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The Inside Story of Gmail On Its Tenth Anniversary

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop dept.

Communications 142

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Google officially — and mischievously — unveiled Gmail on April Fools' Day 2004. That makes this its tenth birthday, which I celebrated by talking to a bunch of the people who created the service for TIME.com. It's an amazing story: The service was in the works for almost three years before the announcement, and faced so much opposition from within Google that it wasn't clear it would ever reach consumers." Update: 04/01 13:37 GMT by T : We've introduced a lot of new features lately; some readers may note that with this story we are slowly rolling out one we hope you enjoy -- an audio version of each Slashdot story. If you are one of the readers in our testing pool, you'll hear the story just by clicking on it from the home page as if to read the comments; if you're driving, we hope you'll use your mobile devices responsibly.

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NSA mail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629393)

10G of storage in exchange of your privacy.

Re:NSA mail (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 4 months ago | (#46629471)

Enjoy reading my 10 Gb of spam!

Re:NSA mail (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#46630777)

The moment I read it would place ads by scanning my email contents I swore to stay away. Never touched it. Tho is is why I always had a mac.com address, even though it was $99/yr. At least I knew how much I was paying. And don't fool yourself, whether a service is paid or ad-supported, you pay either way.

The only sad part is that google is still indexing all the mail that I send to a gmail address, and adding that to a dossier about me.

Re:NSA mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629585)

NSA mail

Oh, time for another Scroogling, is it?

Carry on, you 'Softies need to get your two minutes of hate in.

Re:NSA mail (1)

platypussrex (594064) | about 4 months ago | (#46629669)

On the subject of April Fools, does anyone else miss the days when /. had an awesome page of nothing but April Fools articles for the day?

Re:NSA mail (5, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#46629753)

Naw, we do it every day now...

Re:NSA mail (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#46629935)

yeah didn't they do that last year? but at least now they have audio to read the page to you...

Re:NSA mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630009)

No, it was absolutely intolerable. This one is funnier and better.

Re:NSA mail (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 4 months ago | (#46630383)

Put on your headphones....

Re:NSA mail (1)

mlw4428 (1029576) | about 4 months ago | (#46630737)

You're crazy if you actually believed you had any privacy in email. It's data sent over a medium that is publicly accessible. If you want a reasonable expectation of privacy you encrypt -- with an encryption method that is publicly vetted and with the understanding that encryption is a deterrent and isn't a guarantee. Just like if you're walking a sidewalk in the middle of NYC you should never expect privacy on the internet. The NSA is hardly likely to be the ONLY group watching and reading and listening to every bit of data you're putting out on the internet and there's likely hundreds of other groups working to tie that data to you directly.

Sort It. (4, Insightful)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 4 months ago | (#46629427)

Ten years, perhaps they'll be able to enable name/subject 'sort' soon.

All they've done is make the UI completely unintuitive, I haven't seen any useful changes over the last ten years, just adverts and the continuous nagging and coercion to use Google-plus.

Re:Sort It. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629733)

I agree. It seems to be the new trend in software and business in general. "Innovation" and "the way forward" seems to be forcing users into the choices made by designers and approved by CxOs and marketers. I see the same issue at the company where I work. I am on the management team and attend various off-site team building brainstorming sessions. I play along to keep my job but believe it is 90% BS. They are essentially teaching the CxOs to ignore reason and go with their gut instincts. To innovate and force change through the organization. I believe that bad change meets resistance, but good change does not. Whenever something new and great comes along people will move to it in droves. When something bad comes along people resist and complain. CxOs are being taught that the resistance to change is hurting their company and goals and they must plow forward and force the change. In the process they are pushing the company over the cliff.

Re:Sort It. (1)

rex_s (2562299) | about 4 months ago | (#46630785)

ANY change meets resistance from userspace. You want me to start changing my password, and I can't use my name? I don't like it, Sir.

