A couple of months ago IT Services moved to Google Mail, ahead of the rest of Bristol University doing so later in 2013. This has proved controversial but I’ve been on Google Mail long enough now to have collected some thoughts about it.
Rather to my surprise, I’ve enjoyed the change and prefer Google Mail to pine or the Mulberry or Thunderbird software clients which we used to use before. Mulberry hadn’t been updated in years, Thunderbird had fewer features and pine lacks a properly graphical interface, a real nuisance as messages come increasingly with embedded images.
What I love about Google Mail is that being Google it is brilliant at searching. Do I want all the messages over a certain size from one particular source? Do I want all the messages that mention Manchester which I’ve received in the last week? I can get these easily and quickly.
I have a few gripes. One is that you often have to scroll up or down to do commonplace actions such as sending a message or viewing the subject field of a message. The facility for doing these should be on the page at all times.
Being technically minded, I like noticing the ‘space used’ figure at the bottom of each page, and take pride in keeping it low by clearing out old email as the new stuff comes in. A peculiarity is that if you use the ‘old browser’ version of Google Mail, you get to see this figure in much more detail – on the newer one it is rounded down and displays to only .1 GB, and I can’t find any way of getting the more detailed figure.