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A rundown of the new Gmail (blog.google)
258 points by runesoerensen 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 294 comments



The most exciting news here is that they're iterating on Gmail again. It was clear that Gmail was stagnating for a while as they were investing in Inbox. It's unfortunate that Inbox didn't take off, but now that it looks like they're putting the effort behind Gmail proper, we'll be seeing continual updates and improvements.

In just the past 6 months we've seen native Gmail add-ons (that work across web and mobile) and now confidential mode, Calendar/Keep/Tasks sidebars, and Material look and feel.

It's more work for us working on the InboxSDK, but I'm gladly willing to make the tradeoff of some extra work for a more robust and vibrant underlying platform.


I've been an avid Inbox user for years. Anyone knows what's next for Inbox? Looks like it might be folded back into Gmail and discontinued as standalone?


It seems like most of these new features are Inbox, so I won't be surprised if we see it discontinued.


I'll be real annoyed if they end Inbox, because I use inbox's Reminders heavily. I love having my todo items and emails in the same place, because that's what my inbox IS to me.


I'd think so, too. The iOS app still hasn't been updated for the iPhone X screen...


> Anyone knows what's next for Inbox?

Getting canned?


Google has said that there are no current plans to change or discontinue Inbox. So, at least for the immediate future, if you like Inbox, you can use Inbox.


I am sure we will soon see it in the Google Graveyard ( https://www.wordstream.com/articles/retired-google-projects )


Afaik Inbox will be like testing grounds for features that might come to Gmail in the future.


Inbox didn’t take off? That’s news to me! It’s the only way I use gmail, I haven’t used the old interface since inbox was released. It pairs with the mobile app really well.


For Inbox, I remember switching, seeing the new tabs, saying "Meh, those are useless" and going back to the normal interfaces since.


Did you not figure out what was actually different about it?

As far as I know Inbox bundles are a unique feature and one I could not do without.


The thing is, I didn't see anything new that made me wish to use it. I just saw new part to the interface that seemed useless to how I use gmail, so I went back.


Inbox bundles are a revelation. I guess it's a shame Google failed to get the message out better.


I, for one, hated bundles. They didn't give me enough control. I'm glad they worked well for you.


The key feature is bundles _in the inbox_

Folders and filtering rules never worked for me because they gave me multiple "to do" lists. It's vital for managing complexity to have a single queue to work through. If you want to use your inbox for that - then traditional email clients fall short.

If something is filtered out of my inbox then I usually end up forgetting about it. If I can't group things in my inbox then it becomes overwhelming.


Yeah i actually stopped using gmail, and exclusively use inbox too. Would gladly go back to gmail if I could get a comparable experience!


I use a combination of Gmail on the desktop and Inbox on a phone. I tried to use Inbox on desktop for a while, but ended up switching back as the desktop version of Inbox was too dumbed down and controlling for my liking:

- The mobile app arbitrarily doesn't allow labelling something and keeping it in the inbox.

- It puts emails in the inbox under a folder when labelled by a filter, which usually ends obscuring important messages.

- It doesn't have something equivalent to inbox sections (I use the crap out of these as my inbox has multiple different streams of things to action in it from multiple email aliases - personal, business, opensource, travel, bills, etc).

- As others have mentioned, Inbox is not very information dense.

Google sure had a challenge updating Gmail, since there's so many people using it in different ways. It'd be really interesting to see their top usage patterns summarised.


I love Inbox on mobile but I stopped using it on Desktop because it was so slow (sluggish). I have top of the line systems and it still felt so sluggish. Don't have that problem on the app.


Update: disappointment - priority inbox sections haven't been updated. They're still limited to 2 by the UI, and the new UI still doesn't expose "with label, in inbox" that's been possible for years by modifying the HTML on the page. The Gmail server clearly supports this, so it's a shame they haven't implemented a UI for it. I hope this doesn't break the hack people have been using to get 4 sections with messages only from the inbox...


I've done the exact same thing. Inbox was nice on-the-go, Gmail is nice on the desktop.


Inbox UX is not info dense enough and I don't like the auto categorizing it does for me. Makes me feel like I'll miss stuff.


Google add ons is a poor excuse for extending Gmails functionality.

I tried to create a basic app a few months ago and it is extremely limited and feels very much beta.

An example: extending compose functionality in any way is impossible.

Add ons are limited to when the user opens an email, that's pretty much it. Try for yourself and see.


I built Streak's Gmail add-on (launch partner, and #1 add-on in the marketplace) so trust me when I say that I'm very aware of the platform's shortcomings :)

If you want to do something fancy then I highly recommend using the InboxSDK (inboxsdk.com).

But for basic functionality the add-ons are pretty sweet. Native mobile integration is huge, alongside massive a great distribution channel. Not sure if you've noticed in the new Gmail but they put a + button below the list of Calendar/Keep/Tasks icons that brings up the Add-On installation modal. That's pretty major.


I completely agree, with mobile adoption, addons reach will be incredible and I want it to happen just like any other dev.

I will eventually monetize the app I build but won't go down the path of using Google's own addon platform. It will likely be InboxSDK as you point out.

The sad thing here is with InboxSDK being limited to Desktop but brilliantly feature rich, my adoption will be curved by desktop use only. I imagine businesses will be much more inclined to use Google's addon market place because the ease of deployment to users, rather than a Chrome extension etc.

How have your Enterprise users deployed your app to users?

I haven't noticed the + yet, I'll look out for this next time. Thanks for your suggestions.


I wish they'd just fix Gmail sync between tabs. Sending a reply to a message you've already replied to (because the first reply didn't show up in the tab) is embarrasing.


That seems like a non-problem. You can easily prevent it by having only one Gmail tab open at a time.


> That seems like a non-problem. You can easily prevent it by having only one Gmail tab open at a time.

That seems like a non solution. I frequently compose multiple documents full screen, while multitasking between different items of work. Judging by the upvotes before your edgy comment I'm not the only one.

Other apps maintain state being used in multiple windows, gmail should do the same.


Not with GMail, which I don't use, but sometimes I open a site again instead of looking for it in the windows and tabs I leave open forever (32 GB RAM help). It happens with Google Drive and Docs. Maybe the OP also keeps many tabs open.


If you have so many tabs open that you forget what you have open and start opening new tabs of the same site, then you should have fewer tabs open.

This reminds me of the joke where, upon realizing that normal pens don’t work in space, the US spent millions of dollars developing a “space pen” that will work in zero-gravity, while Russia just decided to use pencils.


Graphite from pencils breaks into small splinters that fly around in zero-g and short out equipment.

Sometimes I write and review a long email in one tab over the course of an hour or so while still responding to shorter emails in another tab. Just yesterday I had to out together a small report with some log examples and network graphs.

So there's 2 tabs open. Sometimes I'll also have older emails open to refer back to them. Easily brings that to 3, 4, 5 tabs.

