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Yahoo! Mail Superior to Gmail ? 574

ynotme writes "In his column, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal writes that the new Yahoo! Mail beta provides a superior webmail experience to Gmail. Some quotes: 'The new Yahoo Mail is far superior to Gmail. Yahoo more closely matches the desktop experience most serious email users have come to expect ... Gmail has none of these new, fluid, desktop-like features ... Google's engineers have decreed that familiar email practices are no longer useful, and have substituted approaches they prefer, arrogantly denying users any choice.'"
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Yahoo! Mail Superior to Gmail ?

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  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skomes ( 868255 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:54PM (#13634160)
    The new yahoo mail looks like outlook, but it's more annoying since it's isn't as useful (no newsgroups). I much prefer gmail, the interface is fluid, intuitive and comfortable, and it's oh so pretty! I don't think copying the look of e-mail software should be the next step for webmail.
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @09:03PM (#13635179) Homepage Journal
      Yes, what's funny about this is that the few thousand Yahoo beta testers are going on and on about how fast it is. I'll evaluate which is faster after Yahoo has a few million users. I don't know about other folks, but when I click on something in Gmail the response is almost immediate, faster in fact than most of what I used to do with local e-mail programs. Yahoo, which I've been using for years helped (along with MSN) to give a bad name to web mail interfaces, and lately, they have gotten worse, not better, as they tried to keep up with Google in giving space away.

      Has everyone forgotten that before Gmail came along you got a whopping big 15M of space from Yahoo unless you wanted to pay after which I think it went up to an astronomical 100M. Gmail made a laughing stock of the other free mail services, and rightly so. It's nice to see Yahoo try and do better, but don't forget they, and Microsoft were resting comfortably on their lazy asses before Google came along.
  • by tommers ( 893816 ) * on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:54PM (#13634161)
    While it seems a lot of advanced users on Slashdot seem to love being derived of features by our Google overlords (more in response to Google Talk than GMail), the plethora of features in Eudora were the most appealing reasons I still use it and I'm glad WSJ is recognizing Yahoo for its new interface and features.

    Whenever I checked my mail remotely in the past with either Yahoo or GMail, I would always reminisce about how fluid the process was at home with Eudora. Scanning email by opening new pages for every email with old web interfaces was quite frustrating, even with GMails quicker load times. The new web interface on Yahoo is actually making me consider finally leaving Eudora.

    So, I for one am glad to see Yahoo head in the direction of both panes and continuing to focus on adding useful features (and unlike some products, doing it without ads or clutter). Improving the initial load time would probably be enough to get me to make the transition.
    • by ReverendLoki ( 663861 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:03PM (#13634241)
      While it seems a lot of advanced users on Slashdot seem to love being derived of features by our Google overlords

      While my features may not be much to look at under normal conditions, once you take the 1st derivation of my features, I start to become quite the looker. Around the 3rd or 4th derivation, well, all I can say is "move over Brad Pitt!"

      The only thing is, since I started trying to integrate myself back to my original look, I keep getting one that's real close, but something's just not fundamentally exactly right about it...

    • Really, the only good reasons to use gmail is the 2.5GB of space and [like any webmail] you can check it from anywhere. But there's one more excellent reason - pop3. With gmail, you don't have to stop using Eudora. You can use gmail's decent interface when you're not at your computer, and otherwise use the same email client that you love.

      That's the only reason I made a gmail account. I wanted to keep using (don't throw things at me... please) Outlook Express. I used to have a NetZero account ONLY because of the free pop3 email access, screw getting online with it :). NZ doesn't support pop3 for free members anymore, so I had to find something else. I had heard about gmail a while before, but who really cares about searching through your mail? Besides, if I needed to, I could do that in OE. But when I was looking at the site, I realized they had free pop3. HOLY DAMN.

