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Ask HN: Anyone else find the new Gmail interface sluggish?
422 points by windowshopping on Nov 5, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 216 comments
For me it's so unresponsive that I'm at a loss for words how google put this into production. I have a modern, new computer and modern, urban internet good enough for streaming 1080p on Twitch without interruption, but I can't delete or archive an email anymore without waiting 4-6 seconds for it to complete the action.

What has your experience been like with it?

edit: Guess I'm not alone. I can only hope someone working at Google sees this post or cares. Maybe too much to hope for.

Am a googler (hence throwaway account) & I can easily tell you why this shit keeps happening!

Google featureless ZERO penalties for fucking shit up! Zero! Do you know what the people who wasted two years on Allo got after it was canned? Nothing! Some of them actually got promoted!

Google GREATLY encourages "launches" - releasing something publicly. And keep in mind - no penalties if the shit is half baked, not working, only works on chrome, or some such nonsense! This is the norm!

Why? Promotion. You cannot get promoted beyond a certain level in this place unless you "launch" something big.

So what do you get when you add of all these perverse incentives? Nine thousand, eight hundred, and eighty-three chat apps, and a never-ending chain of redesigns and relaunches so some people can get promoted.

Do you know how many bugs you need to fix to get promoted? Infinity. No matter how many you fix, it will never get you enough "impact" for promotion. Never.

How many useless redesigns do you need to launch to get promoted? ONE!

Extra fun: people internally usually warn about this shit, complain about it, file bugs about shitty performance, etc. It is ALL ignored. Most people who've been here for over a few years have given up filing bugs even. Because the reply is always the same: "you're not the target audience"!

And we all know it! We all do! Some quit when they realize it, others just begin optimizing for promotion as opposed to optimizing for what is good for the user or the company. And this is how you get new gmail, for example.

EDIT: replaced underscores with proper profanity as had been requested

Classic: You get what you measure.

But years ago the same thing happened to me at Apple. I was fixing bugs in every part of a major framework to help SnowLeopard ship only to get passed over for a minor promotion because I wasn't "critical on any one project".

I thought it was especially ironic since SnowLeopard was supposed to be a stability/performance release only to get massively delayed by people "shipping" things like the Objective-C garbage collection that made XCode unusable for months. The same stability/performance release that had a day-1 point release.

Thanks for contributing that to Snow Leopard. It is my all time favorite OS X release precisely because it felt solid and fast, and didn’t add a bunch of useless new cruft to the interface or mess up anything I relied on. I haven’t felt that with any release since. It’s a depressingly rare feeling with something as fundamental as an OS.

Maintenance is thankless work - it's that way in just about every industry around, short of total disaster no one is going to congratulate you for making something work the way it was supposed to work.

Personally I've had good reception of performance and security bug fixes at my current job. Even got a private bonus from CTO for one. (Small-Medium company)

But I can see how that'd be the exception.

Your bosses may be clueless, but at least folks at HN - that is actual Apple customers - really appreciate your hard work. It is thanks to people like you many of us still use Apple hardware.

> Actual Apple customers I mean, I get what you're attempting to say, but this is so delusional when looking at the most successful business in the world that it's almost farcical.

Xoogler here.

The most fun thing was the time when the lazy-ass billionaires who manage the place and are completely out of touch with the realities of the world (and randomly boast things like "don't be promo focused"--just slave out for us at our mercy while we collect our hundreds of millions[1] and give some as severance pay[2] to sexually-harassing buddies) decided to "fix" the problem by issuing a memo promoting "landings" and not "launches".

Guess what? Tada! Nothing, of course--with the exception that everyone now simply does 's/launch/landing/g' in their performance reviews.

[1]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-23/google-ce...

[2]: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/technology/google-sexual-...

Reminds me of this account: https://mtlynch.io/why-i-quit-google/

OMG! This!! Why have I not seen this before? So depressingly true.


As someone who works at a company similar to Google (not FAANG, but just below), this is hilariously accurate.

> You cannot get promoted beyond a certain level in this place unless you...

YES! It's soooo not about smarts/(true) impact/anything truly relevant - it's about racing to the bottom via launches, and crazy ways to generate revenue. I find is so funny looking back, that pre-undergrad-graduation, I thought promotions came via actually doing great things.

> people internally usually warn about this shit, complain about it, file bugs about shitty performance, etc. It is ALL ignored

It's hilarious how L2s and L3s truly just don't give a damn about the opinions of those working at the company (first-level employees and those just above that)

After this job, I AM DONE with this big company ish. I'll leave that to the new-grads who still believe you get promoted by being smart ;)

rant over

Which big company starts with "N"? I can only think of Nintendo..

The N in FAANG stands for Netflix, because people needed an N and FAAG would be awkward.

Also because Netflix is a world class engineering company - they led in cloud, popularised chaos engineering, and are in the process of destroying the cable industry.

I've always wondered, why isn't Microsoft included in this? FAMANG maybe?