It also doesn't properly update the mobile app or notifications, and I have one coworker who shows up as a different name whether I'm using the desktop or mobile app.


That pen thing would be a great anecdote....if it were true.


It's substantially true. The pen was developed by a private company rather than the government, but "the US spent" is fair if we consider it to refer to the country as a whole. Using pencils in space did cause genuine issues, but the Russian space programme did live with those issues until the space pen was developed.


>but "the US spent" is fair if we consider it to refer to the country as a whole.

Of course, that's not what anyone means when they repeat this nonsense, and the entire point of the story is to create a narrative that the US government is bloated, wasteful, and stupid.


I've seen it more used to create a narrative about US culture as being overly technology-focused and lacking a sense of making do / good-enough. Shrug.


Regardless, using a BS story to push such a narrative is a bad idea.


.. then Russians learned pencil breaking off in space ain't good and bought same American pens :)


I use pinned tabs for sites like these (messengers etc). Safari mirrors one instance among all your windows so you never end up with multiple copies pinging away with notifications


I'm not so optimistic. New UI for me looks like an unfocused drawing of a child. What's more - I rarely used the webUI previously (prefer IMAP, which kinda sucks in case of gmail) but now it's slower and looks uglier... (IMVHO)


While I love the new functional features (Calendar view, snooze an email, add an email to your task list, etc.), the new UI has a lot of problems.

First and foremost, the "Feedback" modal dialog is completely broken in Firefox. The menu loads but then immediately disappears. It blinks back into view intermittently every several seconds, but I can't see it long enough to populate the form they provide.

They established a new dock for non-email applications on the right-hand side, but decided to leave the Hangouts interface shoehorned into the lower-left corner. It's too cramped to use and forces them to waste a huge amount of horizontal space to the right of the menu options above it ("Inbox", "Sent", etc.).

I count 5 vertical scrollbars visible on my small screen. The scrollbar in the primary inbox pane is there whether there's overflow or not. I tried selecting the "Compact" display density option and limited the list to 20 emails per page to guarantee that scrolling wouldn't be necessary, but I still have to look at the scrollbar. I also dislike that the inbox tabs ("Primary", "Social", etc.) aren't pinned to the top -- if I accidentally scroll on the inbox pane, they vanish.


Oh gosh, the scrollbars. The scrollbars are more of a disaster than before. I was trying to figure out Gmail for someone with macular degeneration who doesn't want to deal with screen readers or Mutt. Instead she stubbornly uses a magnifier and bumps the font size. It was impossible because Gmail's sidebar ends up taking over the entire screen, the messages pane gets squished into oblivion, and there's no horizontal scrolling. Indeed, there is still no horizontal scrolling for the messages pane, and there are even more things in the way of it.

(Incidentally, I tried setting up a screen reader as an ambient helper to wean her onto the idea, but Gmail's HTML client, which is the only thing that doesn't fall to pieces here, works terribly for screen readers).

This really should be basic stuff for a frontend web developer: the main scrollbar (the one attached to your root html element) should control the scroll position of your main content. No excuses, you lazy gits, we have `position: sticky` now. Inbox has this figured out, and that's probably one of the reasons I like it.


With a nearly "zero inbox" (only a few mail items, not enough to fill the page), scrollbar is visible for me in Firefox, whilst neatly hidden in Chrome.


What I really want is a the Smart Reply feature to point out to the user that more than one question was asked of them.

It's so boring to ask two questions and get a reply to one or ask someone to choose one of two options and they reply with "Yes, go ahead".


Not sure I'd blame the client for people not reading their emails...


Why do you think they were blaming the client? They simply expressed the desire for a feature to help remedy a problem caused by humans.


More appropriate solution is a smart compose feature - fix what your sending, not how they read it


Sounds good to me. Let me input multiple questions but only send one at a time after a response is given. (Maybe hinted to me later, not automatically sent)


It looks like the good things of Inbox are now in Gmail.

That would explain the lack of updates on the Inbox iOS App (which still doesn't have proper iPhone X support)?


> It looks like the good things of Inbox are now in Gmail.

The feature I use most in Inbox is the quick "mark done" which removes the mail from sight but allows searching for it later.

The automatic bundling is not bad but not terribly useful.


I find it so strange that people don't find the bundling useful, because to me it's mind-boggling powerful.

Being able to open a custom bundle of Git commits from yesterday, scan them, then archive them all in a single click is huge! Being able to click on a bundle created for my upcoming trip and see all my emails for that trip there (hotel, flights, etc...) is such a time saver. Then being able to snooze those bundles to another date/time is also huge.

I actually want them to expand it more, allow me to bundle multiple emails that I choose together! If I get 3 separate emails about something I need to do next week, I want to be able to make an ad-hoc bundle for those 3, then snooze them all to another time together.

I can absolutely see how it's not for everyone, and I don't want anyone to think i'm implying that it's wrong to not want it, but i'm just amazed that there is such a varied response to them!


I've come to really like the auto bundling - especially for trips. Inbox has been doing a really good job of grouping flights and hotels under labels like "Your trip to Chicago". It also updates if flights are delayed etc.


> > It looks like the good things of Inbox are now in Gmail.

> The feature I use most in Inbox is the quick "mark done" which removes the mail from sight but allows searching for it later.

That sounds like the (ancient) Archive button..


Try making some custom bundles. I group all my industry pubs into one bundle that doesn’t appear in my inbox until 7am the best day. I usually scan the subjects and hit E to archive. Huge time-saver.


Let alone that the app is abysmally slow on an iPhone 5s. Even if your inbox (not "done" emails) features 7 emails and 3 new emails come in, the app doesn't even fetch them fully and loads them one-at-a-time upon opening.

And the inbox.google.com web interface does the exact same thing! It also gets stuck for several seconds when pressing "done" on a lone email in a group, showing an empty group for a while until it realizes "oh, there are no emails in this group" and finally disappears.

The app should be SIMPLE and FAST and it is currently neither. I am really thinking about returning to Gmail fully and using some other client for iOS.


You can try Airmail or Edison Mail for iOS. I find it much appealing than Gmail app


Neither seems to have a web version (or a desktop version for windows), so if I were to switch, I would still revert to Gmail on desktop. Or am I looking them up wrong?

Edit: also, do either of them enable the "tasks" between emails?


I vote for Airmail too.


Yeah, they seem to have hit all the features I liked from both. I had moved mostly to Inbox but things like mass email operations pushed me back into Gmail on occasion.


It seems bundling mails together isn't in Gmail yet? Too bad, it's the only reason I use Inbox.


ha - that blog post is 26MB large and makes my laptop cry


The Related Articles carousel at the bottom is responsible for a lot of that. In at least one of the tiles, it's backing an 82x45 thumbnail with a 2800x1556 PNG. The PNG is 6 MB, which works out to over 1.5 KB per pixel. Annotated screenshot at https://twitter.com/callahad/status/989119555711782917

What's worse, it's clear the CMS knows that the image is going to be displayed as a small thumbnail: the markup uses the picture tag and srcset attribute to provide alternative images, indicating that they'll be around 120 or 240 pixels wide, depending on device DPI.

