Tuesday, December 21, 2010

embrace the Goog

I've been wanting to write this post for some time, and I've also been nervous to wear my fealty on my (blog) sleeve, but some conversation at a dinner party last night has motivated me to act.

I heard a complaint yesterday evening that struck me as very "2005", but I have to remind myself that I'm partly to blame for any lingering ignorance out there in the world about SPAM...that's right, I'm talking email here, and I'm looking at you LJB.

It may be that email and the internet were not what William Blake had in mind when he wrote about "innocence and experience", but I can say without reservation that my life was markedly different before and after gMail.

Oh, I had a Hotmail account.  I had an iName account.  I had a Yahoo! account, and prior to gMail I thought Yahoo! was the bomb...but on or about September 22, 2004, I went "live" on gMail and since then, well:

  • i haven't worried about storage for my email.  
    • "You are currently using 1730 MB (22%) of your 7532 MB."
    • I have 10828 messages in my inbox (messages that I want to keep)
    • and they are all easily and instantly searchable
      • i didn't "index" or "tag" or "sort" any of them, but i can find messages about anything, from anybody, in seconds
  • i haven't worried about SPAM in years
    • gMail automatically screens out the vast majority of SPAM messages
    • their built in screeners have improved year after year
    • when i create an account that requires i share an email address with some web merchant, i add a "filter" that sends their marketing past my inbox to a folder labeled "subscribed SPAM" - I never see it unless I want to
  • gMail serves as the core of a full suite of complementary services that i use all the time
    • calendar (as many separate calendars as I like; one to share with my wife, on for work, etc)
    • docs - a full suite of productivity software (all web based) including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation slides, drawing...again, all shareable across the web, allowing multiple users to see and/or edit IN REAL TIME
      • all of these productivity tools were in "the cloud" before people were even talking about the cloud.  I can access my documents/calendars/etc anywhere with internet access, on any machine (my mom's laptop, my phone, internet cafes, etc)
    • voice - a new phone number (it will rule them all, and in the darkness bind them)
      • free text messaging (from your mobile phone OR PC)
      • "visual" voicemail and transcriptions
      • VOIP calls over your internet connection, from your mobile or PC
    • the chat function in gMail is awesome, and the system automatically saves transcripts from chats for the same "searchable anytime" functionality
  • i use Blogger for this very blog...
What are the down sides?  Well, Google could shut it off.  They could turn out to be "evil".  They could use my information to market to me more effectively.  I recommend as safeguards against these bad case scenarios is the occasional offline back-up of important data saved to Google Docs.  That's about it.

 Don't believe that all web-based email services are the same.  Embrace the Goog. 


  1. I love it! I will continue to embrace the Goog.

    I've been forgetting to do that subscribed-spam filter trick. Thanks for the reminder.

    How do you do the backup you've described? That may be helpful info for your readers.

  2. Backup is an interesting topic...in Google Docs there is an "export" function that will allow you to create an "off-line" version of your docs in batch. If you only manage a few critical docs at a time, you can download them in various formats (.doc, .pdf, etc) and store them locally on your hard drive or on a back-up drive,

    gMail doesn't have the same "export" function readily available, but you can do a few things. Perhaps one of the easiest to create a level of redundancy for your "important" emails would be to create labels for those messages deemed critical; these messages could then be forwarded (automatically in some cases) to a non-gMail address, or those messages could be "printed" to a .pdf file and saved off-line.

    I've been hearing more people talking about services like DropBox or Amazon's hosting for an online option for data redundancy and back-up. This method is basically spreading the eggs among more "cloud" baskets for insurance against GOOG-collapse.

    What are some other simple options for backing up the important stuff that resides online?