Re:Sort It. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46631179)

Not true as far as "any change". If that were true then we would all be living like the Amish. How quickly did people adapt to electricity, cars, computers, the internet, smart phones, many other examples. People very quickly adapt to change that helps them in some way. People are adverse to change that disrupts them, like changing a password. Some disruptive change it good. The problem is that business management are being taught that people resist ANY change and it is their job to force change. A group of people that already have huge egos now think they are right in every case and anyone who resists the stupidest of ideas is just a stubborn old fart.

The vast majority of what I hear recently where people are resisting change is just sour grapes on the part of the people trying to impose the change. They have no valid technical argument so they use "people are stubborn" as there excuse and use whatever power at their disposal to force the change that they happen to like. Re: gnome2/3, old/new gmail and many other examples.

Inventing the "next big thing" is good. The problem now is that ego driven developers/companies are convinced they have the next big thing even when they miss the mark. So rather than listening to feedback and trying to hit the mark they plow forward with what they happen to like. Fuck the users they are just stubborn.

Re:Sort It. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46631285)

You mean, like, SD BETA ?

Re:Sort It. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46631441)

Fuck beta. Or is that passe' now. I cant keep up with all the trends.

Re:Sort It. (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46630345)

What's funny is the nagging only gets worse when you actually use Google+
It's so bad I don't even log into Google+ if I can help it. I follow some people on there, and I post stuff but the pop-up nagging for me to invite everyone I know constantly is very annoying. Now they have a "Selfie" popup encouraging me to take pictures of myself and post them... wtf?

Re:Sort It. (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#46630771)

I'm not sure whether to interpret that selfie thing as an April Fools joke or not...if not, it's one of the most narcissistic and completely pointless things I've heard of in a long time.

Re:Sort It. (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 4 months ago | (#46631445)

Now they have a "Selfie" popup encouraging me to take pictures of myself and post them... wtf?

Lol, I got that today, what better way to ID you better, perhaps it was the NSA's idea.

Re:Sort It. (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#46630371)

This is exactly right. Gmail was pretty innovative when it came out (most mailreaders couldn't handle conversation threading then, and tagging is much more useful than folders), but what have they done since then? Nothing really, other that slap an uglier UI on it.

The other responder is correct: this seems to be the new trend in software. Nothing really innovative or better is done much any more, instead features are removed and things are dumbed down, and on top of that UIs have gotten much uglier.

Re:Sort It. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630605)

I am not sure, but when I look for emails from Tim I am not really interested in a list that shows they come "after" emails from Tania and "before" emails from Tony - after all, Tim, Tania and Tony are usually not related to each other in any significant way. Same with the subject - keyword search is everything I need. However, I trust you have your reasons, this is /. after all, so I wonder - what's your use case for sorting?

Externally commissioned product? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about 4 months ago | (#46629453)

I'm pretty sure they created it for Google, not for TIME.com.

Re:Externally commissioned product? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629589)

Despite writing for Time.com, it looks like Harry McCracken has problems with clarity in writing. It should read something like:

"That makes this its tenth birthday, which I celebrated for TIME.com by talking to a bunch of the people who created the service"

Or something.

Happy Scrooglversary from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629493)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Scrooglversary from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46631337)

Seriously, CONFIDANTE, how many fucking times do people have to correct you? Could you not at least update the copypasta? Moron.

Interesting bit of history. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629511)

I didn't know Gmail was created for TIME.com!

TL;DR (3, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#46629529)

Early use by a major company of Javascript consuming XML-based web services. Successfully leveraged Google's search engine. Design conflicted with the all-on-one-page "portal" paradigm of the time. Text ads instead of banner ads, and controversial because they were tied to the content of the messages. Original cluster was 300 servers.

It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629543)

Yesterday some lamestream media news ran a story about all the things Google "innovated" with Gmail... things like "more storage" and "searching by keywords" and being able to flag emails as important.
 
Just more proof of how much kool-aide the Googleheads drink.
 
It's an ok service for what it is but let's not get out of hand about it. There's nothing worth note except for Google putting tons of money into storage for the end user. But hey, when you mine you stand to reap more with a larger claim, right?

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#46629577)

I'm going to have to stop you there.