...and yet, the actual file it serves is the same, full-resolution PNG in all cases.

This is a problem that the CMS should be solving.


Well, and the page itself is just hideously unusable. 1/3 of the space is covered with noise begging me to leave the article I'm trying to read. The top 1/3 is 80% blank space that keeps popping up and going away as I scroll, making the simple act of scrolling through an article feel unpredictable, as I'm never sure if I'm even going to be able to see the entire animation they want me to look at. Overall the experience of reading this blog is claustrophobic and stress-inducing. I almost thought I was on Medium for a bit.


They somehow made the blog post more painful to read than a CNN article. That's talent right there.


Yes, it’s incredible how just the preview images of “related articles” are over 13 MiB in size. That’s pretty dumb.

As is using GIFs instead of actual videos. It’s 2018, damnit.


Google shot themselves in the foot there though - autoplay videos are / can be disabled, but with gifs that's a bit more difficult and / or gifs are a way to force people to get exposed to videos.


I've taken to blocking gifs due to abuse.

Mostly just transparent-until-hover, but still.

https://pastebin.com/m5CEVfhL


Maybe they could change Chrome to allow autoplay videos, which have no audio? Would make them very much functionally equivalent to GIFs.


> ha - that blog post is 26MB large and makes my laptop cry

Sadly that also reflects the state of the new Gmail. It's bigger and slower to load than ever before. At least based on testing I've done on a test-account given to me by Google.

(Which may or may not contain debug-builds, extra logging, instrumentation, etc. I'll not entirely exclude the possibility that the final release builds may leaner.)

Anyhow, needless to say, I'm happy with Fastmail :D


Looks way better without javascript.


> Looks way better without javascript.

This sentence is nearly always true, applied to websites. (The exception would be mathjax, and a few more things)


I had the blog post open on my mobile for the past day and this really explains why my phone was acting up.. It's gotten noticeabley faster right after closing it.


it crashed my browser AND my firewall, never seen that before.


How about the size of the new gmail?


I use the business gmail version for work and it hasn't changed. Might be an opt-in thing?


At the bottom of the G Suite blog post:

> The all-new Gmail experience is available for businesses to start using today in the G Suite Early Adopter Program (EAP) and can be turned on in the Admin console. [...]

> Personal Gmail users can opt-in to the new experience, too (Go to Settings in the top right and select “Try the new Gmail.”).


Does anyone have an idea on how one can enroll in EAP? I couldn't find any setting or a link, but would really like to try it for our G-Suite.



Took me ages to find this...

In Google Admin

Apps > G Suite > Settings for Gmail > Advanced settings

...and then scroll down to :

New Gmail Early Adopter Program


I can't figure out how to enable it for home or work email :(


Actually, the new gmail is: https://protonmail.com/


Agreed. And: https://tutanota.com/

Gmail used to be good alright, but then it started to ask for my phone number all the time. I've switched to Tutanota recently, much better IMO, particularly the new client: https://mail.tutanota.com/


The design with multiple domains is pretty annoying.

So I register bob@tutanota.com but forget to register bob@tutanota.de and anybody can squat it and impersonate me from the same service?

Not to mention they blocked my IP after registering 3 of the 5 available domains.


Same problem with the old GMX. "was that john.doe@gmx.de or john.doe@gmx.net" - I get it, people should be able to differentiate, but they're really not.


I'm using my own domain anyway. When your last name is your domain, it gets impossible to impersonate you with any free service. And as it's only 1 Euro, it's also cheap and easy.


I would use tutanota if they could change a simpler domain.

When I wake up on the second morning after I've registered an email account, it was impossible for me to remember whether the domain was tunanota, notatuna, nonanuta or tutanote...


> No match for domain "NOTATUNA.COM".

I'm so tempted now.. YMMD :)


temptation too high...


I just tested tutanota. The interface is clean and nice but the encryption to external contacts is the same as in Gmail (link back to tutanota and shared passwords).

Why can't these services use something like OpenPGP's Web Key Discovery [0] fetching key from https://domain.com/.well-known/openpgp/hu/hash-for-localpart and avoid links altogether?

[0]: https://www.gnupg.org/blog/20160830-web-key-service.html


Avoiding links is the ultimate goal, hopefully Tutanota will integrate your suggestion or something similar. I've moved my entire family to Tutanota, which also works quite well. But you'll never convince everybody...

As far as I know self-destruct emails in Gmail are not end-to-end encrypted.


Good to hear, I'm also interested in that (hushmail, mailbox.org also use link backs).

Is there an issue tracker or a mailing list where one can subscribe and see when this would be available?


Is it open-source like protonmail?



Did I get this right: the client is open source while the service that works in the backend and does 80% of the job is closed source?


So the source isn't of much use except for verifying that the encryption is robust?

How is that for protonmail?


In Protonmail client is open source, server and apps are not.


Does it intelligently separate "promotions", "updates", and "forums" emails so you can focus on emails that are actually conversations? I used fastmail for a while and it didn't do this, and it was _so_ much harder to keep up on my inbox that I switched back to gmail :/


Interesting. This is the single feature I hate most about gmail. It keept misclassifying important emails and I missed deadlines for taxes, payments, etc. I ended up having to read "All-mail" to avoid missing stuff.


I recently moved my stuff to / paid a year of Fastmail. I gather Protonmail puts security features a bit more front-and-center.

How about the UX? Can anyone comment on how they like the over all experience of Protonmail as compared to Fastmail? I realize I could sign up a Protonmail account and compare, but I’m not sure I’d get a good picture of the service through casual use.

I like Fastmail quite a lot so far, but I’m open to reevaluating in a year’s time.


Lack of POP/IMAP is a big, major con. You're forced to use their web or native interfaces. They don't make this super obvious outside of an FAQ on their site. I signed up and then found out. I wonder how much churn that causes them.


You actually can use IMAP/SMTP with ProtonMail using their new bridge application (only on Windows and macOS right now, Linux "coming soon")

https://protonmail.com/bridge


Oh my, yes, that’s a huge downside / nonstarter for me. Thank you.


I was about to switch in a couple of weeks, until I read your comment.

How would encrypted emails work in a client like Thunderbird? Would it normally be handled correctly if POP/IMAP was available?


This is the grand problem with email. At least two standards exist: PGP & SMIME

But... those aren’t particularly friendly and thus aren’t widely used. The main usability issue is a fundamental one, namely that management of crypto keys is hard.

Hearing that Protonmail requires their own client suggests to me that they’ve given up on the standards due to usability issues, and have instead adopted a managed key model like Apple’s iMessage.

iMessage is end-to-end encrypted, but Apple manages keys on your behalf. It’s not a bad compromise between privacy and usability depending on your threat model.

