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Offline Gmail Launched

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-believe-it-took-this-long dept.

Google 220

javipas writes "Google developers have announced a new feature part of Gmail Labs that everybody was waiting to see realized. Offline Gmail will allow users to have a partial copy of its Gmail account on their PCs, and access their messages while being offline. The magic of Google Gears comes to the rescue, but the process will not be complete. The syncronization will update the online and offline copies, but Google will use an algorithm that will determine the messages downloaded on each sync (the first being the most important) based on several parameters that point out that message's relevance. This measure will save the process from downloading pieces of information not quite as valuable. US and UK English users can enjoy this feature through the Gmail Labs section."

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IMAP (5, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637811)

Isn't this feature already available on Gmail through IMAP?

Re:IMAP (4, Informative)

Siffy (929793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637915)

IMAP and POP3 both. It even worked on my last phone, to the extent of the phone's capabilities of holding 100 e-mails.

Re:IMAP (3, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637971)

I use pop, but I don't remove my mail on gmail. So I have two copies - one on my laptop. If I don't have my laptop, I can check my mail at the website. What is the advantage of this new system ?

Re:IMAP (2, Funny)

PsyciatricHelp (951182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638165)

I don't get it. Other then dial up users how many people are ever really "Offline"? With internet access so easily accessible this seem like a bit of a waste.

Re:IMAP (3, Informative)

mrvan (973822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638227)

laptop + public transport

ie doing something about your email backlog while on the plane or in a train (for the Americans :-) [wikipedia.org] )

Re:IMAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638391)

Gee...never heard of a train before.

Ass

Re:IMAP (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638345)

At home, sure, "Offline" is an increasingly alien state. Out and about, though, there are still loads of places where finding a connection just so you can use your webmail for 50 seconds to load your eticket email, itinerary, or whatever is a giant pain in the ass.

Many airports, less civilized coffee shops, cabs, many train stations, and other such locations all tend to have no wifi or pay wifi; but are also locations where access to stored email would be handy.

Re:IMAP (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639069)

Frankly, "Offline" tends to be an increasingly alien state wherever I go.

GPRS and 3g connections tend to be available more or less everywhere - at least here in northern Europe.

Re:IMAP (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638229)

If you have ever had to walk a n00b, who thinks that webmail is email, through setting up POP3, then you would know the answer to that question.

This isn't about replacing POP3 or IMAP, those are unquestionably superior, this is about expanding the subset of POP3 or IMAP features that can be accessed by people whose technical knowledge doesn't extend far enough to set those up.

Re:IMAP (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638699)

... aka the clueless morons which will be polite and forward the warning that MSN will close down unless they mail 14 of their friends the same warning.

Re:IMAP (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638783)

the subset of POP3 or IMAP features that can be accessed by people whose technical knowledge doesn't extend far enough to set those up.

You mean people that haven't managed to follow a 5 step guide whose most difficult part is copy/paste, are using google gears & email? Scary times we live in!

Re:IMAP (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639011)

If you have ever had to walk a n00b, who thinks that webmail is email, through setting up POP3, then you would know the answer to that question.

Last time I checked, webmail is e-mail. Yeah, it may not be as fancy as IMAP, but it's definitely allowing said n00b to access his or her e-mail.

I am curious why IMAP is "unquestionably superior" compared to webmail. If we're talking about offline access...alright. You're right there. Any other reasons I don't know about?

Re:IMAP (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639187)

But why is POP3, IMAP and SMTP setup so convoluted in all clients? It should be enough to enter your email address and password. The client should be smart enough to deduce the server addresses from the domain (database, or check popular subdomains like mail.example.com and pop.example.com) and/or sniff for available protocols and encryption, or set up web2pop for webmail-only providers. Users could still enter everything manually if those heuristics aren't successful.

I know why Google does what it does, but that doesn't mean I like it. They should offer a smart client on top of open protocols, not instead.

Re:IMAP (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638265)

This system allows you to use the web interface without having to configure an e-mail client. The Google Gears plug-in already works in Docs and Reader in the background. This is one more step forward in making it acceptable for businesses.

Oh, and before FUDders like Gartner analyst David Smith [cnet.com] start the talking point of "New features help make Gmail more compelling for business customers, but for many, a bigger problem is the fact that Gmail still sports its beta tag. " Google Apps (including Gmail) isn't beta for paying customers [slashdot.org] .

Re:IMAP (0)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637943)

True, but here in the UK we don't have IMAP Gmail access.

