Playing with Gmail

As you may know, I work for Novell, and I lead their collaboration product line which for the last decade has centered around the GroupWise email and calendaring product. I’ve spent that entire decade “doing email.”

Google has their “Gmail” service in beta, and their approach looks unique. They’re paying for it by running ads based on the content of the message you’re reading, and instead of being able to file messages in folders, you categorize them and locate them via relevance searches.

The industry is abuzz about whether or not this will fly. Me, I’m doing a little investigation, trying out the beta product to see how it works. I’ve already changed to my gmail addy in my LJ profile (howard.tayler AT It’s going to restrict me to a web browser for these personal messages, but hey, it’s a research project.

I may redirect all my schlockmail there, too, for the time being. After all, the true test of a communications tool is how it holds up under load, and how effectively you communicate when you have to use it.


14 thoughts on “Playing with Gmail”

  1. Not for me…

    I don’t want ads with my email. I do not want ten megs of spam, I will not read it, Spam-I-Am. If Google wants to provide free email, fine, but not at the cost of spamming me more.

    1. Re: Not for me…

      I will not read it at my house,
      I will not read it in a blouse.
      I will not read it in my cube,
      I will not read it with a rube.
      I will not read my mail with spam,
      I will not read it, Spam-I-Am…

    2. Re: Not for me…

      I’m pretty sure (not having an account yet) that it’s not that Google’s sending you spam, but just running their (fairly popular) Google Text Ads alongside your email.

      On that note, someone’s testing Gmail’s spam filters (and load handling!) by subscribing to every spam list he can find… I forget the actual link, but you can probably google it.

    3. Re: Not for me…

      So far I haven’t gotten spam. I’ve gotten text in a vertical bar on the left — easy to ignore.

      Your message to me spawned text links to three articles about anti-spam technology, a developer success story from, and an ad from — one of my GroupWise partners.


      1. Re: Not for me…

        I’m with Tiscali & Securemail…
        yes it hits some virii with Brightmail, but it steadfastly refuses to be configured away from “medium”, won’t redirect my Brazilian spam, has taken some Yahoo groups as spam, and is overall a pain in the butt to go into daily and flush since it won’t redirect spam into my spam folder in IE either.

      2. Re: Not for me…

        To me, that bar is visual spam. When I get email, I just get email. If I want to look for something related to the subject, I’ll look for it. But I’m VERY reactionary that way.

  2. Makes me think of some SF movie where, while watching TV, smaller windows pop up with stories related to things you say while viewing.

    “Wow, someone bombed a train in India? I wonder who?”
    Smaller window pops up with translated Indian news articles explaining who is taking responsibility.
    “Oh! The Illuminated Brethren? Who the heck are they?”
    Smaller window pops up with info from InterPol on the ‘Illuminated Brethren.’
    “Wow! They’ve done this in Pakistan, too?
    Smaller window pops up showing site of Pakistani bombing.

    Actually, I don’t know if that happened in any movie, but I can see someone coming up with the concept: HDTV, with ‘verbal info-seek(tm) control,’ at a home appliance store near you.

  3. Mail Clients

    Any plans to have gmail work with present day mail clients? I use thunderbird, and I like having all of my e:mail accounts under one roof.

    1. I have no idea

      I dunno. I think they’re onto something with the inline/sidebar “related links,” though.

      If I’m working on a project with somebody, or several somebodies, all project-related data on the internal network, and related industry news would fit nicely next to that email message. It would be like having an expert look at your conversation and hook you up with subject matter experts elsewhere in the company.

      Now I just need to figure out how to build this for Novell. 😉


    1. Yup.

      Yes, they’re indexing your email content.

      Yes, it’s a double-edged sword. If you’re worried that those doing the indexing will also spy on you and Do Bad Things, then this is not for you. Then again, Neither Is The Internet. 🙂

      Personally, I think this stuff is cool. Computers are SUPPOSED to accelerate our natural abilities, and hooking me up with information I’m interested in is a good thing. It does not prevent me from doing my own investigations, either. There’s no loss of agency on my part.


  4. Grrr

    Howard, I’m very upset at you. Groupwise makes me grumpy.

    Can you fix it so that it doesn’t auto log on at the start? Cause it takes forever to realize it can’t cause I’m not on the right network. I don’t remember all my other annoyances, but I don’t like it. I like webmail services. But, my college installed groupwise on my machine, and made me get a new machine for it… Grr. I still say that my iBook met all their criterion, it even ran WinXP like they demanded!


    It’s too late to rant effectively.

    1. Re: Grrr

      Check the startup group. If GroupWise or GroupWise Notify are in there, yank ’em. That’s EASY, and, strictly speaking, Not My Problem.


    2. Re: Grrr

      Oh, and another thing…

      If you’re running GroupWise 6.0 or later, you can configure it so it starts in caching mode. This puts a copy of your mailbox on the local disk so it won’t MATTER if you’re on the wrong network. As a bonus, the client runs about 75% faster in that mode.

      Since I’m not sure what version you’re running, and don’t want to do the whole tech-support thing, I’ll have to leave you to figure that bit out with the help of the online help.


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