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Why I Use Google Mail

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I had a conversation with Loren Segal a couple weeks ago about email. He made a comment about Google Buzz mentioning that he has never used Gmail, and our conversation ensued.

My first email address was with Hotmail, as I’m sure a lot of people’s was. Then I moved to Gmail proper and was hooked. I wondered why anybody would use any other email system.

I had a few university emails (ualberta, cs.ualberta, ece.ualberta), but I also started up an online life at my darkhelmetlive.com domain (the only thing I have there anymore is a goofy tumblog). I still use my darkhelmetlive.com email as my primary email to this day, but I wasn’t always on Google Apps Mail.

I used to run my own server from my home, as recommended on Hacker News. It wasn’t accessible from the outside world, and I tried to get a spam filter setup, but it was just too much of a pain. I had to constantly remember to train the spam filter, and my internet connection, while fast, would sometimes just cut out for up to a few hours at a time. I couldn’t rely on this setup to receive email. Oh, and I couldn’t find a decent web interface to use. I don’t want to require a specific computer with some mail client to check my email (and like I said, it wasn’t available outside my network).

So then I discovered that I could get Google Apps for my domain for free, which meant email. Money in the bank. Some of this is personal preference, but this is why I use Google Mail:


  1. It has the best damn spam filter known to man. When you process as much email as Google does, it gets scary good. When you get one random spam message in your inbox, just think about how many it correctly caught (remember this is over the whole Google Mail user base).
  2. It has a snappy and useful interface. I can quickly read emails in their context, reply, save drafts, and do everything else I want to do with email. It’s fast and functional.
  3. It has mad amounts of storage. I’m sitting at 506MB out of 7426MB, and I’m never going to run out of space.
  4. It’s backed up. I trust Google to not lose my data. If I did it myself, I’d have to back that up, have plans to restore if needed, and all that sysadmin stuff that I’d rather not be doing.
  5. It talks to everything. You can turn on POP and IMAP and it just works, because Google knows how to setup their servers.
  6. It’s redundant. When you setup email for your domain, you have to add about 7 MX records so there’s almost no way your email is getting lost.
  7. It’s redundant. When you setup email for your domain, you have to add about 7 MX records so there’s almost no way your email is getting lost.
  8. It’s got Google Search backing it. I don’t like to bookmark things, I just want to be able to find things again, and I can do that with Google’s amazing search technology indexing my email.

All in all, I don’t have to worry about my email. Google Mail solves all the problems. Everything is managed by their sysadmins who know what they’re doing. I just sit back and hit Archive.

Alternatives

Oh sure there are other things I could do.

  1. Hotmail. I really don’t like the interface, and I want it for my domain, not a hotmail.com address.
  2. Yahoo. See #1.
  3. Host my own. Again. Internet still likes to cut out randomly, and I don’t like being a sysadmin. I’d have to pay for a server to get the reliability, and I’d rather not.

Any other email provider, I don’t know if I would trust them more than Google, honestly.

I use Google Mail because it’s better. It’s better than everything else. Why do you use Google Mail? Why don’t you?


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