Because the term has been coined by Jim Cramer to denote the best performing tech stocks at that point in time. It does not take into account anything other than stock growth.

French uses GAFAM: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAFAM (and leaves out Netflix). Funnily enough it used to be GAFA, but people eventually added Microsoft.

I love your theory about how “N” got in there. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the answer and the jokey comment. :)

Nvidia? Netflix?


Ah! I often wonder, how and why does Google decide to change the UI to well established products like Gmail? It's certain to annoy veteran users, so I'm particularly puzzled when the decide to shake things up, UX wise, for no apparent usability or feature gain.

I suppose your post is at least partly an explanation.

In this particular case, Gmail surely needed to be brought in line with Material Design (as has been happening to all Google apps, like Keep last week)... and the fact it now works offline (in its native interface, not the old kludge) is the biggest usability/feature gain (pretty huge, really).

They've actually been adding a ton of new features over the past year, especially with Inbox functionality being merged in.

Oh, I'm sure it's not random. I bet there's a rationale for almost every change in every piece of software UI. These are not bullies making changes just to annoy me; I know that. I can even understand why they stopped supporting the old look & feel after a grace period. I'm a software dev too, after all.

But from the point of view of a random user (me), it seems bizarre. The Gmail team changed things for no apparent gain. I don't care about Material Design -- I don't even know what that is! All I know is that the immediately previous incarnation of Gmail looked less cluttered and felt snappier. I know it's not accurate, but sometimes it feels they make UI changes just to show the app is not abandoned, whether this changes make sense or not.

There are some nice things about the new UI: e.g., it's possible to take actions (such as delete) on a email in the inbox in 1-click. It's also that gmail now has lot of new things. e.g., snooze, integration with tasks which probably meant that they had to update the UI regardless.

In split view, clicking a message to view it also adds 'archive' buttons under the mouse. So viewing a message immediately archives it.

Even if you could type text and have it appear on screen in a reasonable time, the current state of gmail is /insane/.

I just want to say, this is my favorite HN comment edit ever. :)

Exact same situation at Amazon. Launches (doesn't matter how useless and broken) >> Fixes

>>others just begin optimizing for promotion as opposed to optimizing for what is good for the user or the company.

"Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy": In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.

Sounds like Google has become just another big company.

Google Fit is a good example of this. It was a simple app that worked extremely well in showing how many steps you took today. But they had to do a major redesign and emphasize newly invented, meaningless stats like 'Heart Points'.

Sounds like a novel Joseph Heller wrote I read in high school featuring Major Major Major Major and a guy named Oar rowing to Sweden.

Looks like my job at the IT service company has a similarity with Google. We cared a lot about our clients when we were small.

I can understand these reasons, but come on, at least some of the execs must have noticed that the new Gmail is a total mess, I simply can't believe they're all clueless. This actually made me and people like me to migrate away from Gmail. Do they really want to loose the competitive advantage they used to have?

The execs probably know but are also victims of the same perverse incentives.

It's not their fault it's worse, they did an excellent job of launching the update!

This means people at the very top should look back and see where they fucked up as it looks like this machine got a life on its own and starts to act against the best interests of the company.

Any chance we can get inbox “relaunched” instead of shut down? It’s miles better than gmail and my favorite google product by far. That they are killing it is absolutely insane.

I went back to Gmail to get used to it before Inbox was officially shut down. It was so unbearable to use I went back to Inbox in hopes that Gmail is uncrippled by the time I'm forced to use it.

We'll see but I'm not holding my breath.

I just got my first non-gmail email account a few weeks ago, been slowly switching over. Zero, performance issues with ProtonMail.

Comment deleted since the parent was updated.

Was not sure if that was allowed here. Updated now.

That answers my question : why do these guys keep redesigning a perfectly fine UI, making it actually worse than it was, not solving any real UX issues?

Allo is canned?

Unfortunately a lot of product manager roles are hired based on how many new products/features that person launched, and not the actual impact to the company or customers (that information is usually confidential or impossible to tease out from one product anyway).

In reality the Product Manager roles should often be to nurture products to perfection over the long-term, and to be an absolute expert on the category.

Often though those people who want to nurture great products over the long-term just go on to start their own businesses! So the field is left with flashy people who launch flashy products very often, but who don't really understand the business, the industry, or their customers.

This is absolutely true.

The problem is, it's easy to measure launches and their effects. It's almost impossible to measure "nurturing" or separate out its effects. So that isn't rewarded.

So you're right -- if you know you're going to do an amazing ongoing job with a product, it makes far more sense to do it as an owner (reap the rewards) than as a salaried PM.


Just creating an account to post snark is not in the spirit of HN I believe.

A week or two after reverting back to the usable gmail, Google notified me they would switch my Google apps mail to the new gmail in a popup on the corner.

It presented me with two options: Now, Delay One Week.

Instead of choosing one, I adblocked the notification. Two weeks later I'm still on the old gmail that responds to clicks. Hoping it never changes.