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629687)

Whatever, dillhole. You know it's true.

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | about 4 months ago | (#46629701)

He's right you know, back when Gmail first came out I was amazed at how it was not much better than hotmail and the email provided by my ISP and Outlook Express.
Oh wait, no, that's no right is it? That's not right at all!

Everybody used hotmail or their ISPs email servers.
They accessed it with POP and all their mail resided on a windows 98 machine which kept losing it all.

To my memory It's the first example of a web-application with cloud backed storage.
At the time it blew my mind.
It was also the 2nd example of the single-text-box-searched-all-meta-data paradigm that treats the the backing store as a blackbox db type affair.
You don't file anything as such, you just search for what you want.
First I saw was iTunes and how it just stored music, er, somewhere and you just typed a few letters from the album name.
Amazing how that idea de-cluttered everything.

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#46630405)

Gmail certainly allowed you to file things, in fact I've been using it that way since the beginning. Gmail did it better, too, since it had tagging instead of regular folders (many times, an email or conversation will apply to more than one of my tags; you can't do that with folders).

The main "killer features" of Gmail when it came out were:
1) tagging instead of folders
2) extremely fast search (keyword here is "fast")
3) message threading/conversations
4) lots of storage space, far far more than competing services

Of course, not all of these are advantages any more; competing services seem to have caught up on #4 for instance.

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630721)

Tagging and filing are not the same thing. I can appreciate that you like one over the other that I'm not fond of but it's not the same thing.

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (1)

HybridST (894157) | about 4 months ago | (#46630873)

Correct, they are not the same thing.

Tagging can contain the structure of a folder system with inherant deduplication of data. 1 tag per foldername contained in path. Done. Then you can add the file to another "folder" by adding a tag. Search for your regular foldername and you have your "folder" without browsing an entire hierarchy of foldernames.

That being said I don't really tag my files - I use folder hierarchies and don't worry about dupes (this is /. after all). I can see the expanded utility of tags though especially from a "searchable data" perspective.

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 months ago | (#46630947)

Folders are a subset of tagging. You can replicate folder functionality with tagging, but not vice versa. Gmail even has folder hierarchies built-in, using the "/" separator: you can create tags like "Personal/PersonA" and "Personal/PersonB", giving you a "Personal" folder with two sub-folders "PersonA" and "PersonB", and you can expand or collapse that "Person" folder. Of course, it's not really a folder, but you can't tell the difference, except that one email thread can be tagged with both "Personal/PersonA" and "Personal/PersonB" tags, so that that conversation will show up in a search limited to either "folder".

Re:It's teh googlezzzz!!!! (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#46630817)

It was also the 2nd example of the single-text-box-searched-all-meta-data paradigm that treats the the backing store as a blackbox db type affair.

A paradigm that has reached its inevitable irritating conclusion in the Chrome Unified All Things Box that you type an URL slightly wrong in and it searches instead.

Firefox: Because if I want to search, I'll use the search bar, god damn it! (although I had to figure out how to disable it when FF turned on the same exact thing in *their* address bar for some weird reason)

conversational format (4, Interesting)

trybywrench (584843) | about 4 months ago | (#46629545)

Wasn't Gmail the first to introduce the conversational layout? I remember the first time I saw it I was blown away over how simple the idea was yet how much impact it made on UX. Also, IIRC Gmail was the first to get Ajax right in a mail client, I remember being impressed when they embedded a GTalk client right there in mail. Then I think Google Calendar followed then docs with App Engine in there somewhere too. No matter your feelings on Google the company the software that sprang from Gmail is amazing.

Re:conversational format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629633)

Don't forget the Spam filtering. Pretty much the best in the business...

Re:conversational format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629721)

I love memory hogging websites too!

Re:conversational format (4, Funny)

Tink2000 (524407) | about 4 months ago | (#46629785)

What? Are you using a potato for RAM or something?

Re:conversational format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629925)

This made my day. Thanks for this comment.

