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What happened, Gmail? (uxplanet.org)
241 points by xoxoavi 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 214 comments

The author's experience with GMail seems to be the opposite of mine. The new features for disappearing/unprintable/etc. emails sound like they're just going to cause annoyances while Gmail sorting things into promotions and updates is absolutely fantastic. And I use the "forums" tab too. This is the "good method for telling users what they need to read" that the author wants - that's what Primary is. This is the way to help manage the number of emails you get. This is the efficient way to categorize and sort the emails that you get. It's really not Google's fault that you've got 6gb of emails in the promotion and updates tabs without realizing it - they've been prominently showing you the new emails you've received in those tabs every time for years now.

Here's the feature I keep wishing for in Google: when I attach a file, it should let me rename the file. I want to store it on my compute with a name that's meaningful for me and to send it to someone with a name that's meaningful for them. Eg: I want to have cv_google.pdf for my copy of my CV that I'm sending to Google for a job application but I want to have them receive it as cv_tgb.pdf to know that it's from "tgb". Similarly, when I download a file I want to be able to rename it.

I have been using Google Inbox since the launch and I absolutely LOVE it. It finally solved my email problems.

- I have notifications disabled for all but the important emails. So I respond to emails in time and I don't keep checking my phone anymore.

- Easy to read and discard emails. Especially promotions. I actually do check them - once a day and once a day only and then delete them all.

- Social/Updates ...etc are neatly organised. I check them during a downtime and not often. They don't alert me.

- Organising emails by trips are great. I can find all the relevant emails in one bundle.

- Absolutely love the GTD features - Marking as Done and Snoozing emails. My Inbox is always zero. I use that as pretty much a task manager as well.

Overall, classification of emails make emails actually usable for me. I used to be meticulous with creating email rules and filters in Outlook so I get to the ones I need to and ignore the rest for my sanity. Now it's done automagically and pretty spot on.

My problem with it is that I don't trust it. Outlook does the same thing, I'm not singling Google out for this. Anything that automatically sorts my email for me, I don't trust it to get it right 100% of the time. And the last thing I want to do is a miss a critical email because Google or Microsoft told me it wasn't important to me.

Case in point: I run a website for my town and some user actions are sent to me via SendGrid emails. Not a lot, but maybe one or two per day. I've made the email subject descriptive enough that I rarely need to open them to know what happened. I'm guessing that because it's a mailer from SendGrid and that I rarely open them, my email provider decided that they weren't important emails and stopped sending them to my inbox. When I figured it out a few days later and went to check the other tab, I found a couple messages had been sent of people wanting to purchase ad space that the email provider had also decided wasn't important enough to notify me of.

So now I have to check both tabs religiously (in reality I just turned it off) because I can never trust that I'm not missing something.

The idea with whitelisting is viable. Use a freehunter+superimportant@gmail.com email for these and then in the classic interface set a filter that will land these mails always in your inbox with an additional label.

Been doing this kind of categorizing with filters since I discovered the feature and never looked back.

But then that's no better than just managing my email by hand. The whole point of these smart inboxes is to not have to do that.

In my setup there are no blanket rules. Only super important and especially annoying stuff gets the filter treatment. All the rest is autosorted.

>then in the classic interface set a filter that will land these mails always in your inbox with an additional label

I've been using inbox for about a year or two now and this is my biggest complaint - you can't do a lot of poweruser stuff without going back to gmail! Once you set it up, inbox will do it (ex, setting up a filter in gmail filters in inbox as well), but there's no inbox interface of doing it. Other than that, it's great (it used to be relatively slow as well but either I've gotten used to it or they've sped it up).

First of all if it's something really important you need a better notification mechanism or a separate email address so you can whitelist it. I primarily use it for my personal email. There's nothing ever there that can't wait.

If there's nothing there that can't wait, then there's nothing there that's urgent, so why does the "important" stuff need to bubble to the surface?

I think you can either add a filter for emails like that and say always primary, or just drag them back to primary and it'll (hopefully) learn.

I love the little things in Inbox also:

- Seeing things in the email list associated with the email without having to open them, like expected shipping dates, PDFs. I can click on those things directly in the list without having to open the email and hunt for them

- Being able to pin things. This also functions as a 'selective offline' - when I'm traveling I pin travel and other important emails. Or if I purchased a movie ticket months before I can pin that and easily press a button to retrieve it without having to search for it

One thing that worries me though is that not only is Gmail moving closer to Inbox (a good thing) but Inbox seems to be moving closer to Gmail...

For example on Inbox iOS there was a swipe down to dismiss email list or email which made it really easy to work one-handed. Now they've adopted the Gmail-style 'push into new page' which means you have to reach your thumb all the way up the screen to hit the back button instead of just swiping down on the email.

One feature that I use a lot in Inbox and that I hope will be ported back to Gmail are location-based snooze.

Being on a somewhat flexible schedule on multiple sites, I like to know I'll be reminded of an important email when I get to the relevant site, which can be unpredictable sometimes.

Inbox is great, no doubt. The recent update to the iOS app is super terrible though. It does away with navigation gestures (swiping up/down) and many animations. It also no longer has an iPad layout.

I’m glad the swiping up and down isn’t a thing anymore because I used to lose my place scrolling through long emails and email threads when I’d try to scroll and accidentally swipe out of the email.

The promotion sorting etc is awful. Have people never used email filters? We've had the ability to precisely design filters for decades already. I already have filters for the various mailing lists and forums I read.

I enabled some of the filters and it put an amazon update in with the spam so I missed my delivery. What else could you miss?

When the inbox categorization system was rolled out by Gmail, I thought this was over engineering and the average person wouldn't need this.

Fast forward an year later, I'm surprised how good it works. My inbox is filtered clean of all "secondary" email. You might have some false positives and you have to tell the system that Amazon deliveries go to Updates not Promotions etc. But I wouldn't want to go to the world before the categorizations.

Email was meant to be kept simple, and Google is making this exponentially hard with every single "design" iteration. Get off Gmail - it'll break your email.

The article has very good points, especially when it touches the issue of "hidden" mail, like the promotions tab: there are labels and tabs. There should be only one system, and no, don't hide things from the user at this level. When there's 17k mails in promotions, eating up 6GB alert them, let them know. (This ties back to how WordPress keeps hiding anything technical from users, which is also bad[^1])

Filtering on Gmail is outrageous, especially when you compare it to Sieve. No option to match on custom header, seriously?

Things like unprintable email is a bad joke. Unprintable? What if I connect to Gmail with mutt? It gives the sense of a false security.

I'm aware of all the arguments against email, but so far nobody could come up with a robust, reliable (see SMTP retries), async, world wide, federated solution, that even touches the level of email.

Here's a revolutionary idea: instead of trying to come up with a new email, stop breaking the current one, and keep using it.

[^1]: https://www.rarst.net/wordpress/technical-responsibility/

> Email was meant to be

Email isn't a religion and originalism isn't a meaningful framework for analysis.

Email started as a simple answer to a simple question, and has evolved from there to answer increasing hard questions. The original inventors totally failed to anticipate many important realities about email (most significantly, spam, but also encryption and signing), and email has evolved to deal with that.

You're free to keep using email as you believe it should be used, but you have no right to insist that other people hold back in adopting new ways of doing things that they feel suits them better.

> increasing hard questions

Over the past, what... 30 years? - e-mail remains what it had been in the first place: a protocol for exchanging messages.

You're still sending text. You're still attaching links to your messages if you'd like to send a large file. You're still trying to keep concise in your comm.