But, at this point I’m deeply suspicious of anything that isn’t standards based or that locks me into a particular vendor’s software. I’m therefore skeptical that we’ll satisfactorily solve email privacy for a majority of people in my lifetime.

EDIT: Thunderbird would work with Fastmail for encryption using PGP or SMIME (at least I think Thunderbird supports SMIME). Protonmail wouldn’t work, I’d guess.


> Thunderbird would work with Fastmail for encryption using PGP or SMIME (at least I think Thunderbird supports SMIME).

Thunderbird supports SMIME natively, just like most of email clients. But of course there are some usability issues, like you need to enable encryption each time per email, or require it for all emails, there is no middle ground like "encrypt if I have keys, do not encrypt otherwise".


The other issue is inability to search your mail's message bodies in the web/mobile app. This is due to the encryption...


Do you have a link to where you read that?


I like fastmail, you actually get enough space & email aliases for a reasonable price. In todays age of $5/month 1TB of storage, charging an extra 21 euro a month for 15GB more storage and more no cost email aliases is a bit silly.

I also like the [anything]@alias.domainname.com feature. Lets you separate out user accounts into unique email addresses, and you skip the username+[unique]@gmail.com filter that a lot of places have now.

And the fact you can host a simple static website on your domain is useful.


Hardly a choice for me, as it has exactly zero IPv6 support. Not to mention, that they haven't even bothered to enable HTTP/2.


Am I right that services like tutanota & protonmail don't support email migration? That's an extreme regression from standard email. Doesn't it make them largely useless except for burner account use?


Needs something like ProtonMail Bridge for Android, maybe integrated with ProtonVPN.


Seems awesome! I'll be switching back once they implement the automatic travel bundle. I've gotten used to it a lot and it's been so helpful. I travel pretty regularly, often with more complex trips than single round trip flight + 1 hotel, their bundling has been super helpful.

I also use it as my travel calendar. Gives me a better view of my coming travel than a calendar.


"Finally, a new confidential mode allows you to remove the option to forward, copy, download or print messages—useful for when you have to send sensitive information via email like a tax return or your social security number. You can also make a message expire after a set period of time to help you stay in control of your information."

No, thanks. I like my e-mail archive under my own control.


I find this a rather dangerous precedent. At best, it's an incompatible extension over what would be standard email and it further expands Google's walled garden, and at worst it sets up a false expectation of security, ending up as little as snake oil and possibly setting up people to dangerous situations. Nothing hints at messages being PGP encrypted (Or being encrypted, period. "Recipient verification" just looks to me like a way to get an acknowledgment of receipt) or even how Google disposes of "expired" messages.


How would this work outside google's garde?


Lame feature. Take screenshot. File / forward to circumvent.


Exactly. It is almost a mis-feature for bringing fake sense of security to their users, since receivers actually can very well take a screenshot or even a photograph.


As long as people have cellphones with cameras anything sent to them has to be considered 'open'.

At the same time, sending internal payroll information and such is something that can, and does, get accidentally forwarded.

This feature is less about "perfect security" and more about making sure the dumb-dumbs who work in other departments don't shoot themselves in the foot.

Awesome feature. Fire people who are blatantly mishandling confidential material.


I think it is to prevent accidental data leaks. A lot of information is accidentally leaked by people forwarding email chains without checking what is in them.


"Features" like these are actually worse than useless because they give users a false sense of security.


I don't understand the hate. It's still a good way to send a password or some financial information, just because you know that it's going to be deleted soon and if in the future your contact's account is hacked it will be long gone. Basically, it's a secret chat for email.


Well, i wonder how they will make other mail providers (or clients, for that matter) to honour this kind of mail headers.


My take on the criticism here is that people are ignoring that Google has a lot of customers on GMail and a lot of corporations on GSuite. Intra-office email management is another ballgame and these kinds of features are pretty common in that space (Novell had them in the 90s even).

For users outside of Googles platform the obvious solution is either not to send them or to send a managed link to the message contents via normal email.

It can't be perfect thanks to the analogue hole, but it only has to be a bit better than nothing to provide utility.


Just like services like Virtru: they would just get a link for that content.


>This message will get deleted in 2 years.

>Password is piedpiper123

"Oh, better I copy the password to my computer if I ever need it."


This is just a tool, some people may find it useful, others probably won't even use it.


What they could do is put the contents in a video* and have the media be DRM'd. You couldn't take a screenshot, only a picture with your phone.

*Or image, not really sure if that works.


Can you actually DRM a video so that the OS won't let it be screenshotted? I usually use the snipping tool for Windows screenshots, does DRM stop that working somehow?


I don’t think it will on Linux, I could have sworn I’ve watched Netflix with just the EFI framebuffer. If that worked then there’s no way any sort of DRM that can be viewed on Linux would stop this.


Try Netflix with Microsoft Edge and try to take a screenshot. Only subtitles will be visible.


Abuse of proprietary power at it's finest.


Even if you can, it's possible to circumvent that (see: analogue loophole).


It sounds like another way to get people to visit google sites. Presumably if you email someone who isn't on gmail they will get a link they have to open in a browser, and unless you enable invasive javascript, you will not be able to view the message.


Anyone know how this works with IMAP? Does it just not show up in IMAP, otherwise forwarding etc. is trivial (ignoring the fact that you could just screenshot the message and send the screenshot)


> Anyone know how this works with IMAP?

The email contains a link to a site controlled by Google which holds the actual "email's" content.

Forwarding the email will only forward a link to an access-controlled resource.


Finally, email meets DRM!


Not to mention everyone who uses email may now need to have a Google-account to read email, even if they don't use Google mail services themselves.

I wonder if they had any discussions about this internally, and if anyone on the engineering team objected to such changes. I find it hard to believe such a change was done by pure accident without anyone noticing.


Discussions about it internally?

They're pushing GSuite for governments, corporations, schools... Things like 'read receipts', email recalls, and such are common questions and common scenarios that are supported by their competition. I bet this is in a well curated list of requests from schools, healthcare organisations, and MegaCorps alike...

For people outside the Google sphere there are numerous alternatives to make this appealing. A single-use link, for example, or just slapping OAuth on there. The baseline is open email, so any kind of trace-ability is a huge improvement.



I'd expect they will just send you link to view message in browser. So you will not be able to view message normally unless you use Gmail and that is probably goal of this feature.


I'm not sure that even will be available to non-Gmail users natively, probably you'll just see a link to check the message.


It can't be available as a message, only as a link, otherwise it wouldn't work. But in this case it shouldn't even be called an "e-mail", it only confuses people.


Yep, I think thats it. I don't remember where I saw the screenshot, but for anyone not viewing through a Gmail app or site, you get a web link to click on to view the message.


Since I automatically forward my Gmail to another (main, non-gmail) address, this means I may not receive those mails.


