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Gmvault: gmail backup. Liberate your emails (gmvault.org)
364 points by zoobert on May 7, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 147 comments

if your tagline is "For geek and non-geek users." then you probably should not be depending on users to open a shell and type commands there to access their emails.

For this to be remotely useful for non-geeks, try adding a small IMAP server so people can access the mails through their mail clients. Having to re-upload all mail back to a (presumably new) gmail account will take ages and accessing the mails locally is not really helpful these days with mime encoding and HTML email.

On a related note: If you have a small box with a PTR record laying around somewhere, you can use my setup described at http://pilif.github.com/2011/02/how-i-back-up-gmail/ to route all incoming and outgoing mail through a mail server you own as it moves to and from gmail.

If you ever lose your google account or its data, all mails will be on your small box in convenient maildir format, ready to be served over IMAP.

Thanks for the comment. Yeah the "for geek and non-geek" is a bit premature. I would like to create a gui for the tool that will be for non geek. Regarding your second points, currently Gmvault is a tool to backup your Gmail account and restore it into a Gmail account preserving labels and unread emails, etc. The Gmail web interface I think is the premiere interface for Gmail and with Gmvault, I want to offer to users a "safety belt for Gmail" (backup and incremental backup) and allow them to restore all your emails as they were in the Gmail web interface.

I really hate being called a geek. I associate it with bullying and social exclusion. It may be OK to be a geek in Silicon Valley, but that's not true everywhere.

If you bring that line back, please replace it with 'For techies and non-techies' or similar.

> try adding a small IMAP server so people can access the mails through their mail clients. Having to re-upload all mail back to a (presumably new) gmail account will take ages and accessing the mails locally is not really helpful these days with mime encoding and HTML email.

One of the stated purposes of this tool is to "liberate your emails" by letting you keep local copies of every e-mail you send and receive. If you need to use a third-party IMAP server to keep a backup of your e-mails, how does that liberate you? Now you're dependent on two online services instead of one.

Reading locally stored e-mails would be a problem for non-geeks, though. But I think the right way to solve that problem would be to offer a program to read those e-mails, or even better, a plugin to a popular mail client (such as Thunderbird) so that the e-mails can be accessed through the mail client. Depending on the "cloud" just detracts from the stated purpose of this tool.

I wasn't talking about a third party IMAP server. I was talking about adding an IMAP darmon right in the backup application itself.

That way, if your google account goes away (I guess we all agree that administrative account lockout is way more likely than google actually losing data) and you need an email RIGHT NOW, you would just configure any imap client to use the daemon provided by the backup application (localhost:143)

Or it could bundle some web based mail client and then open a browser.

It's impractical to reupload the whole backup to gmail before being able to access your mail.

Thanks for the clarification, it seems that I misunderstood your comment. A local IMAP server would fit right into my suggestion of mail client integration, without the headache of writing a plugin.

But now you've got a background process running on a privileged port, yikes! (It's got to be a daemon that starts automatically, because "non-geeks" will not understand why they have to start another program before accessing their mail in Thunderbird.)

Better option (IMNSHO), if someone wants to read the email they don't REALLY care if it's as an email. So a reader application that parses the DL'd file so that you can do rudimentary search, find what you want, and then copy/paste as necessary.

You could still be running on an unprivileged port and bundle a preconfigured thunderbird. Or you run on an unprivileged port and bundle some webmail solution (the localhost:143 was just for illustration)

> Now you're dependent on two online services instead of one.

I think you're misunderstanding pilif's comment. That "small IMAP server" would run locally on your box, which gets you to the goal of having any standard mail client read the archive.

Just a few weeks ago I was looking for exactly this piece of software! What brilliant timing.

But a quick question of concern - gmail is pretty smart and can tell when I am just using it for bulk storage. If you send yourself 8 emails in a short amount of time, each with maximum sized attachment sizes, gmail will politely tell you to cut it out for a while.

Does this software run the same risk? I am wary to let it just keep barging in after connection errors, if there's a chance gmail will get upset and ban me from my own account. My gmail is my lifeblood, and I want to back it up from the entity that scares me the most of taking it away from me.

