gMail - The Great and Grizzly

My honeymoon phase with gMail is fast coming to an end as the reality of their privacy policy enters the picture. The romance with the new, still in beta, g-mail program had merit but allow me to get to the good stuff before I send you elsewhere to read about the scary stuff.

Google’s new gMail system is free, offers a ton of storage space, and provides more handy features than any other eMail program I have used to date. It’s fast, simple, and certainly searchable. They seem to manage span more efficiently than any service I’ve seen. I hardly think about spam with gMail. The content is “searchable” and makes filing a thing of the past. Conversation threads are efficient and easy to navigate. Oh, and the whole thing is easy to navigate. The labeling systems might be easy to overlook but once you start using it there’s no going back. I have labels for each of my classes (ADOL, FAMILY, CHILD Dev, etc), a label for committee correspondence, data, faculty stuff, and then of course one called MEOW. And yep, I’ve got a thread with that frisky label attached. I wish there was a “Reply” button/link at the top of each message but that’s my only complaint. Otherwise, this is fast, friendly, and makes eMail almost autonomic.

There is a dark side, not in the interface or the features but in the privacy policy. GMail drawbacks must be addressed so each end-user can make his or her own decision about the service. Instead of reiterating what others have stated check out the Register’s article titled Google Mail is Evil – Privacy Advocates, Google-Watch’s article GMail is too Creepy, and finally a random but interesting article by Brad Templeton called Privacy Subtleties of GMail.

I remind myself that gMail is in beta. Google offers so much but we’ll have to wait to see if the price is worth it.