Google talking to us like trying to trick a toddler. "Do you want to clean your room now, or after dinner?"

As soon as I got the update notification and couldn't say no, I quit Gmail.

The redesign is absolutely horrible, and just like OP, I find it unusably slow (on a beasty Gaming PC).

I got Fastmail, and redirect my Gmail which will now only be used as a spam address. Exactly the same as when I went Hotmail to Gmail and Hotmail because my spam address.

The tech cycle continues.

My Google mail is already a personal domain I just manage through Google apps. To be honest the main reason I keep it on Google apps is the six-ish people I talk to exclusively through hangouts (and momentum).

If I do get forced to the new gmail web version I'll likely switch to a desktop client or write my own client if I can't find a tolerable one.

OK, here is the real shocker. I had to create an outlook account and get a Office 365 sub for various reasons. I actually found the Outlook + Skype + OneDrive combo more usable than their Google counterparts. If you had told me this five years ago, I would have had you sectioned under the mental health act

I don't discount that possibility, but I use hangouts to talk to specific people who don't use any other PC-based chat. That's the downside of tying your email address to your chat I suppose.

I've taken to using Windows Mail for my gmail usage half the time anyway now, even though I'm still on the old web client.

Well at least we know now there are zero motivations for them to fix that bug so you should be ok.

Damn it. I didn’t know you can do this. I’m still not used to the new design. There is something odd about the new interface that isn’t pleasing to the eyes.

God damn that was clever of you.

Just a warning. A couple of days before the switch over, all my filters stopped working. Not sure if it's related, but be careful if you rely on them.

You just need to be careful not to accidentally log out.

Gmail periodically logs me out and I'm still on the old client as of today.

i wish i had thought of this

Yes. I was complaining into the air on twitter, and their support responded by asking me to clear the cache and cookie.

I told them: no man, it's not cache and cookies. You're loading too much stuff on initialization. It takes about 45 seconds for page load, and it's not until 1m37s that I can compose an email. You're making about 285 requests (19MB) before I can compose. That's the size of a long pop song on iTunes!

I've now bookmarked the old "html gmail" just so I can compose emails in a jiffy. I think they assume I leave a browser tab open for email. Not when it's so heavy weight.

> about 285 requests (19MB) before I can compose.

This is insane. So I went to test it. 358 requests, 6.3MB, 20 seconds till full load.

Compared to the standard, really old view (https://support.google.com/mail/answer/15049?hl=en): 14 requests, 25.3KB, 2 seconds.

Edit: fans were spinning hard, so I opened the task manager: after CPU went down from ~90% tab is using 600-700MB, stable, with the dev console open, 400-500MB closed. 400MB to check my email.

25.3KB, 2 seconds

That's what the size of a webmail app should be measured in --- kilobytes, not megabytes.

A megabyte of code is a lot, and I'd guess a lot of developers just don't have the intuition of how much that is; to put it into perspective, this is an entire operating system in 1.44MB: http://menuetos.net/

Went to test Fastmail after some other poster suggested it. Granted, inbox is empty, but feels way faster that gmail, on par with basic gmail, with more functionality.

No cache reload: 28 requests, 114KB, 2.45 seconds.

With cache: 28 requests, 12KB, 2.65 seconds. Funny: UI seems ready after 1 second, but there's an eventsource request that dwarfs the rest in the waterfall, taking the rest of the time.

Edit: playing around with the UI, feels close to native.

Edit 2: downvotes, feel free to engage in discussion. Getting tired of the HN mob.

Thanks for the informative benchmark. I am (slowly) considering alternatives, are you also considering making the jump?

Strongly, yes. Fastmail has a help/blog post to help you migrate. I'm concerned about the large size of my gmail inbox (13+ year user), though. They mention actual emails import too, but haven't tested yet.

... what the hell is gmail doing to suck up that much memory? It shouldn't take more than 1KB per message to store all potentially-relevant message headers, and even the textual content [i.e., no attachments] is unlikely to consume more than a few KB. That takes 100,000s of messages to reach 400MB, which is roughly on the order of "save every message you have ever received for several years."

They have to track your every mouse move, what you type, when you type, where you hover your cursor, how long you took to type an email, who knows what else. Extreme surveillance takes extreme resources.

There's an increased amount of crap being added, like the side menus.

And I have pretty much all behaviors (e.g. menu on hover) disabled.

Jeez, you weren't kidding. ~2.5MB on Chrome and ~5.5MB on FF transferred, which uncompresses to >20MB and takes around 20 seconds to become responsive.

For me it's fast, lots of requests (200+) but only 600kb loaded. UI feels fine / snappy and I can compose within seconds.

30MB in 288 Requests in new Gmail 105KB in 20 requests in html version


It was enough for me to take my staff over to a Microsoft-hosted email account. Outlooks just sits in the background using a few dozen megabytes, and has a better UI than Gmail. You don't need to hunt through Chrome tabs to find your email client, or load a webpage each time you want to check email. Having a native desktop application is a much better experience.