What have evolved, exactly? Sans encryption - that's not really a "hard question". Gmail's a great spam-free platform, but it doesn't add anything revolutionary.

Being spam free was revolutionary when Gmail was new. It also revolutionized email by offering enough space that you could actually keep an archive. When most providers offered maybe 10MB, Gmail offered 1GB.

If those don’t sound revolutionary today, it’s only because Gmail revolutionized things so hard that everyone had to jump on board.

You're only seeing it from one perspective: from the perspective of a single non-power user - yes, Gmail made the difference.

But in terms of proper e-mail usage: be it through MS Exchange, University campuses, corporate servers - they made no difference. Everyone already had enough space there anyway, and spam filters <mostly> worked - as they had enough email volume to detect attack. And they still use these systems.

I switched to gmail after losing my college account upon graduation. I'm sure my college is still using this system, but it's not available to me. Neither are the corporate e-mails for jobs I've left. For personal e-mail, almost everyone is a single non-power user.

I worked as a service developer at a large telco in Europe, building - among other things - mail infrastructure. If there was one thing I would not have uttered in that context it would have been '...proper e-mail usage ... through MS Exchange'. We fought tooth and nail to be able to have 'proper email' despite the insistence of corporate to use MS Exchange. In the end we ended up with two machines on each desk, one of them for the sole purpose of communicating with those parts of the company which used MS Exchange.

Things might be less bad nowadays, I don't know. What I know about MS Exchange is enough to keep away from it.

As a university user at the time, it certainly wasn’t my experience that everyone already had enough space, or that spam filtering worked.

> You're only seeing it from one perspective: from the perspective of a single non-power user - yes, Gmail made the difference.

That's the perspective of most people. They are not power users, they don't have the technical ability to deal with complicated email systems, and they just want something free that works well.

Your concept of "proper" email usage doesn't cover most of the population.

> Everyone already had enough space there anyway

Lol my 100mb before the uni (National top 30 research) switched to gmail was definitely plenty of space. And google should have just hired the $7/hr freshman that configured spamassassin instead of wasting all that money on Postini. You’re funny; don’t quit your day job though.

>Over the past, what... 30 years? - e-mail remains what it had been in the first place: a protocol for exchanging messages.

The difference is (a) those messages started to measure in the hundreds or thousands per day, not 5 of them at most like in the eighties, (b) people started using it for all kinds of work collaboration and organization. Not just some academics exchanging ideas.

So what collaborative features unique to Gmail does the organisation you work for currently actively uses?

PS: please do not say "Hangouts", as Hangouts are only loosely integrated with Gmail. These are two separate systems and it does seem they are still unsure if these two should be merged together.

Why do they have to be "unique to Gmail"? The parent's argument was that email is the same thing for 30+ years.

Several mail programs have added integrated calendars and notifications, email snoozing, labels, classification into buckets, context, and so on -- including basics like search.

And of course there are the apps and plugins -- e.g. Asana within Gmail and the like.

Good spam filters, tags instead of folders, and a lot of storage were the features Gmail brought to the table, for free, that made it so popular.

It was also a nicer web interface than the competition -- so nice that it managed to get a lot of people to use it instead of desktop mail clients, which were the norm at the time.

>Filtering on Gmail is outrageous, especially when you compare it to Sieve. No option to match on custom header, seriously?

What percentage of users would even know what a custom header is, much less ever attempt to match one?

Is that what one would call a basic feature lacking from Gmail, for its lack to guarantee a "seriously?"?

+1 to this. You have to realize that over a billion users use gmail. You can't possibly imagine that prioritizing .0000000001% of users that know about something like filtering on custom headers is remotely good decision-making against all the other work being done that helps the majority of users.

I have Gmail at work, and I can't filter on list ID in the header.

Gmail is not just simple users, it's also corporate who's paying for it.

It's not like 99% of corporate users know about headers and header filters either.

but you can. isn’t list name filter the list id? works for me.

> Things like unprintable email is a bad joke. Unprintable? What if I connect to Gmail with mutt? It gives the sense of a false security.

I'm not a GMail user, but can someone explains how this 'security' feature works? If a GMail user creates a 'secure' email and sends it to a non-GMail recipient (so it goes over SMTP/TLS), how is the DRM enforced at the other end. I know MS Outlook has DRM features.. but are they compatible with GMail's ?

It's not "secure" and it's not "enforced", at least not in the strict senses of those words. It's a protection against accidents and carelessness, sensitive information being reply-all'd around in long threads that people aren't reading anymore, the accidental forward to an external party.

Many organisations for whom this is an attractive feature, have long had policies around emailing sensitive information, instead links are emailed, and securing access to the information is handled by the application. If the link is forwarded to the wrong person, all they can see is a login screen.

If you for example send an expiring email, the recipient will receive an email with a link to some online storage where this expiration will be enforced, the email itself won't contain the content.

Gmail is the only one that displays it as an email. All other clients and servers will just see it as a link. That's how they handle the self-destruction.

> Things like unprintable email is a bad joke. Unprintable? What if I connect to Gmail with mutt? It gives the sense of a false security.

It also fundamentally breaks with what the user expects. The user expects their email to be theirs, to do with what they will. I know of no situation in which I would like an email which I specifically cannot print; I have no idea how I would explain it to my Grandfather.

It's not really about ordinary users like you. Google is shifting their strategy for Google Drive more towards enterprise, and this is a useful feature for enterprise users. Have you ever seen one of those email signatures stating "this email is property of XXX corporation, etc. etc." or seen an email sent to a large group of people in a company with strong exhortations not to send it anywhere else? This is a strict improvement over that. Yes, people can actively work around the printing restriction, so it's not 100% secure. But people were already using email for sensitive information, and this decreases the ways the information can get leaked from negligence or active subversion to just subversion.

> Yes, people can actively work around the printing restriction, so it's not 100% secure.

And the people that do work around it in order to violate company policy can be dealt with here in meatspace.

Eg: HR -- "We didn't want you printing that sensitive email.... why did you go out of your way to print it?"

And by doing so, it is still violating what the user expects.

e-MAIL. The stress is on the mail part. When your Grandfather sends a letter via post, he doesn't expect it to be his anymore, does he?

No. He bloody well expects what comes through the door with his name on it to be his to do with as he pleases.

That's the other way around. The grandfather is the one receiving the email that he can't print.

I misunderstood the parent. Sorry, and you are right.

If I want to take my 20GB of email out of Gmail and put it elsewhere for the next 15 years without having to think about it, where do I go?

You might also consider registering a vanity domain to go with your Fastmail (or other) subscription. It’ll allow you to keep your email address even if Fastmail gets evil / bad in the future.

When I bought my domain, it was before Gmail was as ubiquitous as it is today. My email was hosted by a mom and pop ISP. Then I moved to Gmail and later to Fastmail.

Having my own domain is inexpensive, fun, and lets me maintain email portability over time. Namecheap is a good, easy registrar. I moved to them a while back and was impressed at their documentation and help during that domain transfer.

For those reading along at home, I want to strongly second your recommendation for people who really care about their e-mail (and, to some extent, overall identity on the Internet) to buy a custom domain.

Me, my spouse, and my teenaged kid all have our own domains. They're all hosted at Fastmail under a group account and we all can have as many additional addresses tied to our regular accounts as we want.