Thanks for making this!!

It should be no different from what would happen if you connect a new imap program that does a full sync of your mailbox, which many do.

Well so far I've been doing many download and upload of my entire mailbox (5 GB) and the Gmail team did not contact me to tell me to slow down a bit. Sometimes (especially during the week-end ?) the connection was cut and I could had to wait to finish to restore my gmail account.

Sweet! I'm gonna keep my gmail backup on my google drive!

Err, isn't there a flaw in that plan?

Surely the back-up should protect you in case you lose access to your Google account...

I think he was trying to be subtly ironic. Perhaps too subtle.

I wondered that after I wrote the reply.

However, I bet some people do use google drive to back-up other google services. It's not ironic, just foolish IMO.

You can always create different Google accounts for each service. My "main" account (Reader, Youtube, etc) was never tied to my Gmail & Calendar account, and the probability of losing both at the same time is rather small.

Not as small as you may think. Do you really believe that Google can't connect the dots (or the IP addresses) and figure out that both accounts are associated with the same person?

They'd have to tread carefully. Would suck to have an entire university banned from Google services ;)

True... but I imagine they can also distinguish between frequently-shared IPs and rarely-shared ones.

Great tool, awesome work. Gmail should really offer a link to backup your mail though. I know you can do it with mail clients and this, but its annoying I cant just download one big zip file from gmail itself.

I imagine (and I'm not speaking for my employer here) that it has to do with cost: if the easiest way to backup your email is by using IMAP or POP, it's essentially an incremental backup mechanism. If the easiest way to backup your email is by clicking a link which contains all your email in a .zip file, it would be a non-incremental backup system and its cost would be much higher, because people would be far more likely to repeatedly download the same emails.

Maybe there could be a few options? Download all mail, download by month, download by year? Seems like they could solve that problem pretty easily and would be very awesome.

Offering different zipfiles for months/years wouldn't solve the problem. "The problem" is that when you have hundreds of millions of users, the easiest mechanism needs to be an efficient mechanism. Adding links for months/years would still leave the easiest mechanism as the least efficient: I know that I, personally, would continue to download the "all mail" zipfile just to ensure that I didn't miss anything. I cannot imagine my mother or grandmother doing anything different.

I don't think it would. That would then be something I would have to set up reminders for and then what if I forget it for a few days? I would have to remember when I last backed up and set that as the starting date. Of course google could remember that for me but we're now getting closer and closer to what IMAP already does better.

When I first set up offlineimap, it downloaded my entire account history on the first day - I'm not sure how that would be less expensive than a single zip file to download on that same day too.

I imagine that most people would download their entire e-mail history, stick with what they know, and re-download their entire history week after week.

Sure, but it would be easy to wrap that inside a Google 'download my data' tool' only downloaded the diff of all your data (not just email) and provided that in compressed form.

I'd prefer the direct zip, sure, but I'm just saying that it's not inconceivable.

You can argue that's it not technically inconcievable but if anyone were to implement it this way, it would likely become a nightmare of usability and broken expectations.

If I'm 'downloading' or otherwise 'exporting' data from any service, I expect it to be all the data. Not a diff wrt the last time I clicked the button.

I don't really see the advantage to that? Do you just prefer HTTP to IMAP? :)

Its ease of use and ease of storage. Setting up a mail client and getting it to download everything isnt a 1 click operation.

However, clicking "download backup now" is a very easy 1 click operation, and I can just store that zip file wherever I want. Done.

Backups are only as useful as the 'restore' strategy. If I had a zip of all my email somewhere I wouldn't really know what to do with it (and it'd be obsolete pretty quickly).

I mainly use Gmail via IMAP (and the web version when I need to set up filters). Therefore, I'm intrigued that folks seem to be interested in a 1-click-download kind of solution.

I guess installing an email client is a hassle. But in Outlook and Thunderbird (at least), it really is that easy. You just put in your email address and password and it will start downloading automatically.

I hope they'll eventually do this too. They have this *Data Liberation Front" (http://www.dataliberation.org/), from where you can already download some data in simple zip files.