It's a shame that everyone is moving away from native applications.

Web apps and things like electron have their place. But if you are creating an application to be used all the time, you should make it native.

The problem is how hard it has become to make native apps on all platforms. Too much work and they never look and feel the same either.

Electron is fine, and webapps can be very fast, but that takes proper coding with a focus on performance and UX. Many companies just don't care.

I hope it was the result of plenty of well-intentioned individual business decisions, such as Gmail now working offline in a first-class way, and relying on (presumably more complex and slower) web technologies to make that happen. I mean, the new Gmail is supporting a lot more features (including ones brought from Inbox), so a total architecture rewrite was probably necessary.

BUT -- at the same time it's super-sad, because Google (search) felt like it was one of the biggest forces pushing for faster page loads, publicly saying it would downrank sites that loaded slowly, and pushing things like SPDY -- and think of what Chrome did for JavaScript performance. And the old Gmail was so fast, so blazingly fast, loading instantly and keyboard shortcuts felt akin to using a terminal.

So the new, slow-as-molasses Gmail feels like the end of an era, a couple years after the same thing happened to Maps. Gmail is no longer about clever code that executes lightning fast in the browser, now it feels just like another piece of bloated enterprise software. :( They probably had the right business reasons to make Gmail more enterprise-friendly... but it still feels so sad as a programmer and as a user.

RIP fast Gmail.

and think of what Chrome did for JavaScript performance

I think that's partly what contributed to this slowdown --- faster JS execution to a browser is basically like faster hardware to a native app, thus reducing the impetus to optimise the JS code itself. Imagine if hardware wasn't getting any faster (we're close to that already) and browsers still used regular intepretive JS execution like IE6 instead of JIT'ing. If browsers don't execute JS any faster, then web app developers would have to do a lot more optimising to get even acceptable performance, and perhaps we'd see some more interesting tricks and knowledge develop.

That's correct. On the other hand, I see many people sheepishly accepting slow page loads and overall unresponsiveness of today's web apps because - apart from a few slim ones - the majority seems to be equally sluggish, loading tons of JS, webfonts (before the page gets loaded!) and what have you. Many people somehow got convinced that it has to be that way.

I don't understand why everyone is saying how important offline email is. There has been 0 times in the last year where I needed to check my email and didn't have access to the internet. I'm either at my computer or can access it from my phone. Why is this something that is worth crippling the email client for 99.9% of use cases?

It seems like almost everything Google related is sluggish. The new Google AdSense, the new Google Analytics, the new Google DoubleClick for Publishers, and to a lesser extent, the new Google Maps. These are all products I use that perform worse now (on modern hardware) compared to a decade ago. I really don't understand how this happens. Does no one at Google notice some of these services literally taking 10 seconds to load simple pages?

They have invested so many billions in their pipeline and committed so much head space that it's incredibly difficult to change their tech stack to improve performance. Users suffer because of poor performance but at least management can brag about compliance, code reuse, being able to quickly push out production code, etc.

Users suffer because of poor performance but at least management can brag about compliance, code reuse, being able to quickly push out production code, etc.

I've seen this type of behaviour become more prevalent especially within the last 5 years or so, and it's just as irritating to me --- especially when resolving user-complaints take a backseat to improving whatever useless metric-of-the-week the management have thought of.

It doesn't have to be "the customer is always right", but I've found that companies are increasingly becoming more deliberately ignorant of user's concerns and instead focusing on furthering their own agenda.

> I've seen this type of behaviour become more prevalent especially within the last 5 years or so

It's much older, but previously you'd see it more in the desktop space.

As for the server, an interesting thing happened: the proprietary software used to follow similar trend (I'm talking to you, big fat database vendors), with some open-source projects behaving the same. But people are not stupid: you realize you win by serving your clients fast and that very often speed is more important than functionality. Hence the success of projects like Nginx or Redis.

I would believe it's a tech stack limitation a bit more if every web app they've launched in the last 5 years wasn't built on a totally different JS/CSS stack. Several use Polymer, but all very different versions of it. And Polymer is objectively bad if you care about non-Chrome usability at all.

Welcome to 2018, friend, where we have several orders of magnitude more computing power and somehow everything is less responsive. It's all accomplished through an advanced process called "Software Engineering".

More specifically, sluggish websites seem to result from the popularity of "responsive design".

Responsive design isn't to blame at all. The "Javascript all the things" approach is to blame.

If it was only JavaScript, we'd be fine. But it's a JavaScript framework, built on some other JavaScript frameworks with tons of dependencies, then an entire new dependency plugin for every little thing you need to do like check if something "is an array".

It seems that the two have a tendency to go hand-in-hand, though.

You can absolutely do a good responsive design in pure HTML+CSS. What seems to happen in practice, though, is pages that appear as flat white if I don't fiddle with my NoScript settings, and that grind on my (admittedly not top-of-the-line) computer if I do.

