Battle in Thunderbird. It just so happens that my new style email habits work exceptionally well in GMail too.
The more I use GMail, the more I find myself re-thinking about the question: Where will you store your data?. I'm becoming more and more comfortable with it living on servers--mine and Google's in this case.
It'll be really interesting to see if that 50/50 ratio changes over the next few years, especially as wireless Internet access becomes all the more common. At this point, I'm not willing to bet either way. How about you?
Posted by jzawodn at May 21, 2005 07:41 PM