      I hate web interfaces. I'm on dialup. I don't want pictures and an interface to have to download every time I check my mail - I just want the mail. Thus... gmail via pop3. It's worked marvelously for me so far.
    • by EtherMonkey ( 705611 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:58PM (#13634733)

      While it seems a lot of advanced users on Slashdot seem to love being derived of features by our Google overlords (more in response to Google Talk than GMail)

      Eh, I don't see how GMail deprives anyone of anything. You like Eudora? Fine, use POP3. You like Outlook? Use POP3. You like Thunderbird? Use POP3. You like Yahoo Mail? Use POP3 to download your GMail to Yahoo.

      What's nice is I get all that without having to pay for an upgraded account. Plus, I have the convenience of also being able to read my email using any web browser anywhere in the world, derived of features notwithstanding.
      • POP3 SUCKS for webmail. You don't get any sync features, so forget about keeping your folders consistant accross computers. Forget about having folders at all, in fact, because POP3 doesn't support them.

        IMAP is a much better protocol. Until GMail supports it, I'm sticking with FastMail.
  • by merreborn ( 853723 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:55PM (#13634162) Journal
    The new yahoo mail has drag and drop.

    • Drag and drop is a "feature" that I wish I could disable in my email client. I am forever dragging a folder into some other folder by accident in Evolution. My filters handle all the sorting that I need to do, so I don't even drag mail around. Drag and drop only ever gets in my way.
    • so does AOL webmail

      (enough said)
  • Choice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grey_14 ( 570901 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:55PM (#13634167) Homepage
    Does Yahoo mail let you use an interface like gmails? Or do they 'arrogantly' deny us that choice?
    • Re:Choice? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Vega043 ( 729614 ) <> on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:59PM (#13634202)
      Does GMail mail let you use an interface like Yahoos? Or do they 'arrogantly' deny us that choice?
      • Re:Choice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Grey_14 ( 570901 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:04PM (#13634245) Homepage
        My point was, (And I'm sorry that I have to spell this out) Why should one have to look like the other? The use chooses their service, and should gmail hop to and provide a look and function that mirror's yahoo's? Why? I don't think it's arrogant at all, that's choice in itself, their choice.
        • Re:Choice? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bogtha ( 906264 )

          The use chooses their service, and should gmail hop to and provide a look and function that mirror's yahoo's?

          You've missed the point. Google wasn't being called arrogant for not working like Yahoo, Google was being called arrogant for not working like practically every other mail client ever developed.

          Google have this idea that you shouldn't delete stuff, that you shouldn't use folders, that your primary interface should be a search box, that threads are unimportant, and so on. Yeah, they are goo

      • Re:Choice? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Evangelion ( 2145 )

        a) You can access gmail's mail with POP3 (you can't get at Yahoo's pop access with a free account).

        b) You can read POP3 mail with a Yahoo account

        So, umm, yeah, you can use the Yahoo interface to read your gmail mail.

  • mmHmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by d03boy ( 646195 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:56PM (#13634171)
    So basically what they're saying is that Google is being innovative instead of being a trend follower?
  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:56PM (#13634173) Homepage Journal
    If I remember correctly Gmail came out almost 2 years ago. What would be more surprising is if Yahoo mail did not have a better engineered GUI. In 6 months or less Gmail will be better than Yahoo and the cycle will begin again.
  • Anyone with a link to the beta mail client? Or is a closed beta?
  • by __aahsof7392 ( 588795 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:58PM (#13634189)
    but no one else delivered.

    * A nice user interface that is very responsive.
    * Web-based.
    * Auto-complete/tab-completion of email addresses.
    * Ability to search my email.
    * Advanced sorting and rules. I can place my mail subscriptions into different labels and archive them for later.
    * Reliability. Gmail is much more reliable than previous hosts. My mail is delivered and I receive my mail.
    * Group email threads together.
    * Mail filters.
    * vi-like keyboard shortcuts.
    • don't forget (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:09PM (#13634299)
      * Saving your e-mails in conversations ( an incredible concept)
      *Works stable on all browsers ( I'm not sure if anyone else noticed buy yahoo doens't play well with opera)
      *2 gigs of space.
      *pop access
      *and most of all simple.