Partly agree. It’s misuse of JavaScript, or excessive use of it. JS apps can definitely be built lean and fast. It’s just that people don’t know when to stop.

Isn't responsive design essentially just CSS media queries?

From a tech perspective, yes.

From a marketing perspective, though, it's not. I saw a startup once where the non-technical cofounders had apparently managed to build a non-dynamic single-page React application as their homepage (basically a basic website but in React ooohhh aaahhh). They were using the fact that they did that as a selling point. Almost all of the non-tech people in the room ate it up completely and praised them for their launch.

How, exactly..?

Magic... Nobody really knows... It was supposed to be different, responsive (this time, really).

Possibly they are tracking our mouse movements (such is the feeling that their 'responsive design' gives me)

On my dinky refurbished laptop, it feels like every element in the new interface has some sort of :hover/Javascript combination and that's where the slug starts.

Not directly related, but I reckon the mentality of some web developers I've complained to about their "appsites" being sluggish is similar here --- "it works perfectly fine for me, how about you upgrade your hardware?"

I've heard that you can use http://mail.google.com/mail/h/ to get a basic HTML version.

Telling people to upgrade their hardware for an email application shouldn’t be a thing.

Expecting people to revert to a 25 year old text version, and repeatedly demanding users to upgrade their Chrome version from a 6 month old one shouldn't be necessary either.

I think the best course of action is for someone in the Chrome extension space to create an extension that adds minimal functionality to the basic HTML version, like simple dragging and dropping of emails into labels. I use an enhancement suite for Reddit and HN - I'd gladly use one on basic GMail.

I can understand asking people to update their browser, for security considerations.

My security, my choice. If i say no ('X') then they shouldn't keep nagging me.

Getting downvoted, so i'll add that i'm using a Chrome-based Chinese browser (UC) so have no control over the Chrome version.

Cool, let me run out and buy a Threadripper 2990WX plus $500+ in custom watercooling equipment just to load my email in under five seconds.

Can't believe "download more RAM lol" is acceptable behavior.

I just tried /mail/h in https and got redirected back to the new version. If it does work in http then alas, I don't want the old design back that badly.

Turn off JavaScript and refresh the main page once you're logged in. You should get prompted to either enable JS or click through for basic HTML mode. Once you're in basic HTML mode, you can click "Set basic HTML as default view" at the top if you like it.

No need to use HTTP instead of HTTPS.


It's incredibly slow and to top it all the new redesign is maddeningly bad. I have to zoom out to 90%-80% just to make it bearable. There is clearly no separation between various sections in the fifty shades of grey that's become their MO. This should never have passed the first line of review let alone be in production. With all their new decisions with the Pixel 3, Chrome and now Gmail, it's clear Google's list its edge.

On Firefox it’s unusable for quick work (open, quickly manage emails, close). The interface is noticeably slower than the classic UI. It’s maddening.

Not sure what I’m going to do when it switches over for our Google Apps account. Any alternatives people like?

This exactly. On Firefox Nightly, time to first interaction for me is 30 seconds.

I've found myself going to gmail.com, searching for something, and then waiting 30 seconds for "Loading..."to transform to "Something's not right". I've just started doing all reading on the Android app.

It's still easier for me to write at my laptop than on my phone, so this miserable experience happens to me multiple times a week. I've started to deeply despise the webapp.

Use an IMAP client.

That is a solution to my problem. Thanks for the tip.

I was seeing this when they first forced the new interface a few weeks ago. The performance improved quite a bit when I killed all my firefox processes and restarted it. It's still not great, but it's tolerable.

Thunderbird is real fast.

came here to say that.

I don't use Gmail, but Google Maps seems to be getting slower and slower all the time for me on some of my older boxes.

I imagine that it's just the classic case of developers having good machines, and the market share factor meaning they just don't really have to care.

I develop on a 12 core processor. If I make something user facing, I have to go out of my way to ensure that it's performant on other hardware; it's not part of the standard build/tweak loop.

My laptop is good. Not as beefy as the desktops issued at Google but moreso than the vast majority of the laptops. The new gmail, along with Google sheets, are sluggish as hell in Firefox. On the occasion I use Chrome they are noticeably faster. I have no insight as to whether it's on purpose. If I'm forced to switch to the new gmail, it's the gmail web client I'll be dropping, not Firefox.

>I imagine that it's just the classic case of developers having good machines.

But, like, that's ridiculous! Developers should be testing the performance of their stuff, either by looking at system resources or by keeping some "crappy" testing machines around. Preferably both.

I wonder what the environmental impact is of users upgrading their hardware in order to run completely unoptimized stuff like this?

> or by keeping some "crappy" testing machines around.

We used to do that at ${BIGCORP} until the CTO moved us to an equipment leasing policy in place of buy-and-depreciate. Instead of being able to retain the old machines for testing they went back to the lessor every three or five years.