We can change the account preferences and tell it we live in the USA. But hey-ho, I don't know why Google are reinventing the wheel by using Gears.

Re:IMAP (4, Informative)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638009)

Because Google is looking to create a full featured office suite, hence gears.

Re:IMAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638245)

Because some people like google's webif.

Re:IMAP (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638313)

True, but here in the UK we don't have IMAP Gmail access.

Um... yes, we do.
(At least, I do, and my account is set to UK. The IMAP folder that is normally called 'Trash' has been called 'Bin', I'm not sure why it took them so long to translate one word.)

Re:IMAP (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638375)

I'm set to 'English (UK)' and I have IMAP options on my 'Forwarding and POP/IMAP' tab - and I haven't ever played with my language settings.

Re:IMAP (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638525)

I like the Gmail interface much more than Thunderbird. Using Thunderbird, I never kept up with mailing lists; now I do. It's the conversation threading and that mail has three states (unread, read and archived) rather than two (unread and read).

Re:IMAP (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638803)

erm doesnt every mail client post 1970s have threading?

Re:IMAP (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638979)

including thunderbird. Just click the little hierarchical thread-thing header, all the way to the left.

Re:IMAP (1)

spisska (796395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639245)

erm doesnt every mail client post 1970s have threading?

Most major ones do. Except for Outlook.

Re:IMAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637965)

OK folks the point has been made you can stop repeating it now.

Re:IMAP (2, Insightful)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637991)

While this feature isn't for those well versed in POP3 and IMAP, people like my parents/grandparents would love something they could just download, didn't have to configure with "scary" pop3 info, and just worked. I won't use it, but I certainly see a portion of the population that would enjoy such it.

Re:IMAP (4, Insightful)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638631)

I'm technically inclined enough to set up IMAP and POP3, but I intend to use this feature. Why? Because I like the Gmail interface. I already use Google Docs and Spreadsheets in offline mode, and love it (there are, of course, some rough edges, but MS Word wasn't initially without a number of rough edges either - some would say it still has rough edges).

IMAP is great, but since I already have gears, why should I worry about setting up yet another application? I like the simplicity of Getting Things Done with just Google Apps in Firefox, and adding yet another interface just doesn't make sense.

Re:IMAP (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639229)

Because I like the Gmail interface.

That's a great point. What I really love about the g-mail interface it groups conversations into single threads and then color-codes the names of senders within the thread. I can fake something like this in Apple's Mail.app by using this hint [macosxhints.com] and then I have an Apple-script assigned to a hot-key that assigns a random color to the thread(see the comments, here [macosxhints.com] ), but it's not quite the same though and I have to hit the hot key each time I want to change the thread's color. I've been meaning to see if I can get Thunderbird to do this automagically.

Re:IMAP (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638793)

While this feature isn't for those well versed in POP3 and IMAP

It most certainly is. GMail's web client has, in my opinion, a better threaded view than any desktop client in existence.

Re:IMAP (3, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639073)

Only for very linear one dimensional definitions of 'thread'. High traffic mailing lists are pretty much unreadable in Gmail.

Re:IMAP (3, Insightful)

lrandall (686021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638515)

Only on Slashdot would this be moderated insightful. No, IMAP is *not* a replacement for what they are discussing. Although it technically might serve a similar purpose, in practice it suggests a completely different workflow. I, for one, only use Mail.app for business email accounts. I like the fact that my personal account is separate and available to me on any computer, anywhere, and I don't want an IMAP copy that I have to keep synchronised. 95% of the time that I need to use Gmail I am connected to the net. Now, this will happily cover the other 5%. Since I already (happily) use Gmail in my browser, it can sync in the background and let me use Gmail the way *I* want to, not the way technical limitations force me to.

Re:IMAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638557)

For those of us that already had a gig of email in our accounts when IMAP was rolled out, it isn't possible to use this on IMAP. Because of gmail timeouts, it's nearly impossible to download all of your email offline. This will be a great help!

Re:IMAP (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638649)

Yeah, I use it thru IMAP with OS X mail and it keeps a local copy.

Re:IMAP (1)

McPierce (259936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638869)

Or even via offlineimap. Why do we need yet another offline email solution when there are tools that exist already? Hell, Thunderbird can replicate your email locally.

checked my google labs (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637817)

I don't have this feature as an option.

Re:checked my google labs (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638539)

Why is this "redundant"? I don't have this option in Google Labs yet either, yet its apparently available for US and UK customers, its not available for me.