      I switched my mom (not computer savey) to google and she picked it up in seconds. People need to learn more bells and whistles doesn't always equal better.
      • Re:don't forget (Score:5, Informative)

        by carl0ski ( 838038 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @08:01PM (#13634759) Journal
        Don't forget the sub-address support.

        I sign up to almost all online things with
        example for my slashdotaccount

        a + symbol and any string can be added between you gmail account name and the at symbol.

        They are vaild addresses an delivered to you.

        In my case i use them for security purposes, suspect sites i use carl0ski+spam

        as my address.
        then filter it straight to trash :)

    • Yahoo's mail does have the first three items on your list. And arguably the "reliability," too. I don't think there's a search or a "thread view," though, but I haven't really looked for those features. I would guess that the new "beta" Yahoo Mail will probably have them.

      But I'll say that Google has done Yahoo users a great service, simply by bringing competition to the market. Yahoo has had to greatly increase storage and features in a hurry. It worked, I guess, at least well enough to keep me on as
    • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) * on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:13PM (#13634350) Journal
      * Group email threads together.

      Exactly. GMail threads mail more reliably and more usably than any other mail client I've ever used, web-based or not (for example showing you your own replies right there in the thread, and showing the first sentence of collapsed messages in the header's empty space). This Yahoo thing looks just like Outlook, showing you only one mail at a time and forcing you to hunt for related ones. That is a giant step backwards, all in the name of looking like Outlook.

    • The clincher for me was the faux-IMAP functionality I can get by using Google's SMTP servers.

      Even when I compose and send email through my standalone POP client, they show up on the web in Gmail. And when I compose and send email on the web through Gmail, they all get downloaded at the end of the day into said standalone POP client, and immediately filtered into my Sent Mail folder.

      Before Gmail I used Yahoo! Mail, and my Sent Mail was always out of sync. Messages composed at home weren't available at work, and messages composed through webmail had to be moved into my Inbox periodically just to be downloaded and archived at home.

      Without a feature like this, I wouldn't switch to Yahoo!, no matter what the interface looked like.

    • Labels and Filters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @08:41PM (#13635048) Journal
      Labels are so much more powerful than folders! They're medata tags, not buckets! When you begin using gmail more powerfully, you begin to realize that storing messages in folders feel about as useful as having them on diskettes when you could have them in a relational database. Sheesh. Can yahoo can give me the intersection of my news label and my subscriptions label, or my purchases label and my travel label? (maybe, I dunno)

      But more than that, I have to say advanced filters are key to webmail for me. I can route the spam that comes from free newsletters right to the trash. Out of principal, I previously would unsubscribe from the obnoxious newsletters that don't allow you to separately unsubscribe from their spam, but with gmail I never see the "special offers." There are quite a few decent letters I'm much happier to be subscribed to now.

  • by kraada ( 300650 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:58PM (#13634194)
    You can also use any of your normal programs (thunderbird, outlook (shudder), etc) to access it Gmail.

    Yahoo! mail does not have this feature.

    So if you've always liked your Netscape Messenger . . . you can use it, with Gmail. You don't need to get used to using a web browser to read your email.

    *shrug* Frankly, I use PINE, so I couldn't care less.

    (Meanwhile I'd really appreciate it if the articles on /. were more than ads for one service/program/etc over another these days . . .)
    • Yahoo! can add all the features they want, all the free disk space, all the spam protection, a slick web interface, etc. Until I can send and retrieve my Yahoo! mail from a POP3 or IMAP interface FOR FREE like I can on Gmail, it's not better than Gmail, at least not for me. I was using Yahoo! mail for over a year before they turned off their free POP3 access. I don't blame them, but that's why I switched to Gmail. Then Gmail activated free POP3 FTW.
  • I wish they would add a calendar to Gmail like they have in the Yahoo accounts. That would be very, very handy!
  • Secure POP Access? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by diakka ( 2281 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:58PM (#13634197)
    Does Yahoo mail have or plan to implement free secure POP access like gmail has?
  • by PaxTech ( 103481 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @06:59PM (#13634204) Homepage
    Google's engineers have decreed that familiar email practices are no longer useful, and have substituted approaches they prefer, arrogantly denying users any choice.