Bizarre that you can download aggs of docsr and phoos-- and photos don't compress! But not a few hunded megs of zipped mail. www.google.com/takeout

This would be hard to implement effectively. HTTP sucks for downloading massive files.

Thank you all for the feedback and support. It's been great and proved that a simple tool up for that task is needed by plenty of people.

If you would like to participate and help me developing Gmvault contact me on twitter at @zoobert or via email: guillaume((dot))aubert((at))gmail((dot))com

I will now work hard to finalize Gmvault and produce the first final release (available within a month).

If you would like to report some issues or would like extra features: submit them to https://github.com/gaubert/gmvault/issues

No promises, but I think we will enable this on rsync.net storage arrays...

We already have s3cmd in our environment, so you can:

ssh user@rsync.net s3cmd get s3://rsynctest/mscdex.exe

So if we put this into the environment, you could call it over SSH:

ssh user@rsync.net gmvault sync foo.bar@gmail.com

... which is fantastic.

More like this.

Awesome. Let me know if you need some support.

Any chance you could build S3 support into Gmvault? So you could cron it on a linux box to connect to Google and push all the data into an S3 bucket? If money is an issue, I'd be interested in footing the bill.

This is something I have in mind: Cloud save. It will be added in the roadmap. Please contact me and I will keep you in the loop. Regarding the money I am thinking of adding a donate button to support the project.

Small nitpick: the application name "Gmvault" is inconsistent with the tagline "Liberate your emails", since one does not normally associate vaults with liberation. Maybe something like "protect your email" would be more vault-appropriate?

;-) I like that. Thanks for helping me keeping the theme right

Also, don't go with exactly "Protect your email", since it sounds kind of bland. Just something like that. Maybe "Safeguard your email". Find an exciting synonym for "protect"!

Or maybe "Stash your mail"

I just use fetchmail to grab everything (except spam) from gmail anyway but this:

"With the restore command Gmvault can recreate your gmail mailboxes in any Gmail account. All attributes such as Gmail labels are preserved and recreated. With restore, you will recover your Gmail account exactly as it was."

I would use it just for that! When I wanted to unify my email/calendar etc. under one account there didn't seem to be anyway of transporting existing gmail over. Gmail doesn't even have a way to do it if you decide to start paying them!!

Granted this isn't working for me to begin with (http://i.imgur.com/yLzyy.png), but will this tool work to archive Google Apps email accounts? eg. Gmail accounts that do not end in gmail.com?

At the beginning of the bash script gmvault there is a variable called GMVAULT_HOME. If instead of .. you had the full path to the gmvault-v1.0-beta dir that should work. If there are more problem could you please run it like this: $>sh -x ./gmvault sync .... and send me the console print.

I will fix that in the next version. Thanks for the feedback

Still not working for me, I will send you an email. Thank you for working on this tool though - our company would gladly pay for an enterprise version of this (especially if it was a bit more seamless and integrated with Google Apps somehow).

It's working on my Apps account.

Also with mine.

please gglanzani and weiran. Send me your errors or create an issue in https://github.com/gaubert/gmvault/issues I would appreciate to have the logs with the debug activated: ./gmvault sync foo.bar@gmail.com --debug

they said it _is_ working for them:)

Hey: I"m trying it out, and its not entirely clear if its properly incremental. To whit, if I halt it mid backup and start it up again, it seems to start from scratch all over again.

am I miss interpreting how its working?

For anyone trying to get the Linux version to work, here's what worked for me.

1. Download the tgz and unzip.

2. Create and activate a new virtualenv in that directory.

3. easy_install -U distribute (in my case, the version of distribute installed by pip was too old for imapclient)

3. pip install logbook gdata imapclient

4. Replace bin/gmvault with the following

    #!/usr/bin/env python
    import sys
    import os
    sys.path.insert(0, os.path.abspath(os.path.join(sys.path[0], '../lib')))
    import gmv.gmv_cmd as runner

the release on HackerNews is a bit premature. I wanted to test the response and was not expecting so much interest. I will fix the deployment issues on Linux and Mac OS X. You can download the tgz and run a michael said.

