Trying out Gmail

Everyone and their friends seems to be using Gmail lately and I agree: The application has a clean interface, a very powerful search feature and is easily accessible from anywhere.

I have my Gmail address from back in the days when invites were scarce and the term AJAX wasn’t even a term yet, but I never go around to really take advantage of the services as I just don’t see myself checking various email accounts at various places – at least not for serious business.

But now I found a way to put gmail to the test as my main email application – at least for a week or two.

My main mail storage is and will be our Exchange server. I have multiple reasons for that

  1. I have all my email I ever sent or received in that IMAP account. That’s WAY more than the 2.8 GB you get in Gmail and even if I had enough space there, I would not want to upload all my messages there.
  2. I don’t trust gmail to be as diligent with the messages I store there as I would want it to. I managed to keep every single email message from 1998 till now and I’d hate to lose all that to a “glitch in the system”.
  3. I need IMAP access to my messages for various purposes.
  4. I need the ability of a strong server-side filtering to remove messages I’m more or less only receiving for logging purposes. I don’t want to see these – not until I need them. No reason to even have them around usually.

So for now I have added yet another filter to my collection of server-side filters: This time I’m redirecting a copy of all mail that didn’t get filtered away due to various reasons to my Gmail address. This way I get to keep all mail of my various aliases all at the central location where they always were and I can still use Gmail to access the newly arrived messages.

Which leaves the problem with the sent messages which I ALSO want to archive at my own location – at least the important ones.

I fixed this by BCCing all Mail I’m writing in gmail to a new alias I created. Mail to that alias with my Gmail address as sender will be filtered into my sent-box by Exchange so it’ll look as though I sent the message via Thunderbird and then uploaded the copy via IMAP.

I’m happy with this solution, so testing Gmail can begin.

I’m asking myself: Is a tag based storage system better than a purely search based (the mail I don’t filter away is kept in one big INBOX which I access purely via search queries if I need something)? Is a web based application as powerful as a mail client like Thunderbird or Apple Mail? Do I unconsciously use features I’m going to miss when using Gmail instead of Apple Mail or Thunderbird? Will I be able to get used to the very quick keyboard-interface to gmail?

Interesting questions I intend to answer.

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