It does cost a bit more ($15/year/domain at Gandi, my preferred registrar) than just paying Fastmail directly and using one of their domains or sticking with the costs-no-money Gmail offering but it's been worth it in unexpected ways. My kid, for instance, is following in the "family business footsteps" and doing IT work for small clients. Since he had his own domain, he can have prospective clients e-mail him at "consulting@hisdomain.tld" My spouse uses a bazillion aliases for spam and inbound e-mail filtering without tipping off the spammers to the underlying e-mail address by having to use the + notation.

Someday, when my kid strikes out fully on his own, he'll be able to take his domain with him to wherever he wants (even host it on Gmail, if he prefers) without losing any of his addresses or other contacts. My domain has been around for over two decades and has been hosted in easily 20 different places, but my main e-mail address has remained the same.

It's nice and worth the money.

Good advice. I assume I can forward my Gmail because that address has been my address for as long as gmail has existed. This is just like cell numbers. You attach one to everything in your life and transitioning is near impossible. Glad the government forced free number transfer. If only emails worked the same way.

I had a bit of concern about this as well when I moved off Gmail after 12 years. I did not import my mail in to my new service (ProtonMail) and can really only recall one or two times I’ve had to look at the Gmail archive in the past two years.

I think that, similar to cell phone numbers, people get very attached to these contact points and changing them creates anxiety. I happen to have changed both email address and phone number (after five years) recently and I think it makes sense to do once in a while. Otherwise these things become seemingly permenant identifiers and I have enough of those already (:

I recently moved email out of Google and it was surprisingly easy to migrate most services to the new address. The tricky ones are the email-as-username services.

Yes, I’d forward emails until you can get everyone trained over to using your new email address. I’ve done that in the past with mostly inactive emails that I got through professional or academic associations. Presumably Gmail still makes auto-forwarding reasonably easy.

Why not just leave the forwarding on? I still have my first e-mail address from the 90s forwarding all incoming mail to my current one, though it's very rare by now that anything comes.

You could! The only reason not to is if you wanted to close the account for some reason.

I second Fastmail. Great company, great service, super fast (much faster than Gmail), and the import process is trivial. I've been a happy user for years and recommend them to everyone.

Seriously, migration is as easy as pointing your MX records to them and running their import tool. It takes ten minutes (I thought switching off Gmail would take ages, but no, literal ten minutes).

This is phenomenal to hear (import process ease). Can’t wait for them to support multiple labels.

That would be great indeed!

I think the problem here is that this is a Gmail-specific, non-standard feature, meaning there is no specification that allows to implement this in a reliable, cross-client way.

However, Fastmail is working on something similar with JMAP.

I found this earlier HN comment to be really interesting: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16372835

> However, Fastmail is working on something similar with JMAP.

They are! [1]

"It really is coming in JMAP! Come along to IETF in London to have a play, or I'll be pushing out links to updated JMAP Proxy in the next couple of weeks and you can play with it there :)"

Once they've got JMAP nailed down, they'd just need to support Gmail's native API [2] for retrieving rich message data for their import process.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16375101

[2] https://developers.google.com/gmail/api/guides/

Yeah, it was really easy. You basically give them IMAP credentials and that's it. They even do some clever stuff about putting your mail in the folders it should be when importing from Gmail, although now I forget exactly what.

I would use fastmail https://www.fastmail.com/pricing/

I used to use it for awhile. Then I got some AWS credit so I setup Amazon Work Mail.

Lots of recommendations for Fastmail and while there is nothing wrong with them, here are some alternatives in case you want to shop around.

runbox.com (cheapest for >1 user)



www.gandi.net (free w/ domain registration)

Pull it all out with IMAP and then stick it wherever you want after that


> like the promotions tab

Settings >> Inbox type >> Unread first

Suddenly all that junk previously ignored is prominent again. Within a week I had unsubscribed from 95% of unwanted correspondence. Was quite liberating to have a real inbox again.

My understanding is that if you connect with a non-Gmail client or send to a non-Gmail user, the email is just a link to a webpage that enforces the restrictions.


Photograph your screen with your phone.

It’s still just a «please don’t print».

It's not meant to stop malicious users, it's meant to stop careless ones. Malicious users will always find a way.

> Things like unprintable email is a bad joke. Unprintable? What if I connect to Gmail with mutt? It gives the sense of a false security

Funny when you look at Chrome where they don't protect saved passwords to avoid giving users a "false sense of security and encouraging dangerous behavior"[1], which seems to be a valid argument here too

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6166886

What possible protection could you have in a non-master password scenario? If you’ve decided that you don’t want the user to have to enter a password, it’s game over from a perspective of trying to keep the password from being retrieved by an attacker with local execution. Even with a master password, you’re only safe until you enter it, then the attacker has that info as well.

It used to be that you had to use Chrome's dev tools to inspect a password field and change it to a text field to see someone's password. These days not even that is required as the password is plainly visible as a element attribute called data-initial-value.

I agree that things like unprintability probably give a false sense of security. But as far as how email is “supposed” to be I used an email system in the late eighties or so that had security features like that. They meant more then because it was originally a centralized terminal based system. Not everything was Unix.

>Email was meant to be kept simple, [...] instead of trying to come up with a new email, stop breaking the current one, and keep using it.

The "email was meant to be kept simple" can't be stated in isolation. Many suffering recipients of email see the outside world stuffing their inbox as making "email complicated". They can't control how others misuse email.

Paul Graham explained that email has become overwhelming for him and his peers.[1]

What's your recommendation for their pain points with the current email system?

[1] from 7m29s to 11m50s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9ITLdmfdLI&feature=youtu.be...

It seems like he's talking about a very specific use of email. I can't be the only person who actually writes letters to people using email and not expecting anything to end up on their "todo list".

>I can't be the only person who actually writes letters to people using email and not expecting anything to end up on their "todo list".

Many like you definitely exist but your "pure 100% communications only" usage isn't what the Gmail enhancements (that many dislike) were trying to solve.

The blog author, Avi Ashkenazi, wrote:

>From a business perspective I understand that there are more people using Gmail than Calendar, Keep or the new Tasks, but the way Google has attempted to bring people into the fold and have them use add-ons and the rest of their products is just crazy.

There is overlap between the non-communication features that Avi Ashkenazi mentioned and what Paul Graham is talking about. PG recommends creating a new and different protocol. Avi Ashkenazi is saying don't try to shoehorn things like "tasks" into the Gmail UI/UX because it makes it complicated. Google/Alphabet apparently is working from a different philosophical base: many people use Gmail as the central dashboard so let's put everything there.

The issue with this approach is that quite frankly - email by itself should be just like our water supply.

Better water exists, but it's not much better than the usual one. You can use water for many things, but it doesn't matter whose supply you're using.

E-mail must be kept that way: there's nothing to invent in terms of email itself. You can only invent on top of it. It's just like HTTP: HTTP/2 exists, but it doesn't change the idea of HTTP, it only evolves it.

Use CalDAV for tasks sync, keep email for communication?

Again, stop breaking it.

>, keep email for communication? Again, stop breaking it.

It's a matter of a different perspective and "breaking it" is in the eye of the beholder.

For many end users of email (and Google Inc's point-of-view apparently), it's the other users sending me emails that's "breaking it" beyond SMTP's original design intentions.

>Use CalDAV for tasks sync,

E.g. it's the other users who send "tasks" and "appointments" inside a freeform email instead of strictly using CalDAV. Their abuses of email has broken the SMTP system. If overloaded email usage by other humans who don't categorize what they send into strict protocols such as CalDAV is a fact of life, the Google response is to add some complexity to the UX/UI to let users conveniently copy paste it into the sidebars for Tasks and Calendar. Google may be wrong (as the blog post argues) but I think it's worth entertaining the idea that the multipurpose usage of email has already "broken email".