You can also use easy_install or pip. It is on Pypi Create a virtualenv as it is better and do: pip install gmvault (or easy_install gmvault)

See http://gmvault.org/install.html#py_install for further info

wha's the difference between this and a tool like offlineimap?

As an OfflineIMAP user, I see a few immediate differences:

1. OfflineIMAP expects standard IMAP servers. GMVault has special casing to handle Google's wonky IMAP support, along with features like labels and the "All Mail" directory.

2. OfflineIMAP is GPLv2 (or 3, at your option). GMVault is GPLv3.

3. OfflineIMAP syncs to either a local Maildir or another IMAP server. GMVault syncs to its own custom on-disk representation.

4. OfflineIMAP uses a username/password to log in to servers. GMVault uses XOAuth.

5. OfflineIMAP is fully bi-directional by default; local deletion propagates to the remote server. GMVault notes that "manually deleting emails or emails' directories does not prevent Gmvault from working."

6. GMVault can encrypt its own archives. OfflineIMAP cannot.

Basically, GMVault looks like a much less general-purpose tool, but in its specialization, should allow for a much nicer experience for users that simply want a backup for their GMail account.

I'm fond of the versatility that OfflineIMAP gives me (I can restore my mail to any IMAP server, not just GMail; I can access the local Maildir with other applications like Dovecot and Mutt; etc.), but excited about the possibilities of GMVault for friends and family.

"Do you have your GMail backed up? No? Here, let me install GMVault for you..."

I believe that OfflineIMAP now has gmail-specific code (type = Gmail) :


it is only to backup specific target labels (or imap directories). If you ever restore your Gmail account with OfflineIMAP then I think that you will loose partly this information. I would say the purpose of these tools is different.

How do you get it to encrypt its own archives?

You use the --encrypt flag. See ./gmvault sync -h for more info

Apparently, it also backs up Gmail specific stuff like labels. Which is nice, but if Gmail every bites you in the ass so hard that this is the only way to recover, would you trust Gmail again?

As for myself, I just imap my Gmail accounts and don't use those features exactly to avoid that kind of lock-in. I've used too many email services and clients in my lifetime to assume Google is the final solution. And safeguarding my mail offline with imap works just fine.

Gmvault is a tool entirely dedicated to Gmail so it will recreate your account exactly as it was. Standard imap backuping tool like OfflineIMAP do not preserve labels when restoring emails on an imap server because your have to use a Gmail specific extension. For example it will take care of the Gmail labels and will recreate them when restoring the emails on an account. More features are available. Check the documentation.

Hopefully it flakes out/dies less often than offlineimap.

I used another Gmail backup tool once that made all my emails "read". Does this do that too?

Normally yes or as I said above it is a bug and you should report it there: http://gmvault.org/report_pb.html

Thanks for the reply. Your answer is confusing, but I see from your other replies that GMVault is supposed to preserve read/unread status.

I responded to the wrong comment. Normally it should preserve unread messages

Oh wow - this is really interesting. I just released a VERY similar program called `gmail-safe` yesterday. I was going to do a Show HN sometime today.

If anyone is interested, here is the URI: http://eblume.github.com/gmail_safe/

Note that this is my first Node app. It needs a lot of polish. It is published under the MIT license, though, which some people here might enjoy.

tools is still in beta. Comments, features are welcome.

I love the idea, but I wasn't able to use it. http://cl.ly/2m170D012X370n1g2K0S

OSX has some niceties for python apps, you could use py2app to make it an actual binary rather than a folder or bundlebuilder.

Same here. Installing with pip (not in a virtualenv), and I get

    Cannot find the python executable to set env var PYTHON_BIN. 
    Please check where your python binary is.

if python is in your path, just edit gmvault, delete the PYTHON_BIN stuff starting at line 24 and add PYTHON_BIN="python"

That should work if python is on your path.

Thanks, works like a charm now.

Yeah. Curious why PYTHON_BIN is required. I'd rather just have it use whatever python points to by default.

Yes your are right. I will fix the script to look for the default python.

Hi thanks for the feedback. I will try to use the py2app application. If the binary version doesn't work, you also do a standard python installation (http://gmvault.org/install.html#py_install).