    Well, you could always.. not use Gmail? Isn't that considered a choice?? Or will the arrogant Google engineers come beat you if you use Yahoo mail?
  • by Xarius ( 691264 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:00PM (#13634207) Homepage
    ...arrogantly denying users any choice.

    Well they have the choice to use a different bloody email service for one.
  • So.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by heavy snowfall ( 847023 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:02PM (#13634225) Journal
    This sounds like some of the critisisms that Linux software devs/power users get a lot of, being elitist, arrogant and not giving users a choice etc. Besides the original article being a troll, it's overlooking the main point: If you like yahoo's interface, go with yahoo, if you like google's interface then go with them. They're both free for chrissake... Same goes for linux apps too, and while gnome are a bit arrogant about the whole spatial nautilus thing is true, you can allways choose not to use it, like I do. Nobody is telling you what to do!
  • Disagreement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <fidelcatsro @ g m a i l . c om> on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:02PM (#13634228) Journal
    I far prefer Google mail .Perhaps it is that I have become use to the interface .
    I find it simple to use , it has ample storage , the interface is perfectly useable and takes little effort to learn .
    The search functionality is also rather good and very useful .
    "The new Yahoo Mail is far superior to Gmail. Yahoo more closely matches the desktop experience "
    Though I must ask , Which desktop is he referring to , certainly not mine .
    " Gmail, by contrast, is quirky and limited. Its only advantage is its massive free storage, which exceeds what most people will ever need."
    Well I don't find google quirky , everything does what I would expect . That to me is not quirky
    • Re:Disagreement (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )
      Have you used the new Yahoo beta? I somehow get the sense that a lot of people in this thread are saying they prefer Google without giving Yahoo a fair chance... after-all, it's a very limited beta, it's not like EVERYONE's been using it.
  • by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:06PM (#13634264)
    The author makes the accusation that google are 'arrogant' by throwing away common email metaphors, and one of them is the common 'folders' practise that just about every mail system except google uses.

    However, I think Google's way of doing things is FAR better. Folders is great, it allows you to file your mail away in a flat or hierarchial organisation. however, it DOESNT easily let you file a mail in TWO locations, unless you make a copy of the mail, and that in itself is really awkward.

    Applying labels, or some kind of keyword system, or however you want to call it, is in fact a far more natural and flexible way of doings things, and I fully intend to apply that idea to a few other projects I'm working on, where 'file away into nested folders' was the original way of doing things.

    So... perhaps Google needs to play a little catchup, but Google's idea of 'labels' instead of 'folders' I think is far superior.

    The author of the article, with his accusations of Google's "arrogance", is really letting his "must put google down at all costs, because it's the cool thing to do" attitude really show.
    • however, it DOESNT easily let you file a mail in TWO locations, unless you make a copy of the mail, and that in itself is really awkward.

      And that's a huge benefit. But until they implement a selection for 'no label' it's kinda tough if you've got several high-traffic mailing lists coming in to always find that single message you might otherwise miss.
  • by suprax ( 2463 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:07PM (#13634274)
    So will the new Yahoo! mail interface also increase it's spam blocking? I was a Yahoo! mail user for years but as soon as Gmail was opened to private invites, I grabbed an account and to this day can count the number of spam emails that I've received on half of a hand. And I use and put my gmail address everywhere -- on all my forms and contact info.

    Until Yahoo! can implement spam blocking anywhere near Gmail, I will be sticking with my "1 optioned" email site.
  • Better how? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dotslasher_sri ( 762515 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:07PM (#13634276)
    Does yahoo allow me to search through emails? Does it have text only ads for the free version?

    You can right-click on various items to see short menus of useful tasks, like "add sender to address book."

    Doesn't gmail automatically add every sender to the history? when you compose a new message you can just start typing the address and it will show you the email address. Isn't that easier than manually having to add?

    And there's no preview pane, only a feature that shows a snippet of the content of an email.

    Showing the snippet IS preview! How much more do you want to see ?
    It forces you to view all of your email in groups of related messages called "conversations," instead of viewing them individually as they arrive.