Gmail will send you a link, so you can at least tell the person off and have them communicate with you like a real human being.


Don't use it then?


Others might send you shit in that way.


Then you reply and tell them that the feature doesn't work and send it to you in the standard way.

Standards need to be enforced.


> send it to you in the standard way

What standard is that exactly?


In this case, RFC822, aka. "E-Mail", which does not mention self-destructing electronic messages.


People will probably just write rules to bounce these.


To me, it violates the principle of email. It's a static thing that cannot be edited, excepted deleted by the recipient.

This new "remotely deletable" thing must be essentially a link to a Google controlled page in the form of an email.


Anyone able to shed any light on what is Google's strategy regarding the Inbox/Gmail split?


look here: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3269253/enterprise-app...

Quote: "With respect to the upcoming Gmail announcement, there are no changes to Inbox by Gmail," a Google spokesperson tells me. "It remains a great product for users with specific workflows and one in which we test innovative features for email."

My opinion: Does not sound confident for me... it will be a always beta product?!


Gmail was in beta for over five years ;)


> My opinion: Does not sound confident for me... it will be a always beta product?!

Asked if Gmail update meant changes to Inbox, Google said no. Sounds simple to me.

As for being a "beta" product, to the extent that's true it's nothing new: from the start Inbox has always been a testing ground for new ideas, where the Gmail team could experiment without dealing with the entire Gmail userbase.


To me it seems like it might be a testing ground for features to bring to Gmail.


Quote from GMail project lead:

In a slight shift from how Inbox was characterized at launch, Bank says it now amounts to an experimental test bed for future Gmail features. “Inbox is the next-gen, early adopter version, whereas Gmail is the flagship that will eventually get the best new features,” according to Bank.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/25/17277360/gmail-redesign-l...


It looks like that most of the (useful) features from inbox were moved to gmail, so I would assume that inbox will be gone at some point.


Hahaha you said "strategy". As far as I can tell Google is one big hackathon.

Okay, not really. But if I had to choose a culture (since we're on the subject of false dichotomies), between a cutthroat stack-ranked empire and an idealistic hacker republic ...


They want to re-invent the email standards to have full control over them.


I can't see the "Try the new Gmail" setting. Is there a geographic/locale restriction? (I tried switching my account to English without luck)


The feature flag probably hasn't been flipped through all the Gmail clusters yet, but probably will be soon.

EDIT, for more clarity: Gmail spans lots of clusters ("Gmail's web interface runs in many locations”, https://gmail.googleblog.com/2009/09/more-on-todays-gmail-is...) and Google is an US-centric ("5%") company, so it's likely that the rollout has been timed to be complete or mostly complete during the day... US daytime, that is. It's barely 5AM on the East Coast.


Same here, in Germany.

Maybe someone could post the link that is behind "Try the new Gmail" - I assume it's just some URL parameter you need to add?


Blog post came before they hit the big ol' deploy button.


Yeah, they went:

./publish-blog-post.sh

./deploy-gmail.sh

instead of the other way around :p


Same, with two accounts. Australia here, if that makes any difference.

Clearly it's a staggered rollout thing that hasn't fully taken effect. (Which is stupid, when you do this kind of thing at scale you pick an exact time to go "live", add some code that enables the flag at some point after that exact moment in time, then do a rollout early enough that all the machines in the cluster are updated with that code by the time rolls around. And then everything "just updates all at once." Why do I suspect that Google from 2006-2009 would have made the effort to do that for this update, but that nowadays it would have been deemed as too difficult or whatever...)

I wonder what happened. Maybe enabling this _now_ was a last-minute decision? Weird.


This is definitely deliberate, upgrading everybody (almost) at once could work, but would have been a huge risk at their scale. You want to roll out big features like that incrementally so that you can monitor the load, catch any issues early, and give yourself a chance to revert if things go wrong without pissing off the whole world.


Fair point.

I should have been more clear, woops. I was referring to the "Try the beta" feature showing up in the gear/cog menu.


I had the same experience, until I disabled uBlock Origin. Setting showed up instantly, and I turned it right back on.


Experiencing the same here. I'm from Germany.


Same here. Also no mention of the Early Adopter Program on our G Suite account.

I can't enroll with any of my personal or work accounts.


Same in HK, Asian.


Same in Argentina


Same, Turkey.


Same, Sweden.


same in france


I'll probably stick to Inbox because the pin/sweep workflow is really nice, but snoozing was the real game changer for me and it's good that they've put that in Gmail proper now. The follow up thing looks nice too, that'd be nice in Inbox but could be tricky if messages are archived. "This has been pinned for x days" warnings would be neat.


When snoozing with Inbox, did it allow you to type in a snooze time that would be interpreted intelligently (e.g., "8 hours" or "3pm May 5")? Or does Inbox only allow you to select from a predefined list of options ("tomorrow", "next week") or use their clunky date picker? Both Streak (a Gmail plugin) and FollowUpThen (an email forwarding service) allowed you to type basically anything, which was way faster.


Nope it doesn't have that - I can definitely imagine it being useful but their defaults are pretty good in my experience. They do have "snooze until day of event" which is quite nice for things like train tickets or meetup confirmations. And they have location-based snoozing which is occasionally handy. Sounds like a nicer way to do it though now you mention it!


Thanks for the info!

Yea, I think having good defaults and falling back to the date-picker interface (graphical calendar) is a good solution for mobile, but when I'm on a laptop with a keyboard it's way faster to just type.


> New features on mobile, like high-priority notifications, can notify you of important messages to help you stay focused without interruption.

Err... wat. Explain again how "high-priority notifications" will help me stay focused "without interruption". This is a new level of newspeak. The ringtone is now LOUDER, which will help you enjoy silence.

Anyway, I don't care about any of this. All I want to know is if I'll still be able to disable conversation view in the new interface.


The next sentence says: "Plus, Gmail will start suggesting when to unsubscribe from newsletters or offers you no longer care about."

And the following screenshot: https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-uniblog-publish-prod/ima...

Shows: "Try notifications for only your most important emails: Turn on / No thanks".

So in context, the message is not that "high-priority notifications" mean louder ringtones but that (if you accept) Gmail will try to notify you only when an incoming email is important. That hopefully means fewer interruptions from newsletters and other bacn.


Somewhere in the account settings, there is a way to get an HTML-only version of GMail. (the alternative is "standard") This is what I use. I was forced to switch because of older hardware, but mostly I like the interface better. It is far more predictable. Text boxes act as they are defined by my browser. They don't jump around or do anything else weird. The standard interface has scripting that I would always end up fighting and cursing at.


At the moment, I have notifications turned off for mail. This is an option for Gmail to attempt to judge whether a mail is high-priority and only send notifications for a subset of mails.


They're just changing how they notify so that you get fewer notifs on important mail only.

Just turn them off if you dont want notifs at all.


Oh wow, this is neat! Some features like inline controls are a long time need. Good that they are finally here. I hope they refine further to make it look like a chat app cause that might further speed up conversations IMO!