Seems like the docs are a bit lacking at the moment, but if you open the terminal and change directories to (in your case) "~/Downloads/gmvault-v1.0-beta/bin" and then run "./gmvault" it should work.

Still not working for me on OS X. I CDed my way into gmvault-v1.0-beta/bin, but when I ./gmvault sync mikemarotti@gmail.com, I get this:


On Vista64: made it through all install screens. No desktop shortcut (even though I asked for one), had to nav to install dir to find it. Ran uninstall and it only did a partial uninstall (I've still got a gunky folder in program files).

For Windows:

- Require admin for installer (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb756929.aspx)

- Add to Start Menu

- Doesn't show up in my installed programs list = no standard way to uninstall

Thanks for the feedback. I have not tested deployment on Vista but on WinXP and Win7. You didn't need to be an admin as far as I saw. The integration in the menu,showing up in the installed program as well as uninstall is in the version 1.1 that should be released next week. I wanted to see if some people would be interested by such tool.

The installer needs admin. Can't write to "Program Files" otherwise.

Ok got it and will add it in the next version. Still you can install it anywhere so put it somewhere else in the mean time.

Nice tool! I think the default sync interface should show a progress bar (like wget). Now it says: Processing 7890 emails, but then it prints a line for every email. I don't need to see every email in a list, but I would like to see how long it takes to complete. Update: I see it does print that every once in a while. I would skip the other lines... :)

Thanks for the feedback. I will think on how to present operation progresses (progress bar and so on with curses and so on)

I think it is great that you are getting a lot of good feedback and constructive criticism from the community, but I just wanted to say thank you! I've been looking for a simple tool like this for a while, and Gmvault is perfect. I'm sure that you will add polish and new features in the future, but I'm glad that you released when you did.

My first thought was "cool, I certainly have to use this", and switched to something else.

I just came back and started to perform a backup. I think you should, too. This is insurance.

For the author: the link from the "Learn More" is broken. It should probably point to install, not documentation.

Thanks I fixed it. Sorry for the premature launch I think it was somehow a mistake (too early) but I needed a boost to be sure that I was doing something useful.

I think people familiar with command-line tools are already probably doing what I do, which is to use mbsync to sync a remote gmail imap account to a local maildir. It even easily supports multiple sync account/maildir pairs via its somewhat confusing config file format.


If this fails/stops in the middle of syncing, will it restart at the point of failure or start from the beginning again?

Yes it has these kind of mechanisms are embedded: If there is an error in the middle of a syncing then Gmvault will wait few seconds and try to restart the current operation. After 4 attempts it will leave in error. Gmail imap servers can start to throttle the transfer and also cut the connection. Gmvault also has a restart mode (option --restart) to restart where it was. Actually up to 20 emails before because Gmvault save its "position" (email id synced or restored sucessfully) regularly.

As it stands, this could not work with local mail clients because of the custom storage format. Why is that, gmail meta data?

It would be very impressive if gmailvault functionality could be combined with a local mail client then you could get both a full (uploadable to gmail) backup of the gmail-box and non-browser access.

No resume functionality? Or am I just missing something? I've got ~3 GB of emails in my Gmail, and GVault's ETA is 4 hours.

It already timed-out once (no discernable reason), and after restarting, went right to email number 1 (forgetting about the 1800 emails it had already gotten through).

Thanks for the feedback. There is a restart functionality use the --restart option (see gmvault sync -h for more info). Also note that when you restart from scratch, if the email has already been downloaded and is identical then the download is not performed. So only scanning the mailbox is faster than having downloads.

Regarding the timeout, please send me the error message you had and if it is a bug I will fix it but note that sometimes Gmail cut the connection without any reasons. There is also a retry reconnect process (up to 4 times) if it is not a fatal error (cannot recover from them).

Seems like this guy is getting the same error:


(Issue number 4 on the github project.)

I added my output to the issue.

I'm on Gmvault v1.0-beta from pypi. It doesn't recognize the --restart option. "gmvault: error: unrecognized arguments: --restart"

Restart doesn't seem to be available. https://github.com/gaubert/gmvault/issues/4

yes it is there for the restore operation but not for sync. It will be available in the next version (to be released in 2 weeks)

Does this use SSL to grab the emails?