For many people, your suggestion of putting 17k of emails into a single namespace alongside other important emails is not acceptable. They want a UX/UI to make a first crude pass at filtering it into a hierarchy. This does have a negative side effect if "hiding" it from some users who don't notice it's there.

Get off Gmail and get on... what?

You're only offering non constructive criticism. Gmail is light years ahead of any other email client I have tried so far.

It's really not, nor the web client, nor the provider, and the options are plenty, mentioned even in this very thread.

Fastmail, self hosted iredmail, protonmail, etc., are fine providers.

Geary, rainloop, macos mail, k9, are very nice clients.

Have you actually tried any alternative clients, before you made this comment?

Protonmail doesn't even have fulltext search (truly a joke). Fastmail just feels like a worse Gmail client, only redeeming if you particularly care about paying for a service.

I have to agree with them.

Also, pretty weak rhetoric to suggest someone hasn't tried the alternatives. Can I assume you haven't tried Protonmail because I can't understand how someone can say email without search is better than Gmail.

I run my mail server, I tried out rainloop, roundcube, pine, mutt, evolution, geary, thunderbird, claws recently, used to do outlook, outlook express, horde, even squirelmail. By comparison, gmail is not superior, and isn't, by far, capable of everything thunderbird can be with a few addons.

I too would leave GMail (Inbox) if I could find a web client I like as well.

For work, I use Thunderbird because I need Enigmail for PGP and I absolutely hate it.

Inbox does an almost perfect job of catching spam and sorting my mail. It has saved me many hours over the years.

Do you honestly believe that self-hosting email is a valid solution for normal people?

Not for them to be run personally, but say, a friend can set up an raspberry pi like box, with yunohost or iredmail even at their home, turn unattended upgrades on centos, that's done for ~7 years.

Gmail is not just an email client though, it's also the email provider.

If you want to get off of Gmail the client, you can use an IMAP client like Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc. There are quirks with how the IMAP protocol's concepts get mapped to Gmail's concepts though.

If you want to get off of Gmail the provider, that's a different story. There are many free and paid providers, but there's still a large effort to switch since you have to ask people to update your email address and probably keep the old one around (and forwarding to the new one) for a long time. If you have your own domain that's backended by Gmail, this is a lot easier.

Regarding getting off of Gmail:

I switched away from Gmail at the start of 2018. So far everything has gone smoothly. My new email provider (Fastmail) has a tool to import all emails from another provider, which ran overnight. I forward all mail from my Gmail address to my new address. One feature of Gmail which makes it particularly easy to switch away from is that it's free, so I can keep my Gmail account open indefinitely to forward mail.

Asking people to update my address hasn't been a huge problem. Even when they email me at the old one, I still get their messages.

One more stupid design:

Deleting an email in a thread:

Find a small button. Click. Find "delete". It is in the middle of the list. This is just simply stupid. Click.

BTW you should delete your email. IIRC after 6 month (?) the government doesn't need a warrant to access it.

> the government

Which country?

Among "needed innovations", the post lists: "A good method for telling users what’s important to read and what can wait for later."

To me, it's downright scary that someone would want Google telling them what is important in their own mailbox. Personal responsibility bad, Hand-holding good, apparently.

>To me, it's downright scary that someone would want Google telling them what is important in their own mailbox.

You probably have a much lower volume of email than the suffering email users who want AI algorithms to help them manage their inbox.

The analogy would be something like "Pagerank". You can't lecture a web surfer that he shouldn't leave the importance of web pages to an algorithm like Pagerank. Instead, he should read the 1 billion pages himself to determine which is most important to his search query.

There are not 1 billion emails in an inbox but any number of messages greater than a few hundred is the equivalent in information unmanageability.

It's an inescapable math problem. If you only have ~16 waking hours a day, you may only be able to realistically dedicate ~4 hours to reading and responding to emails. Your allocation of that finite time is a zero-sum game. The math problem: the outside world can stuff more unimportant emails in your inbox than you have the human capability to read and curate. Therefore you must have a robot "reader" assist you.

I understand the discussion, but then that's a very specific use case, which gmail is probably not trying to cover (and it might be a good idea that it stays like that). To be fair, I don't think that's even a good use for email. If you need help with selection from a wide pool of options, then you probably need a more specific tool.

>, which gmail is probably not trying to cover

The original programmer for Gmail back in 2001 was Paul Buchheit. The busy people (like his boss Larry Page) with overflowing email inboxes were the first users giving him feedback on how to make it work better for their productivity.

Auto filtering and smart threading are examples of "artificial intelligence" (so to speak) applied to email. Those features came from internally dogfooding Gmail before public release April 1 2004. Later, they added a feature called "Priority inbox" based on machine learning.[1]

What makes you believe Gmail isn't meant to help filter overflowing emails on behalf of the user?

[1] http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.co...

excerpt: "Many Gmail users receive tens or hundreds of mails per day. The Priority Inbox attempts to alleviate such information overload by learning a per-user statistical model of importance, and ranking mail by how likely the user is to act on that mail."

Just as scary as having Google filter out mail that is totally not important, i.e. spam?

In Gmail you can (un)label email as being important, which will then train an algorithm just like a spam filter. Besides that, it will learn to recognise email you reply to often as being important.

I very much like this feature; I set up the Gmail app on iOS to only send me push notifications for important mail. For me that strikes a good balance between no distractions and not missing out on important email.

Yes, spam filtering is scary. The first thing I've done with every email account I've used is turn any black-box spam filtering down to the minimum (gmail was the first that wouldn't let me turn it off entirely, and it took a long time before I trusted gmail for anything important for just that reason).

Filtering into "email that I want a push notification for" versus "email that I'll read in a few hours when I check" makes sense. What I don't get is people who are using this as a way to divide into emails they'll read and emails they won't read. Given that genuine spam is so rare these days, any email that gets as far as you gmail "unimportant" inbox is an email that you in some sense requested; if your inbox is full of mailing lists and newsletters that you don't read, wouldn't unsubscribing be a better route than filtering them out?

Spam can be removed by objective filters, that simply classify the email against known patterns/rules. Who you are or what you like is irrelevant to them.

This is not that: it's you, giving a giant personal information sponge, a bigger tap.

> Spam can be removed by objective filters,

Those "objective filters" prevent me from sending email from home (I have to relay through a non-residential IP).

I receive about a dozen spam email per day (with occasional surges and lapses). My server accepts everything, and a simple local filter from my mail user agent (Evolution or Thunderbird, mainly) let few through, and false positives are very rare.

I'm not sure why the giant providers need to work any differently.

A dozen spam messages per day? Lucky you. I did a tally on yesterday's harvest on my server and found the following:

- 57 rejected messages designated as spam by SpamAssassin

- 137 greylisted messages, most of which will end up being spam as those addresses which I communicate with regularly will be in the whitelist.

- 181 connection attempts blocked at the gate due to protocol violations (most of them due to fake HELO, usually trying to connect using my own server's FQDN)

- 144 delivery attempts blocked at RCPT due to the use of blacklisted recipient addresses. This is why using recipient-specific sender addresses makes sense when communicating with commercial, organisational or governmental institutions: it makes it possible both to track down who leaked or sold addresses to spammers as well as to block those addresses entirely.

This domain has been handling mail for close to 23 years now, the server is used daily by about 8 people, it also forwards mail for a few others.

I generally don't see more than one or two spam messages per week in my actual INBOX.