Yet one more client (2, Insightful)

bafio (879076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637831)

This entirely misses the point! I have this reliably working with IMAP, and for a long time. The whole point of the mobile interface is that you can use it on any machine and keep synced. This solution just creates one more, very imperfect, email client.

Re:Yet one more client (2, Insightful)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638019)

I guess the selling points include that the presentation and interface will be very similar, users won't have to learn about and setup an IMAP interface or a new e-mail client like Thunderbird (easy for some, but less so for others) and you can spend 0% effort on house-keeping without having your in-box balloon to giant proportions. You'd assume the algorithm's pretty good, so there's a high chance you'll get what you need during the time you're disconnected. Maybe it's not for everyone, but I can certainly see some use in it. I just wish Google-Notebook would finally get the same Gears treatment!

Re:Yet one more client (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638113)

They actually decided to give notebook the axe treatment instead.

Re:Yet one more client (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638357)

This is not "a client." This is the normal web interface with some help in the background to keep everything sync'ed up and working when the connection goes down, cleaning up when it comes back up. Repeat. This is just the same old web client. Plus.

Re:Yet one more client (2, Insightful)

Sturdy (1297351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638713)

I agree with you in principal, but think that your comment (and the MANY like it) actually miss the point of this new feature. This labs feature is NOT to replace POP or IMAP. It is for people who want to use the WEBMAIL interface even when they have no internet connection. The reasons for this could be many: perhaps they have no POP/IMAP client installed, do not know how to setup a local client, or simply prefer the Gmail interface. I don't know why - but I do know that we all know - and that the Google developers know - that IMAP and POP have been available for a long time!

Re:Yet one more client (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638715)

This solution just creates one more, very imperfect, email client.

Zawinski's Law [catb.org]

Why not just use a client? (0, Flamebait)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637855)

I've been using Thunderbird for a few years to download my gmail. What's the great news here?

Move along. Nothing to see here

Re:Why not just use a client? (5, Insightful)

c_fel (927677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637941)

Personnally I'd like to use the gmail interface while offline because I think no mail client has a better interface than Gmail's one.

The conversation mode is not just a thread mode : if you archive a thread but receives an answers related to this archived thread, the whole thread will come accompanied with the received message, which gives you the context of the message while facilitating the management of your inbox. If such a feature was implemented in a mail client, I would use the mail client.

Re:Why not just use a client? (0)

randomnote1 (1273964) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638035)

Apple's Mail works just as well as the Gmail interface because it also recognizes the conversations. I guess I will have to wait to see if there really is any benefit to using Gmail's client over Apples.

Re:Why not just use a client? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638225)

you don't have to buy a shit computer to use it?

Re:Why not just use a client? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638867)

Apple's Mail works just as well as the Gmail interface because it also recognizes the conversations.

Mail.app's threaded view isn't a patch on GMail's. Firstly, it doesn't show you the whole conversation in which you can expand and collapse particular messages. Secondly, it doesn't have that fantastic "show/hide quoted text" feature (which also contributes to the way that the preview sentence in the collapsed message view is usually the next sentence in the thread, rather than a quotation of the previous one).

I very much welcome Offline GMail.

Re:Why not just use a client? (2, Informative)

pato101 (851725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638071)

You can tweak Evolution to do conversation mode, by creating a search folder with both your inboxes and sent folders, and then enabling threads. You can switch easily to classic folders and come back again to "a la gmail" search folder. It is really sweet.

Re:Why not just use a client? (2)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638989)

If such a feature was implemented in a mail client, I would use the mail client.

So use a client where the threading mode is configurable, and additionally gives you the ability to link threads.

I use mutt, and regularly link threads. But that's mostly to correct the errors by folks who don't understand threading, and relying on "conversations" feature of their email client, screw things up for the rest of us.

Re:Why not just use a client? (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637953)

Absolutely agree.

Thunderbird does a fine job and is cross platform. I use kdocker [sourceforge.net] to dock it away and leave it running in the background. (alternatively use AllTray [trausch.us] to avoid QT dependency)

Re:Why not just use a client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637985)

That you don't have to use Thunderbird to download your email.

Re:Why not just use a client? (1)

simplu (522692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638425)

It is not the same thing. If you download messages with POP3 you can access them only from your PC. Even with IMAP you don't have contacts from Gmail interface. Using this feature you have all the things in one place, you can access them from any computer and on your PC you can have them even offline.