It used to be that most devs had a couple of old PCs under their desks for hacking around on stuff, but that was no longer tolerated. The policy seemed like a minor financial tweak to the C-suits but was actually quite destructive to innovation.

Plenty of previous discussion at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18305366 — you’re not alone

I get drastically different performance using Google's services between Firefox and Chrome.

I had instant responses in Chrome for Gmail, Chat/Hangouts, Calendar, etc.

In Firefox? 4-6 second wait for _every_ interaction.

And I don't think the fault is with Firefox here...

There was a post recently about how YouTube uses depreciated web APIs and then polyfills them to every browser that isn't chrome so YouTube loads slow on non chrome browsers.

That's insane. Google's products have taken a nosedive in the past 5 years.

You could try using a site like toogl.es


True, one of them is document.registerElement()

I find it pretty sluggish. On Saturday I had to login to outlook for the first time in maybe 2/3 years. Wow the outlook ui from MS is awesome now. For me it was supe... ok ok ok. The login experience from MS still sucks donkey cock. I don’t know if they will ever fix that. But if you get past the terrible login experience. Man outlook is Super quick and clean. I switched back to gmail and i doesn’t look as good and it’s slow. Click things and wait.... gmail experience gone down hill.

As an outlook.com and gmail user, I have to say it's going through the same crap as gmail. More features getting tacked on. I stopped using outlook.com's web interface once they started throwing Skype in my face at every chance.

There's skype on there too? My experience was.

- Ah stupid MS login

- Oh that loaded fast

- clicks email loads instantly on right hand side and can still see my list.

- Oh this is clean and fast!

I've been debating loading gmail into a desktop client now that the UI is so sluggish for me. (for the first time since gmail came about) but as of saturday, i'm wondering if I should try using my outlook email more.

Yes I have had equal experiences. It has directly lead me to begin switching to Fastmail on my own domain because I'm tired of this nonsense (along with their constant nagging to switch to the new version or chrome).

Already switched to Fastmail, which has been excellent. It's nice to have successfully moved something off Google.

I did a small inventory of my online accounts the other day and got surprised by how little I depend on Google. A few years ago I figured Google was just a necessity of living (online) these days.

I first migrated to Fastmail a couple years ago, mainly to just have more control and use my own domain etc. Contacts and calendar shortly followed.

I switched to iPhone last year, not because Android is bad or anything, it's just what I had had for a long time and I wanted to try something else. No regrets there.

I switched to Chrome many years ago because it just worked better than other browsers, but recently I went back to try Firefox and it's really good now.

I never really used cloud storage.. (Photos/Drive)

Google is still the vastly better choice for Search, hands down. But just for the hell of it I decided to stick with DuckDuckGo and it's good enough for most things. Only occasionally do I head over to Google to get better results. It's not optimal, but I can live with that.

Google also has very good store/location info etc in Maps, and the photos to go with it. Apple's maps is far from the joke it used to be, but when you just want to get info on a store or something and you get redirected to TripAdvisor, that's a huge bummer.

Finally Youtube, there's just no competition out there.

All in all, of course Google has a presence in my online activity, but it's not the end-all be-all internet hub I thought it was.

One setting I found that has made the new interface slightly more bearable is turning off "Hover actions" under the General tab. It gets rid of that awful box-shadow that makes scanning down the list difficult.

This made a surprising difference in the performance for me. Thanks for the suggestion!

Thanks, I turned off that and a bunch of the frothy features in the options, and it sped up enormously.

that helped, thank you

I can’t stand the new gmail to the point where I check my email only once a day. Every time I open that interface I get enraged. I am a UX designer and the new UI is a total clusterfuck - something you’d expect to fire someone over. Big G really messed this one up and I suspect many feel this way. If they have any sense left at all they’ll add the old view option back or revert completely.

Agreed! I vote for this.

It's not just an issue of speed. The new gmail design is very hard to read/understand. Red-on-pink is not the best contrast choice. The icons feel fuzzy without the button borders, are hard to decode, and are too tight together.

Strangely, while the icons are all packed tightly, the email list wastes extra space vertically, and requires extra scrolling. Not the best design choice.

The high-contrast theme brings gmail close to the classic design, but it does not work well enough to make the icons more recognizable and recover the wasted space in the email list.

You can make the email list more compact, (and in fact it tells you as much the first time you open the app).

I mostly check gmail on my phone. It's awful on the laptop here lately, which I tend to blame on the crappy laptop.

Have you compared the phone or tablet version to the PC or laptop version?

Just curious.

Isn't that how modern web design works? Take away features, move stuff around randomly and make things slower?

Google has got really far away from their initial versions of GMail and Maps. They used to be lean and right on and now they are just a bloated mess.

I get pretty frustrated with it. I work almost exclusively with shortcuts, and after a while the interface decides to forget to respond to my commands.

Example - /,"is:unread to:me",Enter. Should search for unread mails to me.