Ah, 8 people. If we remove the protocol violations, we get (57 + 137 + 144) / 8 = 42 spam message per person per day. Between 3 and 4 times my amount. I may be lucky, but frankly that doesn't sound extraordinary.

I also get no more than 1-2 spam message per week in my inbox.

What new giant personal information are you giving, really? If you use Gmail, you already trust them with your emails and the interactions you have with these mails.

This features makes the experience better for users without having to give any additional information.

Yes, if you're using Gmail, you've already lost, but this IMHO inappropriately affects your workflow by steering your attention to, or away from, certain e-mails. To me, it's potentially no different from what Facebook was caught doing, and in fact, if done carefully, it is an authoritarian's wet dream.

Yes, you can (supposedly) train the "importance" filter, but how many people will do that?

Literally everyone? It's trained based on the emails you respond to.

How many things are we supposed to do as people? Everybody touts options spanning every domain going from email to mobile devices and it's like, oh it's just a bit of configuration/tweaking for a few hours and then you're good to go.

So yeah, hand holding is good, because to be honest, I don't get up on a Saturday morning and say "oh boy I can't wait to setup my email filters, right after I tweak my Arch Linux install and add a few more lines to my .vimrc!"

This sense of being looked down upon for relinquishing control over things that to be honest, I don't care that much about is just annoying after a time.

I kind of get what you are saying - there are lot of things we should not be caring about and let automation take care of. But in my opinion, what is and is not important to someone is something deeply personal, and I find it scary that someone would want to relinquish control particularly over that.

I see it as "can someone tie my shoelaces for me please?" level of non-responsibility. And it scares me.

The important question here is — why do we still put up with the archaic busywork of tying shoelaces?

I loved driving stick shift, but I’m not sorry to see it go either.

Surely that's a cynical interpretation of "important"? We've seen examples in this thread where important can mean "not spam" or "not random newsletter", yet you hold on to the one meaning where users are asking for their shoelaces to be tied for them because they are so irresponsible.

To provide another perspective: I don't think I've ever received an email where an incorrect categorization is more than a mild inconvenience. From my perspective, it's relinquishing control over a triviality. Categorizing things that in the grand scheme are all unimportant anyway.

"important mail" is the reason I stick with gmail.

It allows me to have notifications only for stuff I probably care about. It helps cut down on the crap. At the same time, no e-mail is urgent. If things were urgent, contact me some other way. I check my non-important email roughly daily but no guarantees.

My point being that important e-mail doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be close enough that I probably care about the notifications, and don't miss too many notifications.

An important feature of Gmail from the get go was how well it separated Spam from relevant email. I don't think you'll find too many users who prefer to do that manually.

It's a matter of degree of course, but scary seems too strong a word.

Yes, up to the point of marking legitimate e-mail from personal domains as spam, even though such domains were set up correctly, including stuff like DKIM or SPF.

Also, the wording was "... and what can wait for later", which doesn't sound like spam was meant - I don't think people keep their spam messages and read through them later, e.g. over the weekend. :)

Maybe I'm an exception, but I do scan through my spam from time to time :) Partly to see if I've missed something, but also because it can be amusing.

I agree that spam detection is not an exact science, and that it is in fact quite subjective. It's also quite valuable!

Yes, I do that too, for certain class of spam that did not score high enough in my spam filter solution to warrant automatic removal. :) But that's about 5% of total spam I get.

Right, because hiding without letting people know they have something is spam is good. /s.

It's not. This is how and why people keep missing actually important email, because friend X changed their email address for reasons, but they are not in the contact list, so it must be spam/phishing.

As I mentioned elsewhere: spam can be filtered objectively, but importance would have to be identified subjectively.

Can it really though? If my ISP, who I've exchanged emails with before or sends me my bills starts to send me promotional material about some TV bundle, is that spam?

Conversely, if someone I've never exchanged emails with before, but who got my details through a third party wants to discuss a business opportunity, is that spam?

If you define spam narrowly as "unsolicited", then sure, it's somewhat objective (although even then, you have to work what was solicited in ways other than an initial email). But there's quite a bit of subjectivity involved in the more useful and generally accepted definition.

> "spam can be filtered objectively"

"Objective filters" (by which I assume you mean "rule based") can easily be worked around by the people trying to get through the filter. All you gotta do is figure out the rule and bam, you are back in again.

Sure it might work for your tiny little family domain name with your tiny 10 mailbox email server. No spammer gives a crap about you. But when you are on the scale of gmail, you will have a lot of people whose entire purpose in life is getting through your spam filters. "Objective filters" turn into a continual game of whack-a-mole. Put in a rule, wait half a day until somebody works around that rule, put in another rule.... repeat ad nauseam.

"Objective Filters" don't scale at all. They might filter out the riff-raff script kiddies but anybody whose livelihood is based on getting past your "objective filters" will easily overcome them.

How does this magical objective spam filter work?

How can that same technique not be used for marking important emails?

Because of the word "objective". Different things are important for different people.

This erosion of responsibility over time is some sort of back force from a wave of generational disillusionment.

We don't want to go back to doing email like our parents did (except we do) so its time to use the cool new shit. Ah, Big Vendor with cool new shit, is cool with the kids. In slips the mickey, and the rest is devolutionary disco.

We really do need to return to using email properly. All these social networks were already there; we just forgot how to build them ourselves, and a return to using email for ones contacts, strictly, can be an immensely rewarding experience, or at least a lot of anecdotal evidence seems to support this theory.

Simply learning how to send and use email, the bcc:, the cc:, the x-headers:, etc. If we'd put a bit of effort into this, we'd have a fallback replacement for the behemoth maw, threatening to swallow us all in its dark abyss.

I like this because most social media functionality save for some exceptions (Snapchat, Telegram, etc) can be implemented over email

Back in the days (probably 2014), Gmail had a method to show Important emails which kinda worked. But I think my intention in this recommendation was about reducing the notifications people get for every email and helping you understand what urgent (since the AI reads your emails anyway). But I understand it could escalate wrongly very quickly

This sort of thing is how we ended up with facebook’s ability to mass manipulate people.

It will be interesting to see if/when Google inevitably marks a phishing email as "important" and the user gets phished.

Extra First Class World problems: Inbox is not optimized for iPhone X. Everytime I read this I cringe.

How about the thought that your phone broke common UI behaviour and not your software which needs to adapt to a new screen culture.

I'm sure very soon Inbox will support iPhone X. But there are many other problems in Inbox which I see more important like Unspam emails without Gmail.

> How about the thought that your phone broke common UI behaviour

Ok, sure…

> and not your software which needs to adapt to a new screen culture.

Why not? UI paradigms change all the time, and software usually keeps up if it wants to stay relevant. How is this different?

> Inbox is not optimized for iPhone X.

This has led me to think Inbox is on its way out. Lack of updates is the classic Google move prior to killing a product.

> This has led me to think Inbox is on its way out.

Any time an app takes forever to update to a new apple screen resolution is a good indicator the app is on its way out.

I mean, think about it.... if you were all-in on your app, wouldn't the highest priority fixes on your backlog be "get the damn thing to run in the native resolution of your target device"?

True that. But I hope that's not your only take away from the article :) Still they updated everything else - so I guess they didn't cringe at that. Apple breaking UI standards, yap, they always do, gotta write on that too.

No that's not the my only take from the article ;)

btw. I've read once in a German Blog that using on iPhone the app Outlook as a frontend for Inbox works really well. Never tried it myself but it seems this Frankenstein setup works better than expected.