How did they manage the expiring e-mail thing without breaking standards?


They didn't. It's not "e-mail" anymore, just a link.


It probably only works gmail to gmail?


Didn't either imap or Exchange also allow for 'withdrawing' emails?


Yep.


Surprised nobody mentions the availability of Google Tasks for iOS here. Or is that old news?

I use tasks because it lives on top of Google Calendar, which I use and look at every day. Every other task-tracking option has failed because if it’s not in front of me then it’s not helpful.

The biggest problem, until now, has been the lack of a mobile app for tasks. I, got one, am excited about this.


The original gmail was quite clean fast and efficient to use. Something about recent updates seem to increase obfuscation on the desktop with the intent to make you spend more time in the software. Thankfully the mobile clients have to remain uncluttered.


What’s going to happen to the Inbox app?

It looks like they’re converging but there are things like grouping of Trips, grouping by day, and pinning (which also takes emails and attachments offline) which I really like in Inbox...


Nothing on inline video playback and embedded YouTube videos. I think many desktop clients have that functionality. That would make possible email news letters that can have the richness of Medium posts.


God, I hope this never comes true.

Email is not the right medium for this. Stick to blogs and webpages for this instead.


There is reason to be concerned with time expiring messages and other features that fragment the web and email, ultimately making us all more dependent on Google Services.


I use gmail as an archive of all the data / communications I've ever received.

Now that messages will expire and be removed from this archive I suppose it's time to look at alternatives.


How will that help you? If you receive one of those emails from a Gmail user, it will probably only contain a link, not the content. So you still won't be able to archive it.


I don't know but web interfaces are not a thing to me anymore. I am using Airmail for both my personal and work email. Those new features are just meh.


Airmail is great until I find that I collect a lot of mail - At that point - it starts becoming extremely buggy.

I tried it a few times - each time worked great at the start and then fell apart once the mail volume grew.

Gmail's web interface, crappy though it may be, seems to be the interface that works best out of the lot.


does anyone know the split of these kind of posts on the different blog domains of Google ?

I find more meaninfgul postings on the *.googleblog.com sites (e.g. https://research.googleblog.com or https://india.googleblog.com/) versus the blog.google sites.


I don't know about the split, but agree that more interesting (and HN relevant) posts are published on the research blog than the more product-oriented blog.google.

This HN domain leaderboard also ranks the research blog domain higher (74 vs 89) over the past year: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16692149


Something as bare minimum as stemming while searching(ie, if you presently search in Gmail for the string 'orange', the results does not include emails that may only contain the string 'oranges') strings inside emails is yet to be implemented by Google. Any possible reason why something that sounds simple is yet not implemented?


Wildcard searches are expensive and gmail has a LOT of data. I bet it would cost them more than you expect.


But stemming isn't wildcard...


I think the way the Gmail team implements new features is quite cautious when I compare that, for example, to the recent Reddit redesign.

Progressive and slow changes, so that the users don't notice them and get overwhelmed is the way to go. I bet Google has the manpower and funds to A/B test the usefulness and user acceptance of any such changes.


Google is ruining its products with Material Design. The animation is not accessible for people who have difficulty with visual motion. There needs to be a way to turn all animation off. It's bad enough already and keeps getting worse.

Edit: you should learn more about visual motion accessibility before downvoting me.


I know they put in a lot of hard work on improving the product... But I wish that they would divert just a minuscule amount of that effort into changing the font to something other than Arial.

It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just pick "Segoe UI" or "Verdana" like everyone else.


Poking at the new UI, it looks like it uses the system default sans-serif font. So you're completely in control. If you want Segoe UI or Verdana, use that as your system default, and Gmail will reflect that.


It appears that the snooze function is straight from Google Inbox (inbox.google.com). Meanwhile, you still can't unmark messages marked as spam in Google Inbox.

I kind of alternate between Gmail and Google Inbox because they present different views. It's all pretty confusing.


I can already hear the laptop fans screaming due to all these useless animations.


Wish they can add different swipe left/right actions to their mobile APP. It's the only reason I don't use their Gmail APP. Others Mail APP has less real-time sync than the official one.


> Plus, Gmail will start suggesting when to unsubscribe from newsletters or offers you no longer care about.

That sounds great. My only other feature request is an unsubscribe button in the list view actions.


Nice features.

That being said the “do more without leaving the inbox” seems like workarounds to the fact that Gmail lacks a 3 pane interface.

A 3 pane interface makes much of the deeper features Gmail is adding on message hover redundant. One could argue that in a 3 pane interface you need to click the message you are interested in to get access to advanced actions but in Gmail you don’t. And while this is true, I’d say the need to hover over the message actually makes it harder. The hover needs to be maintained while in the 3 pane interface once you click you don’t need to maintain your mouse position. And you have far more context, since the entire email is displayed while still showing you all your other messages and not yanking you out of the inbox.


Gmail has had a three pane interface for about 6 years. It's enabled under Labs.


I guess there is no incentive for google to support this properly but the web client is completely pointless for anybody who has multiple gmail adresses. I want to see my stuff in a combined inbox.


there's an option in gmail labs to activate multiple accounts, I've never tried it though


I think I have tried that and have it enabled but the result is completely pointless.

1) it does not combined inboxes (at least I see no option to view the other emails)

2) it only allows you to send emails from the different accounts. Emphasis on the "From" - the sender will still be the original email address, so that is completely useless for combination of like a public and private email.


Oh, so that's the reason why I haven't been getting mail notifications for the past week. The messages just haven't been important enough. Thanks google, you always have my back.


I cant find the Button :(


Moved off google products completely. A few years ago I would probably have been excited about this but today I can’t shake the cynic telling me everything they do is to just spy more efficiently.


What did you end up moving to for e-mail?


Fastmail.. Was a customer with them way back, when they started, but moved over to GMail, when I got my account there in 2004. Back to Fastmail since last year..


Was thinking of deleting my Google account completely and moving over to FastMail but I wish they had a free option like user@fastmail.com for no cost. But then again, I do like no ads.


Having used and switched between a bunch of free-or-isp-or-university email addresses back in the 90s and even a little bit beyond, I have never been so glad as to have my own vanity domain.

As it is, my email address has now survived three different providers. I’m a happy Fastmail user now, but there’s no way I’d accept an @fastmail.com email address.

For me, $5 a month for ad free email that supports push notifications on iOS is pretty nice. The file / web hosting on Fastmail is fun too. Feels like an old school ISP.


I should really switch over to Fastmail. I currently have a personal email w/ user@gmail.com but also a basic G-Suite email w/ firstname@domain.com. I would save $2 a month by doing so and have one email rather than two.

Do you still have an account w/ Google, despite using Fastmail as your email provider? I was thinking of just deleting my entire Google account but I have my personal email address associated w/ so many things.