    Tell me why would i NOT want to see the messages which are part of the conversation?

    But i have to say tabs in messages by yahoo looks cool!

  • That's a Review??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:10PM (#13634306) Homepage
    Google's engineers have decreed that familiar email practices are no longer useful, and have substituted approaches they prefer, arrogantly denying users any choice.'

    The author comes across being very emotional and too judgmental for me to take the review seriously. Why was it even necessariy to add the arrogant bit? Oh right! That's the common sterotype Google has on Wall Street. I forgot! No doing a traditional IPO and not taking themselves too seriously apparently runs counter to Wall Street traditions so Google is automatically arrogant. I guess then all innovators are in a sense arrogant because they refuse to do things the same way it has been done.

    I work in the finance industry but some of the narrow minded people who work there makes me want to puke. If trying new ideas and being innovative are arrogant, then I hope everyone is as arrogant as Google is. On one hand, Wall Street throws out terms like "think outside of the box" but on the other hand some elements hates change. Take this quote for example:

    By contrast, Gmail has none of these new, fluid, desktop-like features.

    Uh... hello? This is WEB mail, not desktop mail? Maybe things aren't all the same in both realms? My Gmail is fast as hell and gets the job done. I go on there and answer my mails as needed. Then I'm out of there. Total time taken is usually under one minute. That's how I want it to be.

  • Screenshots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drakethegreat ( 832715 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:11PM (#13634329) Homepage
    Does anyone have a screenshot of the yahoo interface or a link to one? I'm willing to look into it because my gmail account is getting a fair amount of spam that the filters aren't catching. I just don't want to sign up for something unless its worth my time.
  • by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:12PM (#13634347)
    The Yahoo! ads, as pointed out by this blogger [], really are quite bad - GMail doesn't even come close to having objectionable advertisements.
  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:14PM (#13634360)
    Google's interfaces (for email and in general) have the advantage of being pretty simple and non-bandwith-intensive. For those people on slower connections, an interface with whiz-bang drag-and-drop bells and whistles will invariably be noticibly slower than a clean mostly HTML-based interface like Google's. I hate Hate HATE Flash websites for the same reasons.
  • by bdowne01 ( 30824 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:18PM (#13634382) Homepage Journal
    Google's engineers have decreed that familiar email practices are no longer useful, and have substituted approaches they prefer, arrogantly denying users any choice.

    Yea, it's a shame they shook up the whole "search engine result sorting" thing too. Bummer that didn't work out for them.
  • Not hard to do... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:21PM (#13634406)
    GMail's primary feature is space. Frankly, I don't care for the interface. Deleting mail is problematic. I've found stuff I've removed show up. You move stuff to Trash, empty Trash, and expect it to be gone. They have no real filtering. Folders are basically non-existent replaced with labelling that difficult to follow. Thank goodness you can attach via a pop client. That being said, I use it.
  • by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:21PM (#13634411) Homepage
    Seriously, I am a die hard Google fanatic but I still use Yahoo mail because it is very good. Gmail is not bad, but is still isn't Yahoo mail.
  • by tji ( 74570 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:23PM (#13634425)
    Based on his comments in the article, he just seems pissy because GMail works differently than the mail client he is used to, and he isn't given an option of working the way he wants.

    One clear indication of this is: he complains about having labels rather than folders. Labels are essentially the same thing as folders, except labels allow you to put the message in several labels/folders. The only difference is how they are stored in the filesystem, which is irrelevant in a webmail environment. If they put folder icons on his labels, I bet he would love it.

    He also complains about the "Conversation" view of e-mails (threaded view). I like the conversation view. But, I can see his point that it should be an option (even though I still think threaded/conversation view is a better way to use e-mail, because it allows for better context).

    He complains about the ads in GMail, which cannot be turned off. Okay.. I guess that's a point. If it used large distracting banner ads, like Yahoo! Mail, I would want to turn them off too. But, the small text ads in GMail blend in and don't distract at all.