Re:Why not just use a client? (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638805)

If you download messages with POP3 you can access them only from your PC.

No.

Re:Why not just use a client? (1)

DBCubix (1027232) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638481)

Thunderbird!?! Real men use Pine!

Re:Why not just use a client? (2, Funny)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638679)

These kids nowadays. Real men telnet to port 110!

More marketing (0, Troll)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637909)

I guess it's just more Marketing bullshit.

gmail != thunderbird & imap (5, Insightful)

phyrz (669413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637911)

The difference would be that the gmail interface is different to the thunderbird interface and I happen to like the gmail one better?

Re:gmail != thunderbird & imap (1)

cronostitan (573676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638409)

The difference would be that the gmail interface is different to the thunderbird interface and I happen to like the gmail one better?

I prefer the Thunderbird interface - the only thing that really sucks in Thunderbird is the search 'feature'. I find myself opening my gmail account using the webinterface if I want to quickly search a bunch of emails because the Thunderbird search makes me upset everytime.

Re:gmail != thunderbird & imap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638689)

Google Desktop and Thunderbird are a good combo on Windows, although the Mac version isn't quite equivalent (for one thing you have to hack in Thunderbird support)

Wow... (2, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26637925)

You mean Google-eyed emailers will now be able to do something which POP3 MUAs have been doing for, what, 20+ years, and IMAP for 15? How innovative of them.

Re:Wow... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26637993)

Oh shut up. gmail offers both POP3 and IMAP.

Re:Wow... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638683)

Surely that makes it seem even more redundant...

I could be missing something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638005)

But this seems to be broken in Chrome. I can turn it on in FF, but radio switches don't render correctly in Chrome.

About 10 years too late (1, Interesting)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638029)

It's 2009. With smartphones, wireless broadband cards for laptops, and the wide availability of broadband Internet access, how often does someone use an email-capable computer that is not also connected to the Internet with one of the above connections?

Offline Gmail will still have its uses, and many power uses will no doubt enjoy this, but I think this would have been real "front page news" back when dial-up was the ubiquitous connection method.

Re:About 10 years too late (1, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638057)

1) "Power Users"
2) signed with your username
3) FAIL

Re:About 10 years too late (1)

Krupuk (978265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638109)

... 4) PROFIT???

Re:About 10 years too late (2, Insightful)

.tom. (25103) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638241)

A few possible reasons:
  • Wireless broadband is not cheap.
  • Wireless broadband is not available location
  • Wireless broadband is not that fast (or at least not always), fast enough for a dozen of emails, but possibly not fast enough if hundreds of emails with attachements.

Broadband is far from universally available... (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639311)

With smartphones, wireless broadband cards for laptops, and the wide availability of broadband Internet access, how often does someone use an email-capable computer that is not also connected to the Internet with one of the above connections?

When you're in an airplane? When you're visiting your parents, who still only have crappy dialup service? When you're visiting someone else's office, and you can't get into their wired network, the 3g network is too weak (or you don't have an air card, as I don't), and they don't have a wireless network available to you (our building has coverage only in certain areas)?

This capability definitely has some uses.

"process not complete"? I'll stick with POP (4, Informative)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638095)

I'm a huge Gmail fan, but - I'll always want to keep a full backup of what I send and receive, and POP does that just fine for me & family.

FTA: "Google ruled out the option of letting users replicate their entire Gmail inboxes to their PCs, which in many cases would translate into gigabytes of data flowing to people's hard drives. It instead developed algorithms that will automatically determine which messages should be downloaded to PCs, taking into consideration a variety of factors that reflect their level of importance to the user, he said. At this point, end-users will not be able to tweak these settings manually."

So, urm, no thanks!

Re:"process not complete"? I'll stick with POP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26639147)

I agree with the sentiment "always want to keep a full backup of what I send and receive".

That said offline access != backup. On my home Mac, I keep Mail.app + Time Machine running so that I always have a backup of my GMail-based messages.

What this provides, however, is a method of using the application, within the context of the GMail UI, when my internet connection is down. I prefer the GMail UI to any desktop-based email client. (Many will disagree on this, but I am astounded at how bad "modern" desktop email clients are at managing large volumes of email.)

In other news... (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638139)

Google releases new tool to find text inside a document, offline, without having to resort to finding that document online and searching through it with google.

Still surprised about the novelty of such a new development in computer science as a whole, tens of users are already planning to use it soon.