Re:conversational format (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | about 4 months ago | (#46629729)

It was several personal firsts for me:

1) First conversational layout for email
2) First AJAX web application
3) First cloud backed app
4) 2nd single-box-search app, no filing required by the user (1st I saw was iTunes)

Re:conversational format (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#46629865)

It most certainly was not the first AJAX web application, as the whole XmlHttpRequest object was originally conceived by Microsoft for the Outlook Web Access portal four whole years before Gmail launched, and Oddpost was the first public webmail system to be AJAX based.

Re:conversational format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630173)

6.) Prettiest NSA mousetrap

Re:conversational format (2)

Bogtha (906264) | about 4 months ago | (#46629773)

If they weren't the first with conversational layout, they were the ones that popularised it.

They didn't get Ajax right. They just based their user interface around it, which none of the other major webmail providers were doing. This made things a lot faster, which most users appreciated. In fact, their use of Ajax was pretty lousy. You couldn't even open an email in a new window because instead of using proper links and hooking into them with Ajax, they concocted fake links based on spans that could only work with Ajax.

Re:conversational format (2)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 4 months ago | (#46631283)

Gmail was an early pioneer in using the URL hash to track state, so that eg, the Back button worked properly with Ajax. They deserve credit for that.

And yes, I remember being annoyed about not being able to open links in a new window... for about 10 seconds, before discovering the "Open in new window" function they provided, which rendered that pretty moot.

Re:conversational format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630035)

>Wasn't Gmail the first to introduce the conversational layout?
Not hardly. Maybe first *web* mail client, but conversational layout is as old as usenet.

I think they definitely did ajax better than anyone else at the time. And the starting GB of mail space was amazing. I had a hotmail account and was constantly bumping up against my max storage. Today, I've got about 7 GB free for email.

Re:conversational format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630687)

Then they went ahead and created a button for Contacts right there in gmail... but let you only see contacts OR email.... preventing you from cutting and pasting from one to the other.

Re:conversational format (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#46630849)

Email services had been including the previous emails below the reply, indented, for ages. With Gmail, when non-Gmail people email you, you now have that pointlessly duplicated across the conversation view still, don't you? Although they fold it or something. I don't know; I disabled it awhile back.

Re:conversational format (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 months ago | (#46631111)

Wasn't Gmail the first to introduce the conversational layout? I remember the first time I saw it I was blown away over how simple the idea was yet how much impact it made on UX.

Not quite, Microsoft Outlook had conversational layout [microsoft.com] in 2003. There are probably other programs that had it even earlier than that, but Outlook was probably one of the most mainstream.

The improvement that Google made was that the conversation included the emails you sent, not just the ones you received. Sadly, it took another 7 years before Microsoft got around to updating Outlook to include that feature.

memories (3, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | about 4 months ago | (#46629623)

"Bidding for invites on eBay sent prices shooting up to $150 and beyond"

Things cooled down quickly. My first sent message was to my dad, on June 27, telling him that I bought an invite on eBay for $1.50.

Also fun to read Slashdot's original coverage of the launch. [slashdot.org]

"It is a joke, it's going to have to go down in history as one of the biggest pranks ever pulled... both the AP and Reuters have put out wire stories which means it's going to be in hundreds of newspapers tomorrow morning."

Good stuff, Google. Though I wish you'd learn that "sort" is as useful as "search".

Re:memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629977)

My first and only EBay sell was a gmail invite for a dollar or two.

gmail is a gamma now (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about 4 months ago | (#46629631)

I can't believe gmail is actually ten years old.
Is it finally out of Beta also?

Re:gmail is a gamma now (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | about 4 months ago | (#46629863)

Only if you don't run the add-in which puts "Beta" back in the corner.

Why I never created a Gmail account (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#46629635)

Back in the days, Google was still seen as a benevolent company that innovated for the sake of innovation - and not to sell your data to the highest biddest and monetize your entire life, as everybody now knows. Yet I didn't want a Gmail account.

Why? Because at the beginning, Gmail was invite-only. And that my friends is a classic sales tactic to generate a false impression of privilege, the desire to be allowed in, and when a vendor has to rely on such tactics to drive up sales, something doesn't smell right.

