The oldest email in my gmail account dates back to December 2004 and that wasn’t even my first emails. Gmail was launched as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004 and I got my first invitation in June of 2004. jamespoling[at]gmail.com has been my primary email account for over five years. Technically I should say, “had been” my primary email account.
Since the first day I signed up for Gmail I was hooked. I was easily the first person in my circle of friends to start using Gmail and I quickly began campaigning, sending out my invites to get people to check out this revolutionary new webmail app. I immediately turned into a Gmail snob. When I was running my own company and hiring freelance writers and producers, I would shamelessly discriminate against people who didn’t use Gmail. If a position came down to two people and one had a Gmail account and the other didn’t, it was a no-brainer.
Back in September of ’07 Lifehacker published a post titled, “Yahoo Mail Innovates, Gmail Stagnates“. Adam Pash, the post’s author sums up his thoughts towards the end of the post with, “It’s probably obvious that Gmail is my preferred web-based email (I’ve sung its praises many times before), but I’ll be damned if I don’t want to see some improvements out of it.” That pretty much summed up my thoughts on the matter as well.
Sure, Yahoo might be innovating but nothing is going to come between me and my beloved Gmail.
The problem with that train of thought is that part of my job is to be on the cutting edge of innovation. I just naturally assumed that since Gmail had basically knocked it out of the part with their first attempt at webmail that they would eventually address the concerns of its users, the ones that had been staunch Gmail loyalists all along. I was sorely mistaken. Rather than addressing basic issues like true push on iPhones or Blackberries, or anything that would pass for a useful contact management tool that would allow you to sync to your mobile device, Gmail pushed its users to the side and went straight for Enterprise level clients.
While Yahoo has been busy developing a new, user-friendly and appealing UI, a robust contact management system and wonderful new calender, Gmail has released such useful tools as “Graffiti theme” and “beer goggles” to keep you from sending emails while you are drunk.
Yahoo offers extremely effective real-time push on the iPhone with IMAP folder syncing that works amazingly well, neither of which Gmail offers. Yahoo! Mail syncs your calendars and your contacts to your iPhone as well.
Gmail, who now seems to be playing catch-up to Yahoo, has released a way to get Gmail to Push on your iPhone as well as syncing your calendars and contacts. The only problem with that is that it requires you to set up Gmail as an Enterprise account (see above about Google pushing aside it’s personal users to appeal to Enterprise level corporations) which is completely useless if you, like many people, actually use your iPhone with your company’s Enterprise mail service. You cannot set up two different Enterprise accounts on your iPhone so, sorry about your luck I guess.
After over five years with Gmail I have spent the last week moving everything over to my Yahoo! Mail account and I couldn’t be more satisfied. It’s amazing how much time something as simple as filing away or deleting an email on your iPhone and having that reflected when you sign-in to your web account can save.