Some reviews from the betatesters:
"What?" - Billy.
"Que?" - Juan.
"300G for $1" - Chinese WoW farmer.

"synchro-" not "syncro-" (1)

cohomology (111648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638145)

s/syncronization/synchronization/

My various print dictionaries do not have any words with the prefix syncro- ,
nor anything related starting with cron-. Think chronology, chronograph, etc.

Re:"synchro-" not "syncro-" (5, Funny)

duguk (589689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638551)

s/syncronization/synchronization/

My various print dictionaries do not have any words with the prefix syncro- , nor anything related starting with cron-. Think chronology, chronograph, etc.

Crontab? :o)

WHATWG-style offline apps? (1)

Asztal_ (914605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638197)

I hope it also supports WHATWG-style offline apps. I don't much fancy installing Gears just to get something my browser already has.

Copy Yahoo Mail's Calendar Option (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638215)

I really love Yahoo Mail's calendar option. It scrolls below the text composing area with important world events and also includes the user's own input. To me, this is better than Gmail's calendar implementation.

Is there a GreaseMonkey script to change this?

Interface. (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638219)

Why offline GMail? The interface. I love the GMail interface and far prefer it to any mail client I've ever used. (I heard Eudora was going to do an upgrade on Thunderbird, and I'm looking forward to trying it because those were my previous favorites for interface and stability, respectively.)

It sounds like I won't have access to -all- my mail, though, and that's not acceptable.

Someone else pointed out that smartphones and nearly ubiquitous internet connections are making 'offline email' less and less of a problem, though. Since I finally bought a G1, I have to agree. The interface on it is good enough that I don't feel the need to walk to a computer to check my mail now.

This still doesn't implement the feature I want (1)

MindPhlux (304416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638221)

What I really want is to be able to use Gmail as a offline client for multiple IMAP boxes - not just to download my imap messages to Google's servers. It's a step in the right direction, but until it can do everything a normal offline client like Thunderbird or Outlook can do, it's just not quite there yet.

Missing the point (5, Informative)

Admodieus (918728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638273)

While you can use Outlook or Mail.app or Thunderbird to access your GMail via POP3 or IMAP, that's not the point. After all, if you're only going to be using Outlook to get it, why not use Hotmail via the Outlook Connector that synchronizes your email, calendar, and contacts better than Gmail IMAP and Calendar Sync does?

No, the important development here is that now, you don't need an email client. Ever. again. Install Gears, and you can access GMail even when you're on a train or a flight. Moreover, you can set it up as a launchable application from your desktop using Prism, install GMail Notifier, and have the Notifier use Prism as the default "browser" to launch for :mailto links.

The reason most (if not all of us) switched to and stayed with GMail in the first place back in 2004 and 2005 was the interface. Sure, it gave you a ton of storage space compared to Hotmail and Yahoo, but they've since caught up. What Microsoft and Yahoo haven't matched since then is the interface. Show a user IMAP through Thunderbird and Gmail side-by-side and see what interface they prefer.

Also, for businesses that have switched to Google Apps, this provides assurance that critical email correspondence can be accessed even during network or Gmail outages. That's a huge bullet point that Google can use when trying to convince people to adopt their Apps for Domain.

Re:Missing the point (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638419)

The reason most (but not all of us) switched to and stayed with GMail in the first place back in 2004 and 2005 was the interface.

There, fixed that for you.

You might trust Google with your e-mail, but not everyone does.

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638763)

Well if by 'us' he means those people that switched to GMail, which is how I read it, then he is still quite right.

There is no denying it, that interface is slick.

Re:Missing the point (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638925)

I think what he meant was:

The reason that most people who switched to and stayed with GMail in the first place back in 2004 and 2005 did so was the interface.

Re:Missing the point (4, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638767)

No, the important development here is that now, you don't need an email client. Ever. again. Install Gears, and you can access GMail even when you're on a train or a flight. Moreover, you can set it up as a launchable application from your desktop using Prism, install GMail Notifier, and have the Notifier use Prism as the default "browser" to launch for :mailto links.

So:
Option 1) Install Thunderbird on every PC, set up connection to gmail

Option 2) Install Gears, Prism, Gmail notifier and/or whatever, set up connection to gmail

Re:Missing the point (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638801)

No, the important development here is that now, you don't need an email client ... The reason most (if not all of us) switched to and stayed with GMail in the first place back in 2004 and 2005 was the interface ... Show a user IMAP through Thunderbird and Gmail side-by-side and see what interface they prefer.