On a regular basis if I move through five items rapidly and head into this search, it just shows a blank screen inside the area where the mails should be. Even hitting f5 won't resolve the issue at times. Ive actually stopped browsing through mails on some other threads because of this issue because it would take up too much time to keep debugging Gmail.

I just checked uMatrix how many scripts are running. After blocking hangouts, plus, play, notifications and whatever "ogs" stands for it got a bit snappier, and it still works.

Can you provide a bit of detail on how you block them?

Uhm, well, its just the basic way one would use uMatrix so nothing special. It's an add-on that works by whitelisting instead of blacklisting, similar to NoScript.

In this case I had it set up to allow all subdomains of google, so I opened the panel and clicked to blacklist the subdomain that I didn't want.

EDIT: The only downside of this is that if I want to use Google Hangouts in the same browser, it is now blocked, so I have to manually unblock it. But I use Firefox as my main browser, yet reserve hangouts to Chromium anyway.


I use uBlock Origin in advanced mode, which lets you do something similar.

Haven't used it extensively, but blocking the following domains sped things up a little:

- hangouts.google.com - plus.google.com - play.google.com

Seconding the other commenter-- I would love for you to elaborate on this.

Wouldn't it be crazy if email were built on protocols so users could choose their interface?

I was trying out GSuite last week and used the Google Admin console and had the exact same experience.

You click on options then you wait 2-5 seconds for the menu to load or the option to expand.

Coupled with the poor UX I'm surprised more people aren't complaining about the time they spend managing these systems, it's as bad as Office365 but it's damn close now.

I think what surprises a lot of people is that Google would take a premier product like Gmail and make it slower and less user-friendly.

Even when you try to use the "basic HTML", they decided to not provide a lot of simple features such as basic view customizations (e.g. standard, compact, relaxed). I'm guessing that was done to make sure people use the new UI - so it's use the slow UI or too bad for you.

Not sure much will change in terms of the new UI since people are more wedded to their email addresses than say their choice of search engine or maps.

When I worked with them back in the day, there was a certain "take it or leave it" attitude at times from some senior people about some decisions in products.

This was not all the people and I'm not speaking about the present leadership who I don't know, just that it was the case because back in the mid/late 2000s with my experiences and people I knew via working relationships.

Not only sluggish but I couldn't stand the custom font, it makes reading paragraphs of text a headache.

Ah yes, I hate it!

Set Gmail to default to basic HTML. You'll be happy you did.


Yes, I've switched to the HTML version permanently, and I hope others do the same. Maybe if Google sees enough people switching to HTML, they'll get an idea of how popular their new version is.

that will never happen. gmail has over a billion users. we are really the 0.001% who would do something like that.

I use gmail over IMAP, performance on IMAP hasnt changed a bit.

I'm surprised they still support IMAP.

Probably because in some places, iOS is more than 50% of mobile users.

And globally, mobile devices have already overtaken PCs/laptops, years ago.

I haven’t come across better mail UI than Inbox.

Inbox got demoted, new Gmail got promoted.

If what I was told is true, then at Google, data beats opinions, that is, they have data to back up those decisions.

Now, why am I not convinced this is the case over here?

I've been trying to give them the benefit of the doubt for the same reason, but I too am unconvinced.

As one example/anecdotal aside: replacing a link to all mail from/to a contact on mouseover of their name with....links to Google Keep, Hangouts, etc. There's no way the use case data led to a change like this. I mean, how could it?

It actually works great for me. Firefox Nightly on 2016 MacBook pro. Curious why experiences differ so much - I wonder if it's the difference between folks (like me) who leave the browser open always with Gmail in a pinned tab vs people who load Gmail only as needed. Although that can't be it entirely, because I restart Firefox roughly daily to apply nightly updates. Maybe some plugin interference? I run ublock but that's about it.

I genuinely hate the gmail interface - mobile especially. Completely unintuitive icons much of the time. Seems to do conversation threads poorly too.

Yup, noticeably much much slower than the old interface, while seemingly also not changing functionality or layout at all. What was the point?

Technological/intellectual masturbation?

Old version is available in the gear if you're using corporate gmail

Hell yes. I've been a gmail user for 15 years and I can't use gmail in my browser anymore.

For work, we migrated from Google apps to Fastmail.

But I still have 15 years of personal @gmail.com email and it's been my address forever. I currently use my phone for personal email (even when I don't want to) because the website no longer responds to input.

I prefer using email clients than using the Gmail on web because of this particular reason. Their web app is painfully slow.

Sent feedback during the test phase that it was unusable (hangs while "loading...") on slower connections and average laptops. Still forced it on us.

Killing G+. Google Search "mini games" annoying eyesore (Winter Olympic ones crashed browser so switched to DuckDuckGo) Censorship in China. 20k Googlers protesting. WTF?!!

I dislike Google's preference for making their experiences optimal on chrome. Gmail and youtube both seem to run faster on Chrome. It feels very monopolistic that their services run best with each other and poorly on the competition. It's probably not intentional, but very frustrating.