Article is a little bit biased as a one who worked on messaging apps claiming that messaging (eg Slack) solve communication is just wrong. Outlook screenshot is very simple and clean but... it mentioned as an example of nightmare.. Looks like author got in the his own bubble just like google.

> An efficient way to categorize, filter and search content.

No, no one likes to categorize emails, this is work for someone else or for power users that's not a case for GMail.

> A tool to help users fix mistakes they’ve made, such as sending someone the wrong email, or spelling something incorrectly.

For a long time Telegram didn't want to introduce this feature since if you sent something this should be in other's inbox. If someone can modify your inbox than you won't be able to trust that some random email won't disappear.

> Allowing users to handle their business better through Gmail (e.g. sign documents, approve things, review things).

Uh, guy just want to put everything to GMail while claiming that this is not an "innovation".

> Allowing users to design their emails in a better way.

Do you want to receive emails from your lawyer in comic sans? There is a reason why FB, Slack, Telegram, etc don't allow you to style your text easily.

> Letting users know if someone read their presentation and what parts interested them (DocSend).

Breaking fundamental flow of an email. No one will see if you read and no one will be upset. There are a reason why slack dosen't have read status.

GMail probably have a lot of problems now, but (sorry) this all just unprofessional judgment.

I think these suggestions make some sense since they are still problems that exist. The way you'd imagine solving them could be different if you were on that team, with the data and would iterate to find the solution. The bullet points under the innovation section are not suggestions for solutions, on the contrary, they are problems that users still have. For each of these problems, there are services that are trying to solve that problem. Take scheduling a meeting as an example. Google's solution was to bring the calendar into Gmail and increase complexity. X.AI's solution is to make a bot that coordinates. Some other companies will have different solutions. The point is, what is the best solution for a user who is in the frame of mind of emailing. It is very easy to stuff things from different places one on top of another and it's called sustained innovation (if I'm not mistaken). But what ideally should happen is finding new ways to adapt these extra services, including these problems in a way that is matched with the main use case. Otherwise, it gets complex.

I created an account to comment on the good experience I was having with the update.

I did a side-by-side comparison of the old UI and the new UI and I've changed my stance. The old one is a better "email" UI, but google is trying to mature the email experience.

A big problem here is that email showing it's age. Google is eager to hide less common tools behind menus. They want to delete all of the old "manual" buttons/tools so their smart filters can take over. It wont work. The truth is everyone likes email because it's fairly consistent, but we're forever trapped in 90's tech.

Instant messengers have transformed the way that we communicate, but email hasn't caught up. Maybe... it shouldn't.

> email experience

Email, at this point, is infrastructure. There is no need for an "experience" with it.

I don’t seem why people prefer instant messengers, email does everything they can do.

What got me is they moved the archive button. I have been trained to click on the email, move my mouse up a few pixels, and click archive. Now when I do that, my cursor resides on the spam or delete button. Oops! I don't think the Google of yesteryear would have made that mistake -- the google that designed Chrome closing tabs to stay the same size so you could close multiple tabs quickly.

Something I really hate about Gmail is the way it places attachments at the bottom of the page. So if I open a long thread in which the latest email had an attachment, I've got to scroll down to the bottom to locate it - it's so unintuitive that I often find myself scanning the page looking for the attachment.

I feel with each Gmail "improvement" Gmail gets slower. I miss the days when Google’s priority was speed and not pretty. I feel less productive when I'm always eating for pretty Gmail to load and respond to actions in the ui.

It flickers. It animates. It's annoying. Thank goodness they did not break keyboard shortcuts.

It's more intrusive as a gui than the old one.

As long as google keeps the imap and pop3 gateways alive, we have a choice.

Use them, utilize other webmails, even run it localhost, like rainloop; desktop clients, like geary, evolution, claws, thunderbird; command line, like mutt.

Don't let the gmail interface drive the way you want to deal with email.

Their imap gateway is nonstandard to say the least. The labels vs folders thing is already a mess, but it also speaks a protocol that is just different enough from regular imap that most clients (e.g. thunderbird) have a different implementation with quirks for google-imap.

Using those clients is sub-standard with google's imap implementation, and switching between them is more painful due to how each one handles googles "labels not folders" quirk

This is true, I'm well aware of this, but at least there's still a choice.

Unfortunately nothing is truly stopping Google to pull a Slack move and close the gateways... unless the amount of IMAP/SMTP users are significantly higher, than we know, or that those users are tech influencers Google don't dare to loose.

I would wager that G Suite users will keep IMAP/SMTP alive via Outlook and other enterprise deployments.

It's better than nothing, though. It is almost bearable if you ignore the "All Mail" folder.

The problem is that it might as well disappear at any time. It is already disabled by default for new accounts, and you need to change 2 different settings to enable it.

It always was, nearly since the beginning. I remember needing to turn it on around 2007.

Is it just me or does the new Gmail UI feel sluggish/unresponsive? Scrolling the mail list is lagging a bit, the left side menu takes time to initiate the appear animation and the animation itself is too fast. When hovering the mouse over mail list, the interaction icons do the lagging effect, which is really not nice for eyes.

However the right side menu for Tasks, Calendar and etc. is nice, I like having them in one place instead of keeping multiple diff tabs open.

I'm not sure if this lag effect is intentional or a performance problem, maybe React instead of Angular could help :D

Inbox looks really nice and is (to me) very simple and I kinda wished Google would have uses Inbox as a template because Inbox has also two things which makes my life really hard: 1 I can't sent emails to groups in my contacts and 2 in the Sent folder it doesn't say to whom I've sent the email but that I sent them, which I already know.

Both issues are also true for the Gmail application on Android.

It's also slower. The scrolling is choppy and I shouldn't need a top of the line computer to scroll smoothly through some emails.

I just went through my Inbox to figure out why I still use email.

For personal stuff, I think WhatsApp, Messenger, iMessages are clear winners. 90% of my emails seem to be marketing I'll never read or notifications I ignore. I try my best to unsubscribe, but email really needs maintenance to work nicely.

For work almost everything is Slack. Sales team and a few others still seem to use email for some reason. Email is vital for communication with clients and it's pretty good for a big announcement where you can then choose to "reply all" or "reply", not sure Slack solves that nicely with threads. Also email seems to be used for anything considered too important for Slack, but I can't see any good reason why it should be that way.

When you boil it all down, it looks like a lot of use of email is for legacy reasons, i.e. some people still insist on using it. There is legitimate usefulness over other options when it comes to communicating between companies though. Even if Slack figured out a way to fix that, they'd probably require the reciever to be paying for Slack.

I guess the ability to send a stranger a message is email's weakness and it's strength. Nothing out there has solved that yet.

an email address and a phone number are still the only things you can safely assume everyone has. for many of my older relatives and non-tech acquaintances, the only options are email, sms, or phone calls.

i dislike phone calls in general for all but the most time-sensitive and/or intimate conversations. i get a bit anxious on the phone and i don't like being essentially blocked for the duration of the call.

i dislike sms because i don't have an iphone, so i cannot respond using a full sized keyboard without using workarounds like pushbullet, which i don't feel like setting up for the small number of people who insist on using sms.

i don't love communicating via email but i would contest the claim that it is a legacy technology on the basis that it does not have a clear successor.

there is no modern service that matches the ubiquity of email; the penetration is unequaled even by the likes of facebook. i would also point out that (personal) email addresses provide highly stable means of communicating with infrequent contacts. while people's phone numbers change over time, people seem to accumulate personal email addresses and at least forward the old ones to their main account. if i got someone's personal email address five or even ten years ago, i have a pretty good chance of reaching them today. on the other hand, i assume that phone numbers that i haven't used for a couple years are dead links. with messaging apps, you don't always have a clear indication of whether the person currently has the app installed with notifications enabled.

