I know that a lot of really technical and judicial documentation and articles have been written and published about Gmail already. However, I have felt that they lacked any insights into what would really make that service popular. Even though there are screenshots available and Matt and quite a few others have gotten to beta test that service already, GMail is still an enigma for most of us. I guess Blogger users (in random) were chosen to be given a GMail account and I seem to be one of the ones that are not chosen 🙁
In the meantime, here are some things which could be done to GMail to make it more popular to me:
1) Ability to check other email accounts built into the system. I would really like to be able to receive emails from other providers through either POP3, IMAP or HTTP mail services such as Hotmail and Yahoo. That would increase the value of GMail to me tremendously.
2) I really couldnt care less if some person at Google was reading through my email (which I am sure is not the case, just some dufus computer) but I would really like assurances that my information would not be used for anything else but ads on my email pages. If I get any notion or suspicion of any hanky panky with my personal information, I am outta there. In other words, respect the EULA, dont send me spam, protect my email address from being harvested from the Google server and do not, under any circumstances, sell my address to anyone. I dont care how many text ads you put on the interface. Period. And….ummmm..no popups please!
3) I am really looking to consolidate my email services. I do this with Outlook right now. I have all my email addresses setup to be checked on Outlook and the application is set to delete all email after 10 days on the server. This gives me a chance to get the messages downloaded on another machine before getting deleted in case something goes awefully wrong somewhere. GMail should provide this sort of an integerated experience. This thought becomes even more pertinent when considering the fact that GMail provides us with this huge amount of storage which I could use as a possible main or backup solution for my email aggregation.
4) GMail should be only about email. At least GMail should provide the configuration option to be a pure email application. I really am not interested in reading news or RSS feeds through my email application but would like to see advanced email features. I want signatures, ability to do all kinds of monkeying with my email and would like to see a vertical reading pane if possible.
5) There should be some sort of auto check facility. This could be as simple as an open browser page which refreshes every so often (configurable of course) and shows the newly received email on that page. So, instead of opening up Outlook and leaving it open all day, I could open up a GMail window and just leave that open all day. Problem solved satisfactorily.
6) SPAM filter. I would really like to see a good spam filter on GMail. I have read very little documentation on the spam filter properties of GMail but am really really happy with the Spambayes that I use with my Outlook. Something like that would be great in GMail.
7) One click book marklets. Or at least integeration of GMail into the Google toolbar. That would be awesome! If the toolbar could check your email and tell you when you have new mail, have a short preview or something, that would just baste my turkey! Also, a Mozilla compatible toolbar would be nice or I will have to rewrite all of that code to work with the present incarnation of Google in Mozilla. Bookmarklets could be used to highlight and click from a browser window to send email directly through GMail. Those are some very powerful possibilities.
8) Heh, last but not the least, I would like an account to test with. Matt has one and so do many other people. I really need to get lucky with that one! 🙂
More ideas coming up as and when I know some more about GMail.
PS: for those of you that still think this was an April Fool’s joke, think again.