This is entirely intentional. Google has no incentive to make their services run optimally on anything other than Chrome, for that would slow Chrome adoption.

I've written about how bad it is, and I've given feedback, and I try to use Gmail basic whenever possible now. That's how bad it is.

But Gmail basic doesn't support changing sender's address... and attachments is a bit backwards, so I still have to stick with this monstrosity.

You're not alone. I was blaming on my internet connection for awhile, until I found this post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18095579

Moved to ProtonMail for important conversations.

I have mostly stopped using Google Gmail because they still can't do something simple like... I don't know... sort by sender? They keep changing the interface, but they never seem to improve the utility.

I use the content filter tabs (Social, Promotions, etc.).

Gmail refuses to let me move to a tab and mark new emails as read just about every time. It just hangs. I'll refresh and the same thing happens.

Multiple other issues as well.

Yes - I've since switched to the Apple email client.

The Gmail UI refresh is so bad that it's the final straw on the camel's back to get me to swap to something else. I was already considering it just due to privacy concerns, but I was sitting on that decision. The fact that it takes 30s for the page to load and another 30s to do something as simple as checking the box beside an email and deleting it made my choice for me.

What aggravated me most is that sometimes clicking on a button has no effect. First I swapped to the HTML only version of gmail but found it too limited. I have now been using Thunderbird for a week or two. It is not perfect, but it actually works quite well. Plus you can have a little calendar view for the day's events on the side.

If it's like the new google sites, they're clearly off loading everything possible to browser as JavaScript, making site slow, sluggish and unresponsive. - I guess that's just the norm for the future web sites. https://sites.google.com

My experience has been mixed. I do most of the work stuff on Chromium and the UI is okay-ish, used to be better, but whatever.

However, the personal stuff I keep it for Firefox, and it's just as OP said: 4-6 seconds to complete an action and even when the UI has loaded, not all icons are shown immediately.

I am on slow connection the entire week and it is a pain in the butt. I m sick and tired at looking at spinners and progressbars. It's not just gmail, everything google ( i suspect material designed) is sluggish. Try adsense if you want to ruin your day.

Yes sluggish, even on google fiber.

It's unusable. I have gone back to a mix of the basic html version and a desktop client.

Yes. I switched to using the "Basic HTML" version by default. Either turn JavaScript off and refresh the page once logged in, or click "Load basic html (for slow connections)" while the loading animation plays to get to it.

I'm finding it much quicker in just about every way than the old UI, using Firefox.

I keep 6 gmail tabs pinned and I don't find it sluggish at all on my 2016 MacBook Pro. The only thing that's slow for me is how long the non-default add-ons take to display after you load a message.

On top of the new gmail being extremely slow the new google Ads or AdWords is so much worse. I have to run an ec2 instance at work in order to get just “ok” speeds. This is with fiber optic internet...

Yep I posted something similar earlier https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18284264

The archiving delay kills me. I used to archive an email and close the window but not anymore. One would think it’s a single request to the back-end and the UI could be updated after that.

The only part of Gmail I need redesigned is the settings page. I thought, "surely, this page from before the last redesign will finally get the treatment it needs." I was wrong.

After the inbox debacle I decided I didn't want to use Gmail and am now a happy Mailspring user. If it could just implement Google inbox's sweep function, it would be perfect.

Yes! And the recent versions of Chrome on macOS are equally bad.

That's why I switched to the simple HTML version of the Gmail. Not as fancy, but it covers 90% of my needs. When I need fancy interface, I temporarily switch to it.

Yes I have definitely noticed the same sluggishness. Does anyone have any resources or recommendations for transitioning off of Gmail and onto another email provider?

The new gmail interface is just super busy and confusing and slow.

Spent my early morning disabling features just to curb info overload.

Google is turning into microsoft and microsoft into google.

Not really. I've been using it every day and not noticed the problems others have. I have a fairly old refurb PC. Notwithstanding the page loading time.

yesterday i was writing email with my new bluetooth keyboard and i realised that, words are appearing on screen after 5 seconds delay. first i blamed new keyboard and replaced batteries. then blamed chrome and checked memory/cpu usage all was fine. then i wrote email in vi and paste into gmail, even select old text and paste was extremely slow. thanks i saw this post, you are right it is almost unusable.

Yes, I have reported it to them and never heard back.

Noticed that too. Even with a powerful computer. The tags also take times to be automatically by associated to email you've just sent.

Ugh, i've been delaying switching from Inbox. Still holding out hope that someone at Google lets that thing live somehow...

I avoided inbox on the web for the same reason as people are complaining about Gmail here; the mobile app is nice, but the web version was borderline unusable for me.

I felt similarly but the innovation Inbox brought to email was just too big to ignore. It was a new paradigm on how to use e-mail.

Killing Inbox is just another terrible decisions in a string of terrible decisions coming from Google. "Eh, only had a few million users anyways, who cares? What's product support? Everyone's a beta tester!"

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