GMail vs.

I recently ran into a big problem with, my favorite email client for the Mac. I was writing a pretty long email (about two pages long) to the Teens in Tech Board. I was talking with our PR Advisor, Jeremy Pepper, and asked him to look over the message. I hit save as draft thinking the email would save, and closed the window. Little did I know that did not save the message, and my whole letter was lost. I spent almost one hour working on this email, and was pretty frustrated when I found out it was gone for good.

I tweeted out my “anger,” and Justin Ruckman, an amazing designer, replied, saying that GMail beats with out a doubt. We use Google Apps at Teens in Tech, so were getting what’s basically GMail + GCal + GDocs but with account names under the domain. I’m very happy with Google Apps, and recommend it for everyone with their own domain name and a email account. Later that night, I IM’ed Justin to talk about why he uses GMail rather then a desktop application like His reasoning: no matter what situation (editor’s note: save for a broken internet connection), the GMail web site will automatically save your draft message every few seconds. Then I remembered an application that brought the beautiful GMail interface into an application called Mailplane.

I used Mailplane once before, and was impressed. I felt it was a little too bulky for GMail’s simplicity, but that’s just my opinion. I’m still using, but I’m looking at other options. Wether I’m using the GMail web site on its own or in Mailplane, hopefully this will never happen again.

(Side note: I wrote this post on CalTrain next to a Google employee on the GMail team. He said that “this will never happen with GMail.”)

14 thoughts on “GMail vs.

  1. Great article! As for my opinions I use apples as my primary email on my Mac Mini however I can relate with your frustration as I to have encountered a similar issue. My solution however is to pre-write any long emails in Pages or Microsoft word. Kinda silly but it gets the job done and helps prevent unwanted mishaps. As for GMail I use google apps for my website email however I only seem to log into when I need to search for email on the server. As for typing emails in the web browser for some reason I can not get used to it. I have had a desktop client from day one. However if you do find a better solution let me know please! I am @whoknew on twitter and I will keep an eye out on your blog. Keep up the great work!

  2. Daniel, sorry to hear about the mail mishap; I take it you checked what your machine was doing/not; I have used Mail for years, and that’s never happened to me. I tend to save long mails periodically. I haven’t used Google docs much, but I’ll hazard it’s a lot like WordPress in terms of the autosaving every few seconds. I hate the WP client; it’s slow and clunky; I always write posts locally and try to do minimal editing online; I’ll be interested in your impressions if you try it.

    BTW, the most stable app in OSX is textedit; I use that to write all kinds of things; I don’t think it’s ever crashed on me since Jaguar; I use it like an expandable clipboard sometimes.

    Cheers- Chris

    Hope to see you in LA end June.. are you checking out

  3. Gmail ftw! Btw, not sure if you’ve toyed around with this but Fluid can make a site specific browser for Gmail so you can have Gmail running as it’s own app. It doesn’t auto-check for mail but I think you can find a userscript for that. Other than that it’s the same as using the web browser.

  4. Hey Ed – I’m a huge fan of Fluid… I think it’s great. Not sure if I’d use it for GMail though.

    Chris – I’m almost 100% I’ll be at SNC in LA. Thanks for the comment.

  5. It’d also be a good idea to check out Google Gears – offline access for Gmail, so you get part of the goodness that comes with a desktop app as well. 🙂

    I also find it speeds up Gmail greatly for those on slow connections, as it’s got most of the frontend cached.

    – Beau Giles

  6. If you didn’t remind me about losing emails, I’d have totally forgotten about it! I’ve used Apple Mail, Mailplane as well as a Gmail Fluid app. For me Mailplane just gets the best of both worlds (web + desktop) into emailing. Besides saving drafts automatically, I get to drag-n-drop attachments into Gmail, and gmail notifications via Growl all on the Mac. I highly recommend mailplane… showed it to friends and they bought copies!

  7. Beau: I have Google Gears on my Gmail account enabled, but I don’t see the point of it. It’s basically without internet.

    Kevin: Mailplane is great if you enjoy using Gmail. I much rather use because of its integration with fellow Mac apps like iCal, Address Book and others.

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