Been thinking of switching back from Inbox to Gmail for one single annoying and IMO stupid design decision: if there are multiple recepients for the email the main reply button will by default perform a reply all. Had me look like a dork a few times, replying to everyone that I can't make it to a party or something.

Anyone else been bitten by this?

I think the party host who is sending his invitations without using bcc is to blame here.

I use gmail mainly for business related mails and the default reply-all makes a lot sense - almost all the time other recipients ( managers, clients etc) are there to be kept in loop. If you forgot and just reply to it, then you have send the same mail again - or worse you never notice it.

The party host is not using bcc because he/she wants everyone to be aware of who has been invited to the party.

I guess it boils down to your default usage of email; I've never had an email client before Inbox that does 'reply all' by default.

Yes, I've been bitten by this and there is no way to switch it off in settings.

Where is this "unprintable e-mail" and "self-disappearing e-mail" feature? I don't see the options on my Gmail. I would love to write a Chrome plugin to destroy these features.

Once information enters my premises, I do whatever the hell I want with it as long as I'm not sharing it with others or violating any NDAs. In particular, you do not get to define the media and methods I use to access, consume, and save information. You just get to send me a binary number containing information, and it's your choice whether you want to do that or not. That's it.

If you don't agree to me having personal freedom, don't send me information and don't contact me.

Between the Gmail and Reddit redesigns Reddit's redesign was so much worse.

Those that don’t use inbox, why? I’m sure there are features of gmail that are missing from inbox but what are they? Why do Google keep these two “forks” of the same product?

I find the lack of visual density and regularity in Inbox very annoying. Gmail (compact) fits 3/4x times more emails on the same screen, with a single text line of identical size for each. It's very quick and easy to scan through.

Inbox looks like a jumbled mess to me, with randomly sized images and pre-rendered images, and it makes me scroll a lot more.

Annoyingly, the new UI is slightly less dense than before, but it's still much better than Inbox.

I think the key idea behind inbox is that you don't have more than say 5 or 10 emails in your "to do" view. I never had to scroll. I only look at the inbox view (i.e. things I need to deal with) - and that is always fewer than one screen. If I need something from the "already dealt with" screen I do a search, never a visual scan. This might be due to the volume of emails received obviously, but that's why I was wondering. It might also depend on the usage pattern, e.g. I reply to probably fewer than 1 in 100 emails for example.

If I had more emails, or more emails I actually had to address by replies, it might be different. I never noticed the "images" in inbox though. Are those for things like purchases or travels that it renders differently? My emails just look like subject lines, with about the same density in inbox as in classic gmail (Quick check: An inbox email on desktop is a 32px div with 6px padding, while a gmail email is a 39px table row - so quick estimate is 5px more per email for inbox)

Yes, for some reason Inbox expands some attachments inline for me, and pre-renders some links (with a picture from the page a short summary). It doesn't seem to do it systematically, and it could be something that can be turned off in options (it didn't seem to be when I first checked). It seems to pick the most useless items for expansion (recurring bills! 150px vertically for this month's G drive bill!).

A quick an dirty screenshot-on-my-current-machine shows inbox compact emails at 60px vertical, vs 50 for the new gmail. All of the difference seems to be whitespace, the fonts are more or less identical. There's extra waste for "Today" and "This month", and with a couple of expanded pictures, I can't even fit 10 emails vertically on my screen (MB 12"). Gmail shows 20 emails in the same space just fine.

It's quite possible that if you have just the right volume of email, the Inbox format is perfect. It's also possible that most people don't mind scrolling. Me though, I like to see as much as I possibly can at a glance.

I dont need anything Inbox provides. I just want a list of all my emails, untouched.

I think we are the same ;) and I would apply that to any other service that has a feed (Insta, Facebook etc). But for the people who have a red dot with the number 999999 on their iPhone, there must be something Google should do.

True, I’m up to 20k in my gmail red dot. It’s a big reason I’m desensitized to it now, and I currently have lots of red bubbles on my home screen that I’m too lazy to deal with (and usually social apps that I would t otherwise consider deleting). Considering how many apps abuse the red dot though, I consider being desensitized a plus. It also drives anyone who looks at my phone crazy.

Don't like the design one bit, too much wasted space, and overall huge elements. And I find the additional features unnecessary.

I just want an as simple as possible list of emails. Basically the compact view in current gmail, sorted by unread - not by some automatic folders or anything similar.

If I have to do something at a specific time I'll create a calendar entry. If it's a newsletter that I don't care about I'll unsubscribe. Email for me should be a list of messages, nothing more, nothing less.

Same goes for other goole services, such as google play music. Everything is super large and with a ton of padding, and you can't see more than a few songs in a list because the elements are so huge.

When I used Gmail, I didn't use inbox because I sorted my email in folders, which were missing from inbox at the time. But now I use Thunderbird to manage all my mail and I'm more than happy with it.

I hated that it seemed to move my emails. I just want to see them come and then I sort them how I want.

Because Inbox doesn't allow you to separate reminders from your email, which means I have to scroll two pages to see a single email, and then carefully hunt for it among 50 reminders.

This is exactly what I'm wondering (for example) - what is a reminder?

Edit: nvm I found a video explaining it. Probably never missed it bevause I use a separate calebdar and never use Google for that.

I switched back from Inbox for the sole reason that it was appallingly slow on Firefox.

My gripe is when I star something in gmail it shows up 3 times in my outlook todo list. I suppose it’s partly microsoft’s fault.

Hmm maybe there is a fix: https://www.msoutlook.info/question/copies-in-important-fold...

I don't understand replacing the onmouseover shortcut to all mail from/to a given address with shortcuts to other google apps actions (add to contacts, compose, schedule event, hangouts, etc.) I'm mostly a keyboard shortcut person but that's a mouse action I use all the time.

While we are griping, the mobile website is complete crap on iOS, constantly mistaking the initial touch to start a swipe motion. So you accidentally open emails while trying to scroll through them. I’ve never seen any other website do this, so I’m assuming someone got too clever.

Youtube (another Google product!) does this and it is infuriating! The youtube iOS app is utter garbage, but the site itself is nearly unusable because of the initial-touch mistake.

I moved from gmail to fastmail and am much happier.

I like the new design.

My only issue is that the sidebar expands when I mouse over it. Does anyone know if this can be fixed so just the icons show?

What about sorting e-mails? By size, for example?

I'm sure the four people who want to wort their emails by size are severely disappointed.

It's definitely not something you do everyday, but once your mailbox get full you wish the option was there.

I think that's a very uncommon use case and I can't think of a time I've ever wanted to do that. I've sorted by "has-attachment" but why would you need to sort by size?

Well it becomes important when your .PST file is about to hit the 2GB limit and you need to find large attachments to delete.


(NB: I’m being facetious, and agree with you - this, 15ish years ago, is really the last time I remember needing to sort by size)

When Gmail first rolled out, this was one of the most often asked questions. The usual answer was that the question is wrong, because Gmail is different and one doesn't need sorting. Fast forward 14 years and users still have to use workarounds like size:20m (that appeared in 2012 IIRC). It doesn't show message size either as if it didn't matter at all.

