From 2007 until today, Gmail has been the app I say “Good Morning” to first in the morning, and the last one I say “Good Night” to before I roll over and go to sleep at night. But recently, Gmail and I have been on rough ground and it has finally come time for me to end it with the benevolent tech-giant and move on to greener pastures.
So why the sudden change?
While I’ll do my best to deny allegations that I’m just a plain ol’ contrarian (which has been known to be the case) I ran into a few issues with Gmail over the last few months with one big one which has made the situation untenable.
Gmail’s spam filter is wayyy over aggressive.
Lets just address the elephant in the room. And the elephant’s name is Postini, Google’s spam filtering system.
To be blunt, it is a spam filter with clear signs of PTSD. If it is even remotely unsure of an email’s authenticity (or whatever it is looking for), to the spam folder it goes! Here are some scenarios I’ve noticed it throwing email in the trash.
- Any time you receive a large number of emails (like comment notifications, or server notifications) it will eventually throw them in the spam folder and expect you to go in there and fish them back out.
- Any time you get a message that was generated from a server (contact us, signup forms, email newsletter notifications or replies) it will throw it in spam about 70-90% of the time.
- Any time you get an email from someone new, it apparently will allow the first one through but subsequent emails will eventually find their way into the spam folder until you specifically whitelist the sender.
- About 50% of the time someone sends you a file attachment — to the spam folder with it!
As you can imagine, this encompasses a large number of emails, and it is just plain old over aggressive.
Gmail Handles Multiple Receivers Well, But Not Multiple Senders (Specifically on Mobile).
Using Gmail on your phone with a custom email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)? Then be prepared for people to see your gmail address more often. I’ve had very little luck getting the default sender to stick with anything other than my @gmail.com address. It just likes to snap back and as a result, most of my clients have seen it at some point or another… It’s just forgetful, I guess.
That being said, it does handle multiple incoming email addresses quite well and can sort email accordingly. I actually had a section of my email box quarantined off for my wife, who used it as her email as well without getting entangled with any of my email what-so-ever. One login for multiple users.
Gmail does not play well with non-browser specific programs (I’m looking at you, Outlook).
If you want to get out of a browser, good luck (unless you’re on mobile, then you’re trapped to Google’s apps). There is no good solution outside of Google’s apps for connecting to Gmail. This isn’t an issue most of the time, but when you want to tie together with Outlook’s fantastic calendar abilities, or use another specific application, then you’ll have a hell of a time getting it to download and display your mail.
Gmail makes it nearly impossible to backup.
Why backup your email? Its on Google’s servers of course! I mean, this is the same company that clearly backs lots of free and open projects, right? You know, except for Google Reader, iGoogle, Google Talk, Google Health, Knol, Picnik, Google Buzz, Aardvark, Sidewiki, Google Notebook, Google Dictionary, Google Labs, Google Wave, Google SearchWiki, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Google Lively, Google Page Creator, Zeitgeist, and Google Answers amongst some more recent untimely death’s in Google’s product lineup.
The reality is that free products come with the same level of longevity and support as you can expect from most anything else that is free.
But the fact that they make it so difficult for you to get a copy of your email back onto your computer without having to play with a specially crafted open sourced python program developed for this specific purpose is a sin.
Gmail’s Support Sucks
Continuing on the theme of support. I’m pretty sure their company motto for support is birthed straight from the halls of Aperture science. If you have a problem, go suck a lemon.
Not much else to say there.
So what did I switch to? And why?
Thats a fantastic question! And I think it deserves it’s own post, one which I will pen and post up shortly!