That was my first hint that Google's interest wasn't the user'.

Re:Why I never created a Gmail account (4, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#46629781)

According to the article, that was because they didn't have the resources to support an unlimited user roll out.

Re:Why I never created a Gmail account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630341)

If that was true, then the solution would have been "first come, first served", not "social status, first served".

Re:Why I never created a Gmail account (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 months ago | (#46630481)

They did that again when they created Google Wave, and it made some sense as Wave was complex and resource intensive, but they never opened it fully up. And again when they created G+ they did the same... which went a long way towards keeping it from being any real kind of success.

It may have sense for Gmail. but they've kept to the same pattern.

'island never cries' lyric mistaken? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629651)

conceding falling rocks feel nothing http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=submerged+island+tears the tearful natives (us) feel everything. beware falling gargoyles...

No way. (1)

sootman (158191) | about 4 months ago | (#46629657)

I don't believe that gmail is 10 years old today. This must be a hoax!

Re:No way. (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#46630887)

Everyone knows that GMail was created last Tuesday as is. It only seems to be 10 years old to those who don't have the faith to see through the deception.

I hate gmail. (3, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | about 4 months ago | (#46629663)

I don't actually like to read my gmail. Its a horrid interface. No folders (no, I'm not going to search, TYVM) and the "folder" work around is a kludge doesn't cut it for me. Yahoo up until recently had the most powerful interface. But no SSL after login. Then they started limiting page sizes rather than continuous.

I'm thinking Horde Mail/GroupWare on a reliable cloud provider would be the way to go. But you can't leave google behind because of the drive, docs and all that stuff.

Re:I hate gmail. (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46630033)

I don't actually like to read my gmail. Its a horrid interface.

You actually use Gmail via the website and not via IMAP?

 

Re:I hate gmail. (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 4 months ago | (#46630865)

Yes. If I use IMAP, then why use gmail at all?

Re:I hate gmail. (4, Informative)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 4 months ago | (#46630953)

Yes. If I use IMAP, then why use gmail at all?

Storage and Spam filter.

Re:I hate gmail. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630741)

I'm no fan of the new Yahoo Mail interface, either, but on the plus side, they are all-HTTPS now, no longer just the login page. Plus, you can access Yahoo Mail using any old IMAP/SMTP client (also over SSL in both directions), so you can avoid the web interface altogether if you prefer.

Re:I hate gmail. (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 4 months ago | (#46630943)

What's wrong with searching?

Re:I hate gmail. (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#46631269)

I was a longtime (going on 10 years) user of Yahoo Mail, but when they finally crammed the new interface down my throat, after the fourth time they silently dropped all my incoming emails for days at a time, I had to call it quits.

I mean, for fuck's sake, if your email provider can't even deliver email properly, what the hell is the point? And I KNOW I was getting emails over these periods since I had notification emails coming in daily otherwise.

Is Gmail Google's only successful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629699)

YouTube and Maps were bought. Search is pretty lousy anymore. Google Plus is awful. That leaves Gmail, Analytics, and AdSense. I'd say AdSense is probably their more successful product as far as profitability goes.

Re:Is Gmail Google's only successful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629731)

And gmail has been getting increasingly sucky too the more they try to modernize the interface and integrate with plus.

WTF would you think we would enjoy an "audio ver"? (5, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#46629763)

>> some readers may note that with this story we are slowly rolling out one we hope you enjoy -- an audio version of each Slashdot story.

Er...no thanks. There's a reason video tanked on this site too - your readership is too damn busy to wait for the talky-talk. So, we skim (and type) like crazy, and value text-heavy sites like Slashdot and Reddit. (OK, 15 seconds - time up - back to work!)

Re:WTF would you think we would enjoy an "audio ve (4, Funny)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 4 months ago | (#46629845)

Woosh!

Re:WTF would you think we would enjoy an "audio ve (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 4 months ago | (#46630443)

This must be how they're solving the age-old dilemma of getting people to read the summary before replying.

