Migrating to GMail Because ???

Google Applications - You Get What You Pay For

There's an old & true saying, you get what you pay for. Sadly that's exactly what Google delivers with most of it's applications and they get away with it because it's free, e.g. you can't report problems or get support when you're not paying for Google applications.

Most people have no point of reference, e.g. if you've never used a real email program then you have no idea that Gmail is pretty crummy software. A simple example of this - you can't customize Gmail pages, which I learned almost immediately.

Right now it feels like I'm doing email in a straight jacket, so here's my list of issues with Gmail. In random order as I continue to try & accept what I can no longer do, but resent the wasted key strokes or lack of functionality.

The only thing Gmail has done for me so far, is make me hate email & want to find alternatives to minimize the pain. In fact I'm suspicious that this is really Googles agenda, to push us down their path making Microsoft irrelevant, and Apple too (they're actually improving their email program which I dumped in 2007 when it still didn't have ordered/unordered lists).

Relevant Experience Behind this Post

  • Programmer who grew up in the industry, writing my first program in 1970.
  • Worked for IBM for 29 yrs, with lots of software development and system integration experience covering hardware, operating systems, middleware and web based software.
  • Began using email in 1983 (part of VM operating system).
  • Do you recognize how Google is manipulating you? Remember when every YouTube channel needed another (different) Gmail address? What about Google's purchase of Picnik (popular photo editing tool), then abandoned and Picassa still questionable? Anyone as confused as I am on why we have to manage 2 different Google apps (analytics and webmaster tools) which overlap so much? Or the erosion of the keyword planner, pushing us closed to pay per click? ... learn more about Google's failures here.

Never Forget Google's Motivation (Where the $$$ Are)

Google makes it's money from pay per click advertising. And they're reading our emails under the guise of delivering better ads to us (really more ad revenue to Google). If you've heard about "big data" then you should realize Google is king of this hill now and for a very long time.

Google's software development (except ad revenue software) is more of a sandbox approach. They build prototypes and sit back to see what happens. The software isn't written to any standards, doesn't interface well with other Google software (seems random almost) and remains like immature prototype code forever, like Gmail.

Alternatively applications just vanish like Google Checkout (now replaced by Google Wallet but can you trust it?) My Gmail experience also reminds me of when IBM consolidated 4 different data centers in Poughkeepsie - the rich functionality the software lab had invested was lost because the IT organization was a cost center and couldn't comprehend selling the functionality to make money.

So this list should help me decide to stay with Gmail, or find the best cloud based email software available today, from a company committed to the product.

Gmail Issue #1 - Users Can't Customize Pages

Knowing I prefer to forward most emails rather than reply (in order to include attachments), I find it aggravating that I have to click a menu button, then click the forward icon.

Expectation - I should be able to add icons from menu to default view.

Gmail Issue #2 - Working Offline

There's a poor man's excuse for offline Gmail, but it's a joke. The interface looks nothing like the online version. Even worse, you've got to open up the offline app while you're online but trust me, when I'm running to catch a plane that's not at the top of my to do list ... and Southwest has yet to deliver reliable Internet access.

Expectation - Almost identical interface, and remain sychronized with online email.

Gmail Issue #3 - Can't Drag Photos from Camera Chip to Gmail

Talk about unnecessary keystrokes, as I'm used to dragging photos from anywhere (camera, files or DropBox folders) into my email. Not only do I have to search, open and upload a photo ... I have to do this for each individual photo versus one pass for collection of photos.

Expectation - Standard drag and drop functionality to attach one/multiple files into Gmail.

Gmail Issue #4 - Arbitrarily Small Compose Email Box

gmail issues
gmail issues

I get that most people don't expect or want more than a single message per email. With my corporate background, I don't want to have to click to make my compose screen bigger. I also like reading one email while composing a new one (using 2 display devices). It almost feels like Google is telling (controlling) how I use email.

Expectation - Allow me to pick email defaults - compose screen size, open in a new tab, etc.

Comments 1 comment

RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 17 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

As a fellow former IBMer I'd like to be able to wholeheartedly support your evaluation of Gmail, but I have to say the issues that frustrate you just don't resonate with me. I have my own issues with Gmail, but overall I find it very useful. The major reason is that I can access my email, without having to jump through hoops, literally from anywhere I can get on a computer or mobile device. I regularly use computers running different versions of Windows and Linux, as well as a Kindle, and it makes no difference as far as email is concerned. My biggest Gmail complaint is that it does an inconsistent job in forwarding and displaying emails sent to my other non-Gmail accounts. But from my experience, Gmail works pretty well for most users once you get used to its quirks.

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