Be default, yes: https://github.com/gaubert/gmvault/blob/master/src/gmv/imap_...

However, if I recall correctly, Python's built-in SSL support doesn't do certificate verification, so you're still completely open to man in the middle attacks.

That's a good point, and a tool like this probably really should be verifying the host.

(To the author) See http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1087227/validate-ssl-cert... for multiple options to accomplish this.

It didn't work for me (TypeError: 'NoneType' object is not iterable), I opened an issue on github.

Here's a workaround from the GH issue's comments:

Solution: set 'Show in IMAP' in Settings->Labels->All Mail on gmail.com


ok thanks. I will study the issue and fix it.

You might want to consider another name in light of the Google Vault product: http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/products.html...

Wow, very cool! This is exactly what I needed right now. I had bad dreams about what would happen if my Google account disappeared all of the sudden, but didn't do anything about it yet. Now I will be able to sleep better!

Has no one mentioned search? intra-gmail search is nothing short of an atrocity compared to the google.com search... A search feature capturing partial terms "Aft" in "Afternoon" would more than make this service viable.

I've been doing this for quite some time using getmail https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Backup_Gmail_with_getma...

It is only one way: Gmail to disk. When you restore the emails to a Gmail account you will loose part of the info (labels, ....).

"After that Gmvault will automatically authenticate itself using the credentials stored in $HOME/.gmvault (or %HOME%/.gmvault for Windows). " how are the credentials stored offline?

Probably as clear text. You can delete the file if you want to.

Nop they are stored encrypted with a key randomly generated

How is this better than http://code.google.com/p/got-your-back/ which does almost exactly the same thing?

When restoring a gmail account (say I want to upload all the backed-up emails to a new account), would the date information be preserved as well?

Yes of course. Date, Gmail labels and IMAP flags (READ, UNREAD, ...) are preserved. Otherwise it is a bug so please refer to http://gmvault.org/report_pb.html

Another question: Does gmvault work behind a proxy?

If the proxy let you connect to the Gmail IMAP server, I don't see why it wouldn't work

What is the switch to encrypt the archives? gmvault -e? I haven't been able to find it in the documentation.

Why would a techie need this product? We know how to turn on POP3 in a mail program.

Can this store mail in mbox format? In what header do the gmail labels go?

The source is pretty easy to read. Here's how it's working: https://github.com/gaubert/gmvault/blob/master/src/gmv/gmvau...

(It stores each mail in two separate files: a .eml file with the message body, and a .meta file with metadata.)

I will take that as a compliment. Yes files are all stored individually as .eml file. All the extra Gmail info (labels, ...) goes in .meta

Is there a way to make Thunderbird or Mac's Mail do the same thing?

What do you mean? By default, both Thunderbird and Mail.app should fully download and locally save an archive of your mail.

To verify this in Thunderbird, check out Tools -> Account Settings, then go to the "Synchronization & Storage" page. Make sure it's set to "Keep messages for this accounts on this computer," "Synchronize all messages locally regardless of age," and "Don't delete any messages." You can click the "Advanced..." button if you only want to sync certain folders.

To force a sync, you can go to File -> Offline -> Download/Sync Now, but you shouldn't ever have to do that with the above settings.

Yes, but it won't keep the gmail labels etc. And I doubt it would do a restore to gmail.

Ah, so this is the value-added proposition.

does this have any issues when you have 2-part authentication configured for Gmail? Well, I guess I'll find out in a second and report back :)

How does this compare to mbsync?

mbsync is a IMAP sync tool. Gmvault is a dedicated Gmail tool so it preserves all Gmail specific attributes like the labels, ... and allow you to restore all your emails in a Gmail account. With mbsync you might be able to upload your emails on a gmail account but you would then loose lots of information and your restored gmail account would be end up being very different.

Is there any data transmitted to servers other than Google's?

Nop of course not. You can check the sources to be sure that Gmvault is only talking to Gmail. You can also use XOAuth (token security mechanism) to allow Gmvault accessing your account. This is by the way the recommended authentication way.