Re:WTF would you think we would enjoy an "audio ve (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#46631277)

Wouldn't care if it didn't auto-play. Blech.

Auto play audio? (5, Informative)

Enry (630) | about 4 months ago | (#46629823)

Screw you. If this is an April Fools joke, go back to OMG PWNIES. If you're rolling this out for good, seeya.

Re:Auto play audio? (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 4 months ago | (#46630155)

I'm reading this at work, where my computer is already muted. Joke's on Slashdot.

Re:Auto play audio? (3, Insightful)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 4 months ago | (#46630239)

just a joke, bro. if you listen to it, you would notice that it's actually a person reading the article as if they were a basic text-to-speech program. they could have made it better by excitedly yelling, "OH MY GOD, PONIES!" in the middle and then "oh uhh, the summary, right..." and finish reading the summary like the text-to-speech program.

Isn't it still just a Beta? (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 4 months ago | (#46629831)

Or did it actually go into production?

Re:Isn't it still just a Beta? (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about 4 months ago | (#46630893)

Assuming you are actually asking: It is no longer in beta, nor has it been for a long time. Though you can add the "Beta" tag to the Google logo at the top via plugins, if that makes you feel better. I know I did.

Google's gmail April Fool's prank today (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46629917)

was to block the email I forward from my domain MX – again. I guess they thought it was such a good prank they delivered it early.

WTF Google? How many times do we have to go through this?

If you want to advertise to me, you're going to have to accept the approx 3% of the spam that gets through my up-to-date spamassassin, DNSBL, and procmail. You let tons of spam sent directly to my gmail account come in, usually, but not always filtered to my spam folder; so why is the small amount of spam that gets forwarded from my MX somehow sufficient justification for blocking all my email?

Re:Google's gmail April Fool's prank today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630127)

Because you're a spammer. Karma's a bitch, bitch.

I guess you are looking for the illiterate crowd. (4)

cfulton (543949) | about 4 months ago | (#46629979)

I DON'T want my computer to read to me every time I open you page. I can read it myself. I want to read it myself. If I wanted it to be read to me I would go to CNN.

Re:I guess you are looking for the illiterate crow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630139)

What about the hearing impaired, you ableist shitlord.

Re:I guess you are looking for the illiterate crow (2)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#46631301)

Make it NOT AUTOPLAY. One click is not going to break their arms.

Autoplay audio or my account. Choose one. (5, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#46630043)

Admins, this is the line I have drawn in sand. I have put up with all kinds of crap. I did not complain too much about Beta. But once more time you put up an auto playing audio, you will be banished. All the 2^7 days read continuously or 31 achievements will be discarded and the account abandoned if it is done again.

Re:Autoplay audio or my account. Choose one. (4, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | about 4 months ago | (#46630547)

Okay, this is ridiculous. I know that complaining is just one of the things that we do here, but it's April first and they announce a ridiculous new "feature" about reading stories out loud which turns out to be in morse code. I'd say that you all aren't getting the joke, but that would imply that you aren't hearing it, which would mean that you have no reason to complain in the first place.

What is with you folks? The rule has always been: if you don't like Slashdot on April first, don't come.

Re:Autoplay audio or my account. Choose one. (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#46630919)

You're getting morse code? I'm getting a robotic voice reading the stories. I'm hoping this is their April Fool's joke because if this is a serious new feature then it's idiotic.

Re:Autoplay audio or my account. Choose one. (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 months ago | (#46631249)

I'm getting a robotic voice reading the stories. I'm hoping this is their April Fool's joke because if this is a serious new feature then it's idiotic.

Well, I wouldn't call it idiotic. It could be the start of a useful feature for the visually impaired. What seems to be missing is a way to disable it. I've poked around a bit, and didn't find any controls. It has the usual sound level widget, which works for the current window, but when I refresh or open a new discussion window/tab, the sound is back up where it was.

Anyone know how to turn it off?

Text to speech configuration (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | about 4 months ago | (#46630137)

Is there a facility to adjust this? I listen to doctors dictating notes all day long so I'm used to very quick speech rates. I find the rate at which the TTS engine is dropping output is driving me nuts.

