I love Gmail. Yeah, I know the title is regarding a complaint. However, no other email application either online or through a standalone program on the hard drive is as good. It is fast, free, has a ton of space, and is very easy to use with a consistent uncomplicated interface. I even set my Grandma up with PCLinuxOS (she does emails and uses the word processor). I had previously tried to get Evolution or Mozilla Thunderbird working for her but something would always go wrong. She would accidentally click somewhere and the program would change to something that she was not familiar with. Gmail is so simple to use that I don’t think she is having much trouble anymore. In fact, I think that she is even starting to enjoy emailing people.
Back to my complaint. I have used Gmail daily since April 23, 2004. Yes, 22 days after Gmail was first announced. It took me that long to secure an invite. I was trying to get one since release day 1. I’m the kind of guy that likes to try new programs and have contributed suggestions and bug reports for many Google products. As I’m sure many of you know, a team at Google is working on the next generation of Gmail. Gmail 2.0, as it is being called by the bloggers. It is supposed to be significantly faster with a completely rebuilt and optimized back-end. Being the tech guy that I am (another example, I still think that BeOS had multimedia capabilities that Leopard is finally starting to touch and only because processors are much faster than they were back then), I am not happy with the roll out strategy that Google has for new Gmail versions/features. I’m not sure what things Google takes into account when determining in what order accounts get new features. However, my account, which had to be among the first, seems like it is always a few weeks behind in getting the new stuff. Case in point: 1) I received Gmail Chat a couple of weeks after people started getting it and a couple of days after a friend who I had invited had already received. 2) I received POP3 or, more recently, IMAP support significantly later than many people. 3) Google is allowing a certain percentage of accounts try the new version of Gmail.
I don’t know… Being an early adopter of technology, especially Google’s products, I feel that people who got an account the earliest should be given high priority in “demoing” the new features. It makes sense to me.
Update (11/6/2007): I just got the “newer version” (Gmail 2.0). Thanks Google! It is a nice improvement. I’m glad that they didn’t try to significantly change the interface because it is nice and simple how it is now. I can already feel the speed improvement. Also, the Google Chat integrated into Gmail is now finally working on Safari!!!