I also love the old school feel of Fastmail but I don't know, a few user interface tweaks wouldn't hurt.


I do still have the account with Google due to having used Google SSO with a few 3rd party services. I've thought about murdering those / changing my sign-in so I could get rid of that account, however.


Supporting Gmail with it's allure and illusion of a "free" account is a rejection of personal freedom and tacit acceptance of malicious authoritarianism.


How would you go about deleting your entire Google account? Particularly if your personal Gmail address is associated w/ so many things, etc?


Start using a new email address and move your accounts over to the new email address. Never delete your Google account just make it irrelevant. If for some reason you need to perform a password reset on an account you suddenly rediscovered after a few years of inactivity, your Gmail will still be there for you to perform the password reset and email address update.


I am on the standard plan at $5 per month. I feel it is money well spent and I can configure my own domains also for email - saves me the money on the Google Apps business thing, which I only had for the email functionality.


Or you know let google photos work with google mail so you can insert a photo without some convoluted work around.


No love for Inbox. Great after I switched... I only need bundles working in Gmail and I can switch again :(


Oh well, I will keep using Thunderbird.


Ah,more "improvements"...


This reminds me I still need to get rid of some 3k+ emails in my inbox... thanks Google!


Afaiac the whole point of gmail is that you don't have to get rid of anything from your inbox.


Your inbox != All your emails. There was this "Inbox Zero" thing/philosophy/cult out there years ago, and some of its tenets are pretty interesting.


Seems like some good new features, but man does it look ugly.


A few unnecessary features here or there.


Nice try FBI

...it's neat. I'm just making a crack about them copying the disappearing messages functionality from other providers like protonmail.


Sounds like exotic features


Am I the only one that dreads new product updates recently? I used to be super enthusiastic about every new update for everything(cool! more stuff!) but Android, Youtube and Windows 10 updates especially have made me extremely jaded - it feels like every update I either lose some functionality or something I used every day has now moved to a completely different place for no good reason. I seriously consider disabling firmware updates on my phone for that reason( if not for security updates, I think I would have done it already) - I don't want to re-learn my devices every time there is an update. Youtube interface has changed several times in the last year for me, every time moving some links that I use all the time elsewhere - "my videos" for example is now hidden 3 layers deep, when previously it was on the front page. Just why. I don't want your new shiny interface, I want to keep using the stuff that I know.


I resist updates because so often they are driven not by the need to incrementally improve a product in terms of features and design, but by some "high up the chain" decision to turn a perfectly good product info a "platform", or a tool for ensnaring you ever deeper into the wider platform. See: iTunes, Skype.

These updates are particularly maddening, as they usually involve slick and chirpy new design accompanied by the maddening confusion of trying to figure out if the features you liked are dead or just obfuscated, and the feeling of disempowerment as your previously reliable software starts coercing you into all sorts of stuff you never asked for. It's a rather Orwellian feeling.

I'm not looking forward to trying to figure out what agenda this Gmail overhaul is going to try to push on me.


Each year the internet and its services are less and less for hackers and more and more for the general public. This is reflected in how everything is designed.

The average person has totally different needs and usage patterns than power users. If you want to avoid this phenomena, where the services you use slowly degrade and lose features, favor products that specifically target power users. Products for the general population, like Android, Youtube, and Windows, will over time degrade more and more towards some lowest common denominators.


>Products for the general population, like Android, Youtube, and Windows, will over time degrade more and more towards some lowest common denominators.

There's a problem with this theory though, that the utility of some of these programs is in how many users (and thus content, etc) they have

So we can't really "favor products that specifically target power users" as YouTube or Google Maps alternatives -- or, rather, we could, but they'd be weaker in the polish, content, user base department (e.g. Vimeo or some advanced Maps platform)


"The average person has totally different needs and usage patterns than power users."

There is no average person. Different person have different use cases and preferences. No person wants known liked things to be removed or made less good.

Apple devices are meant for Apple power users. I use Windows and Linux (KDE) and I am uncomfortable and constraint on Mac OS.

There is a reason why people spend (or spent) hours to discover and learn even their phone or TV software.


> No person wants known liked things to be removed or made less good.

Have you missed dozes of HN posts and threads about git being overcomplicated and overengineered? A lot of software engineers would love for git to remove a lot of features they don't use because they find it too complex. (For the record, I personally don't agree with them at all, but it is a very popular opinion).

Hell, many routinely rebase and squash commits for the sake of simplicity, throwing out a truthful development history.


>There is no average person. Different person have different use cases and preferences

Even so, most people are more alike than different.


Nice thought, but what would be the alternatives for Android, Gmail, GMaps ?


Alternative for Android? puri.sm phone. DIY rpi phone. Gmail? Fastmail. GMaps? OpenStreetMaps/OsmAnd


Purism phone still doesn't exist. You can't buy it.

It annoys the fuck out of me when someone says that a phone that still doesn't exist and isn't available for purchase is mentioned as an "alternative".

It will become an alternative once it's out. Until such time comes, stop mentioning it when discussing alternatives.


A DIY RPI phone? Is that a serious suggestion? Is anyone actually doing this?

And what’s the point if the baseband is not open?


LineageOS is pretty good, I've been using it since the Cyanogen/Lineage split.


For example, my setup:

Gmail: any email service

Android: root it, use a custom launcher and utility apps.

GMaps: Waze (lets you provide your own speech samples, even)

You don't have to secede from these whole platforms - just extend around them and reach into them.


Pffft

You’re examples:

Google

Google

Google.

Your examples are all fucking google.


Could you explain how "any email service" means Google? Is ProtonMail a Google service?

OP's question was about how power users can keep UX control while services degrade their features to cater to average users. That's what I care about, not ideological purity in my software stack.

People like you are the tech equivalents of the militant vegan.


So? These are still different products, even if they happen to be acquired by the same company.


So why can't we have the option of using 'power user' interfaces? Also I doubt that Youtube has ever been for powerusers..


>So why can't we have the option of using 'power user' interfaces?

Because that means more money and effort spend by the vendor to maintain 2 sets of interfaces (and extra flags and features they could just cut entirely),

and that for the benefit of a tiny sliver of its user base, and the worst and most picky at that.


Power uses can utilize native clients, which they actually do.


You're assuming changes have any utility towards people in general. There are times changes will be made because they benefit the service provider at the expense of the user, because the service provider's interests are not at all the same thing as the user's interests.

I realize it's axiomatic that 'to serve the customer is self-evidently the best thing for the service provider, because capitalism', but by now I think that is obviously marketing spin to cover actions in self-interest… no matter who claims it. Starkly, obviously false.


Customer: a person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.

Gmail users are clearly not customers, they are not paying anything for it. Your cynicism against capitalism is unwarranted in this case.


less and less for hackers and more and more for the general public

I think this is the "excuse" but to me it seems like it's as much about "locking down" as "dumbing down".