OP: I understand I will collect down votes with this comment but, seriously, you gave credit to everybody in the footer except to Twitter Bootstrap, which you didn't even bother to personalize. Is that part of the brogrammer code, guzzle down some redbulls, fire up bootstrap and don't even bother about it?

Invest a bit of time in the looks of your service/startup, if it looks like the next service/startup, it's just another Boostrap themed website that people (I assume) are tired of.

Uuuuh I think there is scale issue. This is an open source tool that I am willing to support. I do not intend to create a start-up here. Still you are right and I will reference bootstrap.

I understand that and it's pretty awesome. Have the frontend on Github and I can help you tweak it out. Open source stuff should look awesome as well.

It is available on the gh-pages branch of the Gmvault github repository (https://github.com/gaubert/gmvault/tree/gh-pages). Pull it and submit your suggestions. Many thanks.

Crappy design + twitter bootstrap default = tab closed. If you are serious about releasing a product ffs make sure it's polished. If the attention to detail I see in the splash page is similar to the attention to detail in the actual product (which is what I assume automatically), my faith in it is close to zero.

This is ESPECIALLY important when I'm authorizing you with access to my emails -- and there is no way I would do that for someone that I assume is not serious about their product.

You left out the part where you were swirling your wine in its glass and adjusting your top hat while angling your nose sharply toward the sky.

HN is a place where lots of launches happen. A place where open mindedness is a plus. Seriously.. if this is actually your attitude, you might miss some cool things. Take a step away from the hive mindset every now and then.

There's no hive mindset here - I just looked at the page, noticed that it had really poor and sloppy design, and assumed that it was a poor and sloppy product. It's called 'judging a book by it's cover' and is something that everyone does automatically (regardless of the classic advice).

Craigslist aside, you'll be hard pressed to find a successful product that has no attention paid to design whatsoever. Design is important, and it makes me really sad to see it neglected, and so many people supporting not caring about design here (as indicated by comments like this and downvotes)

Design is important, but this project has a decent design, your prejudice against Bootstrap -which I'm pretty sure most people don't share- notwithstanding.

The typography is decent, the utility of the project is immediately understood (without even having to scroll), the call to action is present and it's two clicks from the main page to having the application downloading.

You're advocating for "prettiness," which is frankly the least important part of design.

I think you are misjudging. What if he spent a lot of time in the product making sure it works well without too much care for "shininess"? If anything, using twitter bootstrap shows that he cared a bit to make it look usable from a splash site point of view. I think we should give feedback on how the product is actually working rather than complaining that he's using twitter bootstrap.

Thanks for the support. I am not a designer, I am not working full time on this product and my free time is quite limited. Still I spent lots of time designing the logo. I kind of like it as it is very simple and tells you what the product is. Regarding the website, yes I used bootstrap because it is convenient and give you a good modern look quickly. I am not a web designer and didn't want to spend 60% of my project time on that part. For the moment I prefer to spend more time on the tool itself.

If somebody wants to help to improve the website and the documentation please contact me.

My taste for design is pretty weak, so I'm always interested in comments like this. The design looks OK to me. What are the problems with it?

The main issue, for me, is that "Gmvault Gmail Backup" and the logo are unbalanced. The logo is too big, and its colors could be more sophisticated. If those things were cleaned up it would look fine (unless you're allergic to boostrap).

Wow, really surprised this was downvoted. Perhaps it came off as too judgmental and arrogant - if that's the case I very much apologize - didn't intend it to be like that. Just a little tough love : )

I thought people here valued polish and attention to detail... while this may or may not be a fine product, nobody can deny that there was absolutely no effort put into the design. This is really significant - all the downvotes here indicate to me "fuck design, we don't care how your product looks" which is really backwards for hacker news...

In my experience most open source tools like this have a sentence-long description on their sourceforge page or a brief introduction on their github repo, which puts this miles ahead in terms of design effort.

This seems to be an unpopular idea but I completely agree. I don't mind the Bootstrap default theme, but the icon is bad enough that I lose trust in it.

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