I'm sure the Gmail team has done great research on this, and this might have worked for the majority of the users, but just not for some power users such as Hacker News readers. And I think, that's because we might have one false belief, that is User Experience/User Interface is one big, beautiful, monolithic top of the mountain everyone wants to reach. It is not: Power users and the normies might have different needs. A normie like your mom and mine don't know how to turn off annoying notification emails from Facebook, so they might need a tool to help them hide spammy emails. They need something easy to hit, hard to miss, because they use their fingers to point. But you and I use keyboard shortcut and know exactly not to give our serious email addresses away, we don't need that.

An UX that is great for your mom and mine might be bad for you and I.

I noticed that on one of my project that got on Hacker News and Hackaday, then got viral on reddit and media and such a week or so later. It has both a github and a couple of videos linked on the site. What I noticed from my rudimentary Cloudflare log and Youtube analytics was that the HN crowd read and looked at the github, but most didn't watch the video. The normies crowd watched the video, but most didn't read. To me, it was kinda funny.

I think that's part of the crisis that GNOME 3 suffered lately. I seriously tried GNOME 3 for a while and their macOS approach - simplify, trying to make good choices by default - genuinely sucks for me. I want to see my options, don't hide them away from me. I want to be able to make choices. The problem that the GNOME 3 team doesn't realize is that their users aren't made up of majority normies. They are the ones who are savvy enough to install a Linux distro on their desktop. They are the ones that will go great lengths to customize something to make it work exactly the way they wanted. And GNOME 3 fails to deliver that [1].

At first when I worked on my project, I wanted to create something very simple that "just works." As time went by, it turned out to me many of my users, the ones that stick and support my project aren't the ones that just install and forget. They read the docs, wiki and the source code to tease out what I was trying to do. So I realized having a great, updated wiki is a very valuable asset. It takes great pain to do it, but it is worth it.

The problem with project that are extremely popular like Gmail is that you tend to carter for the mass. But are they loyal? Are they the ones that actually use and love your product? Are they the ones that influence other people's choices? I think those are the questions worth asking and considering when designing products.

1: https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/8etezq/_/

> so they might need a tool to help them hide spammy emails.

They need a tool to make the source of the spam stop spamming them, not a tool to hide this. Sweeping the dirt under that carpet is not an actual solution or fix.

Also what genius decided that left menu will slide on mouse hover when there is hamburger icon for that.

when gmail started filtering my emails I just deleted all the filters/tabs/whatever. Though it took me bit to figure it out.

I don't understand people complaining on free services. I believe it's something you can do, but not as seriously as this article makes it sound. Gmail is a toy.

the new self erasing and unprintable emails make me really hope we can opt out of the new gmail.

the missing bloody contacts is driving me nuts, otherwise its ok i guess.

does the new design allow me to sort my emails in date order received?

Material Design is one of the worst things that ever happened to the design of websites, not only Google's but everyone's, since now so many are trying to copy it. I have no idea why anyone would want to see it anywhere.

I actually quite liked the initial implementation that Google published in their original set of guidelines. The issue, I think, was that nobody, including Google, implemented it that way so we ended up with a bunch of substandard interpretations of how "material design" was supposed to look like instead of the real thing.

Yeah, it hurts my eyes every time I see it; can't even force myself to use Android anymore. It's like taking various design styles, putting them into a blender, adding bleacher, and serving it with white gloves in dust-free environment. Totally sterile, without a soul. I guess that's the way a large algorithmic company operates, leaking to everything they do, including domains they have no clue about, like aesthetics.

I came here to say the same thing. I read this and my eyes rolled so far they almost did an entire rotation:

> Google are the creators of one of the best design systems every created in tech, Material Design.

My personal beef with it is the huge padding everywhere. So much wasted space.

I think it's more about having guidelines for how things should behave and having a visual framework. It is true that many try to copy it and interpret it wrongly, which creates hideous sites. However, I think Google's purpose here was to create an extension of typography rules, grids and layouts rather than having everyone look the same. Some companies managed to use material design quite successfully and still reflect their brands (and not look 'the same').

Yes I can’t tolerate Material Design anymore, especially on iOS it is so frustrating. Too bad there’s no good alternatives to Google Maps because it’s the only Material app on my iPhone.

Beside this, the loading indicator in material design gives me ... anxiety. its animation is so uneven ... (like the windows 10 indicator which is even worse. i can’t believe this kind of irregular animations have been so widely accepted)

Couldn't agree with you more. We should have a drink :)

i always thought that it looked a bit childish, was not innovative, was not fully developed as a vision and was not particularly well-explained. it was like, from its very announcement, they were trying to imitate Apple, but not doing it very well.

and i can't help but wonder if these are the reasons why the new GMail UI doesn't work well for this article's reviewer: the GMail app team doesn't really have a clear design inspiration to work from either.

i never liked "Material Design" as a name either. they might as well have called it "stuff design" because, you know, it's designed to look like "stuff."

Better than Inbox, anyway.

Better than Reddit's redesign

@google, check this: https://dribbble.com/shots/4020485-Inbox-Client/attachments/.... It's better than yours.

Never a fan of material design.. seriously, Google is NOT good at design. Period. I hoped, in this Gmail iteration, Google would finally take the plunge and kill the flat icons and minimalist design and once for all. It's quite the opposite unfortunately. It got flatter and uglier. All so plain and washed out, one doesn't know what he should look at first.

I noticed InVision in the e-mail. That's the worst design of an app I had to use so far. Icons everywhere without explanation (you have to hover), a lot of stuff has extremely annoying gray (like text in #ddd, so you see it on screen that there's something there, but can't read it)

Why designers don't use background to highlight active items, while keeping text/icons high contrast, instead of making everything unreadable, and using black color to barely highlight what's focussed, is beyond me.

It's all extremely gimicky, especially all those useless animations of huge areas of the page.

I never understood what it's for, aside from commenting on screens - and it does shitty job at that too - you start typing a comment but you can't move the fucking comment box around so that it doesn't cover the part you're commenting - so you close the comment box, to see and reopen and your unfinished comment is gone. Instead of focussing on important stuff like this, they create shitty gimmicks.

It's almost satirical how it markets itself compared to how bad it is.

And whatever this is it certainly seems inspired by InVision.

That design is...awful. Tons of wasted space, prominent screen real estate given to interactions the user will never engage and less than 50% of the screen is given to the content I am there to see?

> one doesn't know what he should look at first.

Pot, meet kettle.

So what I heard is that people would just prefer something like the Thunderbird, basic but functional - https://addons.cdn.mozilla.net/user-media/previews/full/152/... and you don't care if it's ugly. However, You can't just think like gmail are only used by engineers who designed it. Most of the users are not.

> https://dribbble.com/shots/4020485-Inbox-Client/attachments/...

Font and icon color is too dark. Needs more whitespace too.

YOU SERIOUS? How about more cowbell?

There's nothing stopping you from running that and connecting it to Gmail via IMAP. Go ahead, make it a service, let people have a choice.

Looks like I’d have to do a ton of scrolling to see the amount of info that the old gmail shows me. Everything is too spaced out for me ;(

Google is providing three new layouts to choose from, including a default view that highlights attachments like documents and photos, a comfortable view that doesn’t highlight attachments, and a compact view that increases the amount of messages you can see on a single page. The compact view is the most similar to the existing Gmail design, allowing existing users to keep a similar layout.


This is such a departure from the industry norm, trying to figure out what works best and focusing on that configuration. It looks like Google already struggle keeping the product maintained and nice-to-use, I imagine these options make it a lot more difficult.

Looks like an Atlassian product :p

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