Sorry, to put it kindly, the above is no different from the advocacy and arguments put forward by WebTV and AOL users. They, too, are very happy with their setup.

I've had a Gmail account for years, but wouldn't consider "switching" to it (whatever that means), am not impressed with it's features or its interface, and the spam filtering doesn't impress me. And given the choice between Thunderbird (which I don't use) or Gmail, I'd pick Thunderbird.

Absurd from your point of view? Hardly. I recognise that while my needs are hardly unique, they're obviously not the same as yours. Or any other person who uses email.

Re:Missing the point (1)

scientus (1357317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639111)

but you need a web browser with gears, which is just about no browser in their default configuration (except chromium)

while IMAP clients have had this for years

Ever heard about IMAP4? (1, Informative)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638323)

I have Offline gmail since long now, thanks to IMAP4 and the "disconnected IMAP" by KMail [kde.org] .

not yet available to all people (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638333)

Just looked in labs. No option for me. Must be rolling it out in waves or something.

Missing the point? (1)

Calsar (1166209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638349)

It seems like people are missing the point. Yes there are many clients available to download your email to your local machine. The important part is that you now have a client that blurs the lines between desktop applications and web based applications. Yes I know it's been done before, but not in an application as ubiquitous as Gmail. Occasionally connected applications like this are a step to all those buzz words people keep throwing around like cloud computing and death of the desktop.

When is anyone offline? (1)

bossanovalithium (1396323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638471)

seriously, you can get wifi on planes now. 3g on your phone ... I use google reader on the train on the way to work, and use gchat on the train on the way home. It's easy to be connected.

Re:When is anyone offline? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638681)

Thanks for assuming your access/habits/behaviors are the norm for everyone. This type of thinking is what makes the world such a wonderful, understanding place.

Re:When is anyone offline? (1)

bossanovalithium (1396323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638717)

Miaow! Come on, as someone pointed out this is available on imap, it's not news. Who really reads offline?

not news? (1)

TheDrewbert (914334) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638501)

Favorite email client + IMAP = done Favorite email client + POP3 = done

this is good *because* people are rarely offline (3, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638603)

The two arguments against this seem to be (1) people rarely are offline, and (2) IMAP and POP already do this.

Well, if you put those two together, you know why this is a good thing: Gmail+Gears is good for people who are out of touch a few times a year (airplane etc.) and don't want the hassle of setting up a separate mail client and the bother of learning two different mail clients.

And a hassle it is. Right now, I use Thunderbird for off-line access, and I use it so rarely that on the few occasions I start it up, things usually take forever to sync and nothing works quite right.

Backing up personal data in the "cloud" (2, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638635)

I use GData APIs to backup my Google docs and about once a week use POP3 to locally backup my Gmail. I require/want data formats that are open and easy to process with Ruby scripts, etc. I export my Google docs in OpenOffice.org format (check!). POP3 mailbox data is easy to process (check!).

How easy it is to access Gears local data? Is the file format well documented? (Why look it up when I can ask Slashdot :-)

Re:Backing up personal data in the "cloud" (2, Informative)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638775)

Answer to my own question: Gears is just using embedded sqlite - should be easy to access local email, docs, google reader data, etc. in my own programs (check!)

No joy. (1)

jeepien (848819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638657)

Must not be fully rolled out yet. I looked in the "Labs" section and it's not there yet. Yes, I'm a US user.

"borrowing" wireless (2, Informative)

MilesNaismith (951682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638769)

So the GOOG gives a wink-wink to network intrusion: ".....And if you're on an unreliable or slow connection (like when you're "borrowing" your neighbor's wireless), ....."

Tested under Ninnle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26638851)

Google has been working closely with Ninnle Labs on this, and the next release of Ninnle Office, soon to be in beta, will sport a module of this, appropriately titled NinnleMail.

Exchange Server (0)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26638907)

Nice, but it still doesn't compare to an Exchange Server, which are impressively cheap through hosting companies.

Re:Exchange Server (1)

expat.iain (1337021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639169)

I'd sooner use RFC1149 [ietf.org] to transport my emails.

Regs.

Iain.

IMAP (1)

scientus (1357317) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639093)

this has existed for ever, in gmail they simply had to reinvent it cause they got rid of it with their web interface.

WOW

</sarcasm\%rt;

Summary (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26639281)

This measure will save the process from downloading pieces of information not quite valuable.

That's all well and good, but who's going to save me from reading Slashdot summaries not quite grammatical?

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