For the longest time, I had been downloading my e-mail using Mozilla Thunderbird, which is a great open-source e-mail client. It did everything that I ever wanted an e-mail client to do, and then more. Most importantly, it did it securely unlike some other e-mail clients out there that shall remain nameless.
The crucial drawback though to any software e-mail client is the fact that it is tied directly to your computer for the most part. Sure there is IMAP and webmail packages…but while IMAP is great, most webmail software absolutely stinks for functionality. This makes it tough when I am not in front of my computer but have access to another computer and need to check my e-mail.
I had a Gmail account since the beginning, but I never really used it out of really lack of time and a few missing features. However, a recent spin convinced me otherwise to give it a shot.
So I made a bold choice. For the past week I have been forwarding my e-mail directly to my Gmail account. It turns out, I am hooked by this. I am nearly sold on using Gmail as my sole e-mail client.
Gmail makes sorting and finding e-mail a snap. Too easy in fact. I absolutely love how fast it is, as sometimes it is even faster then Thunderbird. 2+ GB of space for free? Priceless. The conversations layout is spectacular, as I can easily backtrack between past replies.
Perhaps the biggest and most interesting feature though is the great junk mail and phishing protection. Even with Thunderbird’s junk mail filtering, I would still spend too much time reviewing the decisions of the filter and make sure there were no false positives. Gmail’s filter is amazing accurate and it is drop dead easy to delete the bad stuff while saving the good stuff. My time filtering out junk has gone from maybe 10 minutes a day (yes I get a ton of junk mail) to maybe a minute tops.
Then there is the phishing protection. Gmail is fantasting in spotting those e-mails that aren’t really from eBay and PayPal. So fantastic in fact, that I feel much better about recommending Gmail to Katie and my family (everyone is converted), as I know they won’t be tricked into clicking a bad link.
I’m still not 100% sold on Gmail, as I have to find a way to import 3 years worth of saved e-mail into the service while keeping everything in the e-mails intact. This is one area where Gmail needs some love…wouldn’t it be awsome to upload all of your past e-mails and then be able to search through them on a whim? I could forward them all, but that is 1) time consuming and 2) I don’t want a bunch of FW: e-mails lying around. I also don’t want to keep an old e-mail client lying around just to go back into my archives.