Re:Text to speech configuration (1)

mrmagos (783752) | about 4 months ago | (#46630567)

Yep, completely adjustable. You can even change the voice. It's kind of complicated to describe, but I found a helpful video [youtube.com] that walks you through the process.

Re:Text to speech configuration (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 months ago | (#46631315)

Heh. It's been a couple of years since I've had a RickRoll. Thanks for the memory!

AutoPlay Audio is EVIL (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 4 months ago | (#46630181)

i would say that 85% of the NEW COOL %Framework%! features are garbage. Please have an option to turn that audio OFF.

Gmail also has similar problems (Why does the "hangouts" thing freeze Gmail for several seconds during loading??)

Re:AutoPlay Audio is EVIL (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 4 months ago | (#46631129)

Better yet, how about letting us opt in to the audio crap? Because oh man most of us LOVE listening to music while working and then having a browser tab start talking! BTW... Buck Feta!

Re:AutoPlay Audio is EVIL (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#46631231)

Please have an option to turn that audio OFF.

I added a filter to my Proxomitron proxy to strip out the "autoplay" tag from the audio element on /. pages. (Am considering stripping out the audio element all together.) Regardless of whether this is an April Fools day joke or not, the person who decided to use the "autoplay" tag should be taken out back and beaten into unconsciousness.

No Autoplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46630351)

you'll hear the story just by clicking on it from the home page as if to read the comments

Just another reason to visit /. less (or eventually not at all). I hardly visit /. outside working hours (I know, I know). Certainly not while driving (I mostly ride bike anyhow).

I do not want my computer to chime up unexpectedly at the office.

I bet I can read (skim) much faster than what a voice can read it out to me (which is exactly why I also hate Youtube tutorials).

Also, on links with limited bandwidth, text is still king.

On the plus side, maybe if someone is forced to read every article (to record a voice), maybe the editors will now read what they allow through? (Being sarcastic. I'm pretty sure it is a synth voice. Can't bother to go checking.)

Using mobile devices responsibly (1)

hessian (467078) | about 4 months ago | (#46630525)

How am I supposed to hold both the bong and the iPod at the same time? I've had to stow the MP-5 in the gun rack and it's still difficult to drive.

FFS.

My favorite part of the Autoplay TTS (1)

phishen (1044934) | about 4 months ago | (#46630555)

was when he took a breath right in the middle of reading it

Hope this is April fools! (2)

Alioth (221270) | about 4 months ago | (#46630757)

Websites should be seen AND NOT HEARD.

I've got no problem with there being an audio version of the story. However, I do have a problem with it being an AUTOPLAYING audio version of the story. Due to autoplaying audio and video (one an ad a while back on Slashdot which would periodically make the sound of a slamming door!), the audio is permanently muted on my work workstation.

I hope the autoplaying sound was just an April fool's joke. If not it's incredibly badly thought out, given the number of people who read Slashdot where they don't want suddenly a bunch of sound coming out their computer.

Really regret the migration (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 4 months ago | (#46631145)

At the time my go-to Yahoo account was getting swamped with about 300 spam emails a day and I was looking for a low-hanging solution (didn't want to get in bed with Microsoft, though). And, I never had a real personal email plan. If I could start all over again, I'd have 3 accounts:

1.) Garbage account when I have to provide an email address and don't care to see anything but an ephemoral conversation.
2.) Public correspondence for long-term email relationships e.g. billing accounts and on-line purchases. If I was running my own email server, I'd probably look for a plugin that would allow me to create temporary accounts to handle some transactions.
3.) Private correspondence for communicating with friends and family only.

Now, I've got a personal Google account that I haven't used with any discipline so it's used for a combination of all 3. Not to mention I'm tied to Google's cookies following me around. I use Firefox plugins but who knows how well those work.

Autoplay is a tool of the Devil! (1)

jbrader (697703) | about 4 months ago | (#46631429)

The audio thing is neat but please don't have it play automatically.
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