GMail Improvements

June 21, 2006

I recently shut down my own email server and forwarded multiple accounts to Gmail. I’ve already run into some problems with Gmail.

  1. Mail that is forwarded to Gmail is (apparently) not run through their spam filter. This inadvertently increases the amount of spam in my Inbox.
  2. For some reason you can’t run a filter on existing email. That’s a weird limitation.
  3. I can’t create a filter to mark some emails as spam; instead, I have to delete it. I’d prefer to leave it in the spam folder just in case it is not spam.
  4. When I access email from a POP client, it still leaves the email marked as unread in Gmail. I’d rather Gmail archive all email I explicitly delete in the POP client.
  5. My POP client can’t see the labels I’ve set for emails. Gmail should insert the labels as a X-Gmail-label header in the email. Then I can set my POP client to sort them appropriately. (although, I’m not sure this can be done with Outlook)

Other people have noted these issues in Gmail’s Help group and submitted feature requests. Perhaps they’ll get fixed someday. I’m still not sure if Gmail is better than Yahoo’s Mail beta. I definitely prefer labels over simple folders, though I still wish I had tags (which would not appear in the labels sidebar). However, I also like seeing the email in Yahoo’s reading pane. And I absolutely prefer the way Yahoo opens new windows in a different tab. I can quickly flip from one tab to another while composing multiple replies. There’s still plenty of room for improvement in web email. Frankly, I still prefer an offline client-side app like Outlook and Emacs’ VM.

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