    There is certainly room for improvement in GMail. But, Mr. Mossberg is a bit harsh when ranting about Google's arrogance for deciding they have a better way to do e-mail..
  • I prefer Yahoo! Mail (Score:3, Informative)

    by rg3 ( 858575 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:34PM (#13634520) Homepage
    Mostly because of one important feature, which is AddressGuard. Sure, both Yahoo! and GMail spam filters do a nice work. However, that is a "new" approach and it's what makes me not to receive any spam at all. You have an explanation here: []

    And a Flash animation/tour/explanation at the end of that page.
  • by Helpadingoatemybaby ( 629248 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @07:37PM (#13634540)
    Google has the grouped conversations, but still hasn't made it so that I can group any two conversations into one. So right now I have fragments of conversations spread throughout my emails. If only I could drag and drop one conversation into another, or separate them when they need to be separated, Google would have a perfect little product.

    Sadly, I use Google not because it's the best, but because I have a long memory -- and I remember VERY WELL YAHOO how you guys screwed us with your two megabyte/ten megabyte limit. Yahoo will not get my business again, no matter how much Gmail might frustrate me.


  • by ReadParse ( 38517 ) <john@fun[ ] ['nyc' in gap]> on Friday September 23, 2005 @08:42PM (#13635055) Homepage
    Hey, to each his own. I'm glad homeslice raved about Yahoo Mail. I just logged in for the first time in AGES and took a look at it and it's lovely. Really, it is. It has ads in the mail body, as always, which sucks. And the interface is a bit busy, with ads and offers and this and that.

    But I like the Bulk folder and this interface is clean and nice and all. And I can understand people who don't like the archive, conversation and label metaphors being pissed about Gmail. Like I said, to each his own.

    Oh, and let's not forget what else Google did. They went to 1 GB of storage when that was unheard of. And now Yahoo Mail has that, too.

    So life is good on the free, web-based e-mail front :)

  • by Snaller ( 147050 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @09:08PM (#13635200) Journal
    I hate the way the gmail people wont allow MSIE to store the password. Don't give me crap about its insecure - its none of your damn business if I want to store it! Jerks.
  • by windowpain ( 211052 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @09:14PM (#13635229) Journal
    Goowy mail [] is pretty good. You don't have to beg for an invitation, it offers both a really cool Flash version and a stripped down version for low bandwidth connections (You select which one you want at log on). It doesn't have ads (yet) and it even has news and games if you care to click on their icons. It's a credible effort.
  • by jgerry ( 14280 ) * <jason.gerry@gOOO ... inus threevowels> on Friday September 23, 2005 @09:27PM (#13635288) Homepage
    I'm dying for Google to add calendaring and real file storage (not just uploading your files in emails) and a more complete address book with mail groups, etc.

    I still love Gmail, use it every day. Love the POP access, love the SMTP access which keeps copies of your sent mails sent through any normal desktop email client. And I love the threading that keeps my replies with the responses. I'm sticking with Gmail and waiting out the missing features. They'll come. But the experience is already better for me than Yahoo! mail.
  • Best of Both Worlds (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Wicked Priest ( 632846 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @10:26PM (#13635617)
    This is how I use Gmail: When I'm on my Mac or my Windows laptop, or a foreign box, I use Gmail via their webmail interface. But I when I turn on my main Linux box, it fetchmails everything, and I read and respond in Pine. I generally reserve my heavy usage for these times. My fetched mail is automatically Trashed, and I clean it out the next time I connect to the webmail.

    The advantages: I have a stable email address that's fairly well spam-filtered, and isn't tied to my ISP; I also get secure connections (with POP, SMTP, and HTTPS). Meanwhile, I don't have to turn on my main machine, and don't have to set up multiple mail clients, but can still get the benefits of old-school mail management while being able to access my mail from anywhere.