History moves in cycles [0] and I'm seeing something like how we transitioned from Home Computers to game consoles in the mid 90s.

Hackers are experts at getting value out of equipment that the manufacturers never expected, and this is what you want with a nascent technology, to help build a market. But as things mature, as a business you want to lock down more and more of this creative potential for yourself and lock in the revenue.

We've seen it with music like this: Vinyl (locked down) -> tapes (hackable) -> CDs (locked down) -> CD Writers -> MP3s (hackable) -> Streaming (locked down) -> ... (tapes? [1])

We've seen it with home computing like this: Pong & Atari -> Commodore, Spectrum, Apple II -> NES, Master System -> Amiga, Atari ST -> SNES, Genesis -> PC -> Playstation -> The Apple Renaissance -> The Ripened Apple

Even on a smaller scale I can see Apple's pivot from "Rip, Mix, Burn" [2] to doing away with personal music altogether over the course of 10 years [3]

Or my PS4 where I'm more and more likely to just download a game now than go out to the shops and buy a disc.

At each stage there is a trade-off. You get a slightly more polished product, but you lose a certain degree of agency over it. I guess it's cyclical because the "locking down" goes a little too far and then people loses interest and then you need to bring in the hackers again to jump start the community once more. I'm sure there's some tie in with the innovators dilemma [4]

I think the only popular industry I can think of that has resisted broad-scale hacking is the movie industry. I can only speculate that the scale, and political importance meant they had to always stay ahead of the curve.

[0] https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43290/the-second-comi...

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/06/cassette-tapes-are-back-ki...

[2] https://www.macworld.com/article/2934175/think-retro-rip-rip...

[3] https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2018/04/06/apple-shutting-i...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Innovator's_Dilemma


fucking normies


I feel like every design update any online service had in the past 5 years could be shortened to one sentence - "See less.".


> Am I the only one that dreads new product updates recently?

I think that's a symptom that the person you're getting your updates from doesn't share your interests.

I like updates to libre software, because the makers share my interest in having the best tool. Updates to Android, not so much.

Or maybe you just want a stabler release channel — Debian stable instead of Rawhide — which, of course, web apps don't have.


  *cough*systemd*cough*

  *cough*gnome3*cough*

  *cough*git*cough*
Excuse me, I think I need a drink...


This is why I use specific apps for critical things in my life and very rarely change them (even though I regularly try alternatives, just to see if grass is greener on the other side!).

For mail, Apple's Mail.app can't be beat: nothing else works as fast with my E-mail archive dating back to 1994. For programming, I still haven't found anything that beats Emacs.

Using apps instead of letting Google read my mail solves at least part of the problem. The other part remains, however — I dread new Apple hardware updates, as recently their "pro" laptops took a huge dive for the worse. I'm stuck on a 2015 model, waiting for them to regain their sanity and produce actual "pro" laptops with decent keyboards and ports that I can actually use.


> Apple's Mail.app can't be beat

Uhm, I think there are some great 3rd party apps out there that are much more powerful. But I concur that an actual email client is the way to go, especially as soon as you have more than one address.


I tried them all (not joking: I buy every seriously-looking E-mail app). They all failed in one way or another, the biggest problem usually being speed.

My #2 is Spark, which I actually use on iOS, but on Mac it's a bit too slow, plus it actually failed to send an E-mail without notifying me or returning the E-mail (I did report this as a bug), which I consider a showstopper. So Mail.app it is.


For gmail I use Apple mail ever since and I don't care at all about the web interface. Hence everything stays as it is because Apple Mail is probably the less updated software in the world.


And yet, it has had several major updates over different OS X releases, with new features that had been touted in the "new OS X release highlights" each time.

Calling it "the less updated software in the world" shows why companies do even more frequent updates, even when they aren't needed. To avoid appearing stale.


A lot of this discrepancy is rooted in the fact that Apple does not actively try to destroy people's workflow. Changes are incremental, not decrememtal, and they do not happen to please some middle manager's itch to "change something".

They have understood something other tech companies are yet to learn: Noone uses your product because you're so modern or progressive or slick. Your product is a tool, not design porn to wank off to. Apple fanboys are overwhelmingly fanboys because Apple produces reliable tools they use to create stuff themselves, not because they dream of glossy icons at night.

We can see what happens when a company decides to degrade a "useable, reliable tool for creation" with stupid design/UX decisions in the Thinkpads, which had a fanboy group that is currently diminishing because anything post-T520 is just a sad excuse to the "reliable tool"


Unfortunately mobile Mail app still has issues with push notifications from Gmail — they come a few minutes late at least.


When I first heard DHH say that they had "versions" of Basecamp, I thought it was silly. Apparently, you can stay on older versions if you want to, and only get things like security updates. But feeling the way you describe I now think that it's an admirable approach.


It's a mixed bag. Blender/Unreal/Unity3D updates are always awesome. Windows has objectively reduced functionality, like it's now nearly impossible to associate my favorite image viewer with the image files - every few weeks it resets to the windows photo viewer, which is garbage.


Unity also releases with bugs, sometimes even major regressions (75%+ performance degradation on all default UIs in initial 2017.1 general release, for instance) -- so I'm not sure I can fully buy in to your argument, but I do understand what you mean.

We usually bite the bullet just because the pros outweigh the cons -- they do indeed ship a lot of great stuff -- but a lot of problems come with that, too. We still jump when we can (so long as the cons != 75% worse performance on all UIs)! ;)


There's plenty of Google developers creating nonsense to justify why they should be promoted.


It's not their fault. When you're hired to work on Gmail, what you are supposed to do? You have to innovate. You have to justify your choices. You have to support it with testing. It's not enough that you invent something and write "I feel that...".

Moreover, Google developers, just like all developers, work on things they don't believe in, or sometimes find useless. It's just work like any other. Criticizing developers for changes in how Gmail works is not really fair.


Eventually you become the thing you hate... In Gmail's case, that will eventually be Wave!


Agree with you in principle, but it looks to me like most of the new 'gmail' features are actually the most successful elements introduced with 'inbox' a couple of years back.

If this is actually the way that google wants to introduce new features ie. with a thorough, long term, and importantly separate process of testing and vetting. I think that is a pretty good way to go about it.


I hate update and always have.

New products are exciting.

Updates are what product managers do when they don't have any idea for a new product and want to justify their existence. It's like "reforms" in politics.

Successful products should be left alone.

Of course they never will, and we suffer. I understand that complaining about it is like complaining about the weather... yet I can't help myself.


So... do you like that Google released a dozen of IM programs so far instead of working on one single product and regularly updating it?


Upvoted! You got me... ;-)

I guess by "new product" I mean something addressing a new problem in a new way. A new function, not a new skin, which all these updates seem to be.


"Successful products"

If you define success by the numbers of users, i guess tweaking the UI makes sense to try to get even more users.


> Am I the only one that dreads new product updates recently?

It comes with age.


It comes with experience.

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