  • by Psx29 ( 538840 ) on Friday September 23, 2005 @11:41PM (#13635944)
    Is that I cannot set the encoding of the text I am sending so it's essentially impossible to use their web client to send email in a non-european char set and I end up using a 3rd party email client with their SMTP server to do it properly...Also some charsets dont even display correctly in gmail. I love the pics I've seen of Yahoo! mail and I hope it doesn't have the same problem(s) gmail has.
  • arrogance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idlake ( 850372 ) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:03AM (#13636601)
    Google's engineers have decreed that familiar email practices are no longer useful, and have substituted approaches they prefer, arrogantly denying users any choice.

    The only "arrogance" that I see in this "debate" is Mossberg's. Google made available a high-quality web-based mail service based on AJAX and was the first to give users a gigabyte of space. The Gmail experience was closer to any desktop experience than any other webmail service. There were likely lots of usability experts and user testers involved in its development. And if it were for Yahoo! and Microsoft, we'd probably still limp along with 10Mbyte mailboxes and page redraws for each message view. And, yes, the Gmail experience is different from a desktop client. I fail to see how that "denies choice"--Mossberg always has the choice not to use it.

    Apparently, Mossberg's 35 years at the WSJ have gone to his head and he has forgotten that he is a journalist, not a usability expert. It is supremely arrogant for someone with his background to make judgements about the usability or quality of applications. In fact, someone who actually knows about usability wouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions.

    Fortunately, we all have a choice: we don't have to read the ill-informed drivel Mossberg publishes in the WSJ.
  • by gtx ( 204552 ) on Saturday September 24, 2005 @03:20AM (#13636651) Homepage
    ...and I'm kinda disappointed that the WSJ's standards have spiralled so far out of control.

    When you look at the facts, Yahoo is playing catch-up, and they know it. Google came pretty much out of nowhere and released a wholly unprecedented level of quality with gmail. While most, and probably all, other free webmail providers were little more than ad spots first and email clients second, Google provided a service that was incredibly powerful that happened to run ads the same way the rest of their site did. All of this was done in a very elegant, simple yet powerful interface hosted on Google's servers. It's only a rare moment where you get errors from Google servers. It's also only a rare moment where you see something shoddily hacked together from Google's engineers. It doesn't just work, it works very well, and damned near all the time.

    Did I mention it's free and nobody forces you to use it? To use the word 'arrogant' to describe the free service that set the current precedent for service and design is laughably irresponsible. How the hell do you get to use such a loaded word with negative connotation towards the parent company in responsible journalism? You don't. The fact that this hack can get paid to write this crap astounds me more than the fact that he clearly doesn't understand a single thing that he's writing about. I mean, I could spend all my days writing about crap I don't understand, but I don't think I'd get paid for it. While I admire his ability to get paid for workplace incompetence, I have to admit that I am baffled by how he manages to pull it off.

    I bet he thought he was really clever with other loaded phrases such as "Not Gmail, where 'option' is a term too rarely employed, except in reference to employee compensation." Yeah, great job, ass. Way to make a thinly veiled snipe at the fact that Google happened to find a way to become fucking billionaires giving you great service at no cost.

    And finally, since I seriously have to get to bed, my proof that the author has no goddamned clue what he's talking about: "I'm sure Gmail will get better and better, and will eventually adopt the new programming techniques that allow desktop-like ease of use."

    This quote just proves that the author doesn't get the point at all. Google has never been one to compromise functionality with form. Just go to if you're not sure. The whole google design philosophy almost wholly forbids gmail to ever get to the point where it will adopt these "new programming techniques," and I don't think we can realistically ever expect them to, or even want them to. If Google were to cheapen itself to the point where it were simply copying other peoples' interfaces in order to please woefully uninformed tech writers, I think we'd be much worse off than if they'd just done things the way they always had.

    I'm not going to make any statements about which is better between Yahoo mail or gmail. I'm also going to point out that both are free, and you should expect nothing more than to get what you pay for both. In the event that you are pleasantly surprised by how much functionality you get out of a free service, you should be thankful. If you're into Yahoo's interface, use Yahoo. If you prefer Google's interface, use Google. Neither is going to be "far superior" to the other for all people as all people have different needs and preferences.

    As for the people who keep hacks like this employed, you should be ashamed of yourselves.


It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead