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Google's Sergey Brin Talks on Gmail's Future

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the coming-out-of-beta-likely-first-step dept.

Communications 203

de la mettrie writes "Sergey Brin of Google has been discussing the future of GMail in a recent eWeek article. He says that the ongoing beta test will likely take about six months, and that the implementation of mail forwarding, POP access, mail encryption and even RSS feeds is being considered."

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For more answers (5, Funny)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959668)

you can always reach him at sergey_brin@hotmail.com

Re:For more answers (0, Troll)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959780)

Or you can see him here [savedelete.com]

Rush! (-1, Redundant)

Obscenity (661594) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959669)

There is going to be a rush to get the more common names on gMail. Such as 'john' and 'al', I bet they get a mild version of the /. effect, because it seems like a lot of people are looking foward to gMail

Re:Rush! (2, Informative)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959786)

Well, Gmail requires that your username be a minimum of 6 characters, so that actually rules out a number of common first names.

Penisbird talks about GNAA future (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959670)

The violation of Rob Malda (Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on 01:01 PM November 11th, 2003 (#7441124)
Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda stepped off the bus and was led into the yard of the Main
State Correctional Institute. He had been given ten years for participating in
a stock fraud. Five with good behavior. Years spent basking in the glow of a
CRT had been hard on him. His body was frail, his skin pallid. He knew he could
never make it through ten years in the general population with his virginity
intact. He had to get into solitary.

As soon as the burly guard unshackled him he made his move. Exhaling a feminine
"hmmph" he weakly slapped the guard. He was quickly taken to the ground,
receiving a swift kick to the ribs before being restrained. As he was dragged
to the solitary confinement cell he felt nothing but relief. "At least in
solitary," he thought "I'll be safe." Unfortunately for Rob he had picked the
wrong guard to mess with.

The next few days were uneventful. The time in his cell he spent evenly between
sleeping, reading a "Perl for Dummies" book he had gotten from the book cart,
and masturbating furiously. His self-flagellation was interrupted on the fourth
day. The burly guard he had attacked earlier stepped into his cell. The gleam
in the guards eye and the mean grin on his face made Rob's pecker quickly
shrivel in his hand. "You fucked with the wrong man when you fucked with
Michael Simms," said the guard. "The inmates here call me The Asshole for a
reason. Now come with me, punk."

The guard led him down the hall to one of several empty shower stalls. He
roughly threw Rob in the stall and locked the door. Rob was petrified. His mind
raced as he imagined the myriad of different tortures that could be in store
for him. His worst fears were confirmed when the guard returned. In his hands
were a short black dress, black stilleto heels, and a curly blonde wig. "Strip
down and put this on, bitch." Rob did as instructed and was pleased to notice
that the dress fit well and the heels gave him a nice slimming effect. The
burly guard admired the drag queen. "The GNAA is gonna love you!"

The guard left the shower stall, only to return minutes later. He opened the
door and led 20 large black men into the stall. "Rob, meet the Gay Nigger
Association of America. GNAA, meet Rob. I'm sure you all will get along fine."
With that the guard slammed the shower door closed and walked away laughing.

The men approached Rob, backing him into a corner. The apparent leader stepped
forward. "No matter what I'm gonna fuck that purdy lil' ass of yours. Now I can
fuck it dry or you can lube it up for me." Rob knew he had no choice. He
kneeled in front of the leader, who began to slap his face with his 10 black
inches. Puss from syphilictic sores quickly covered Rob's cheeks. When the
leader was sufficiently aroused he placed his throbbing cock up to Rob's lips.
As soon as Rob opened his mouth the leader violently shoved his manhood to the
back of Rob's throat and exclaimed "Swallow my shit you cracker bitch!" Rob
gagged as he was violently face fucked.

Just when he was about to pass out the leader pulled out, turned him around and
shoved his cock into Rob's ass. Rob began to scream in agony but his cries were
quickly muffled by one of the other gang member's cocks. They rode him like
that for the better part of an hour. When one man finished another quickly took
his place. Just as Rob was getting used to the throbbing pain in his anus the
men stopped. One man lay down on the floor and Rob was told to get on top of
him and take his dick inside him. Exhausted and humiliated, Rob had no will
left to fight. As soon as he inserted the penis another man came up behind him
and began to force his cock into Rob's already filled anus. Again his screams
of agony were muffled, this time by a smelly black anus.

For another hour he was violated in this way. When the men were finished with
him he couldn't walk and his mouth was filled with dingleberries and ass hairs.
Before they all left the leader had some parting words for Rob: "Thanks for
that sweet piece of ass, punk. We'll see you again tomorrow. Oh by the way, we
all have AIDS." It was going to be a long ten years for Rob.

Six months? (0)

Pranjal (624521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959671)

Six months is what they will take to test? I find it hard to digest. What are they building a space shuttle? Assuming that they have completed internal testing six months is a very very long period to do beta tests.

I have to wait six months to get an account :(

Re:Six months? (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959710)


What are they building a space shuttle?

No, they're building a massive, wide area distributed email system with vast amounts of storage. I doubt they'd want to tarnish their name, especially with an IPO pending, by going live with a buggy system. If you can shave a few months off that, I'm sure you could have a good career at Google.

Re:Six months? (2, Informative)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959883)

ahh... being a beta tester... I do indeed feel sorry for you. I really enjoy the features that have been previously spoken of, and the "conversation" feature is especially nice. Just wait it out... it's definitely worth it!

Re:Six months? (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959714)

they'll be very sure it works. in the meantime, get broadband and set up your own mail server with qmail [qmail.org] . i was able to do it with a 100mhz pentium, and my inbox is 5 gigs with no content snooping or other restrictions

Re:Six months? (3, Insightful)

FrYGuY101 (770432) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959732)

Knowing Google, they're probably doing one or more of the following:

*Getting usibility information from the beta testers.
*Assessing their ad-placement algorithms.
*Trying to see how the email will work on their distributed systems.
*Hashing through privacy concerns, see if there are ways to alleviate them.

And I'm sure there's more that others could think of that they'd be testing...

Re:Six months? (5, Interesting)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959778)

Google's backend is more complex then you think.

Google's beta tests for search, groups, Froogle all took closer to a year.

Assuming that they have completed internal testing six months is a very very long period to do beta tests.

The problem with internal testing is that you can never account for the wide variety of things that users will do to your site. Your QA team may come up with a great set of tests, but for every functional part of your site, your users will be able to make it break in a dozen different ways.

Re:Six months? (5, Insightful)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959796)

They're playing for big stakes, and a lot of things have to go right. Since they're offering 1GB, and are doubtless counting on the user not being able to use up all of that immediately, their rate throttling measures had better be really good. If spammers/warez doodz find a way to exploit the system and automate the client interface, then google will probably have to retract their offer, which will be enormous bad publicity. And few people have realized it, but gmail is actually a whole desktop email app written in javascript. Several hundred KB of javascript. Or atleast a cross between webmail and a desktop app. Such attempts have never worked in the past. (I remember some horrors like html editors written in java on web hosting sites, before the dot.bust). But google thinks they're on to something here. Indeed, beta testers have reported that after a few days of using gmail they find it to be a whole new paradigm and don't want to go back to the folder based approach. So there's a lot of testing that google have to do, since they're breaking new ground. Google's known for not releasing stuff until they're really sure they've ironed out the wrinkles.

Re:Six months? (1)

smr2x (266420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959930)

Warez? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard the attachment size is limited to 30MB...

Re:Six months? (4, Insightful)

toasted_calamari (670180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960101)

theortically:

1) RAR file
2) Split into 29.9 MB segments
3) Write scripts that interface with Gmail
4) Register 15 accounts
5) Free Storage.

Also, they limit attachement size, but do they limit body size? would it be possible to UUencode the whole thing and stick it as the message text?

Re:Six months? (1)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960323)

Also, they limit attachement size, but do they limit body size? would it be possible to UUencode the whole thing and stick it as the message text?

"Attachments" are basically the same thing, except that most mail clients know how to parse MIME extensions and only show parts that are intended to be human-readable. If you looked at it with a very old pre-MIME MTA you'd basically see a message with Base-64 (or quoted) text that form the "attachments". A logical way for them to handle things would be to limit the size of the message, not of attachments.

Re:Six months? (1)

dytin (517293) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960110)

I'm a beta tester, the attachment size limit is actually only 10 megabytes. And they seem to limit the speed of uploads to about 30-40 KB/sec, which isn't that slow, but I bet they have some sort of system set up where the speed gets slower and slower for a certain account if that account starts either uploading or downloading too many MB of files.

Re:Six months? (1)

dytin (517293) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960138)

By the way, the 10 MB limit isn't just for the attachment size, it is the limit for the entire email itself. I have tried sending 9.8MB files, and the system won't let me. So, I think that UUEncoding a giant file and putting it in the message body wouldn't work either.

Re:Six months? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959997)

but gmail is actually a whole desktop email app written in javascript. Several hundred KB of javascript. Or atleast a cross between webmail and a desktop app. Such attempts have never worked in the past. (I remember some horrors like html editors written in java on web hosting sites, before the dot.bust).

Huh?
java != javascript

Re:Six months? (2, Interesting)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960093)

Of course they're not the same. What's your point? They're both client side web programming languages, and that's all that matters for my example.

Re:Six months? (5, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959798)

What are they building a space shuttle?

No, they're building a product that they hope will dislodge MSN Hotmail from its dominant position. Hotmail gets at least 145 million visitors [microsoft.com] per month, and Microsoft poured money into Hotmail for eight years before it became profitable.

Microsoft can afford to pour money down a hole until something becomes profitable. Google can't. So Google has to get it right the first time and make Gmail a much better product right out of the gate in order to combat Microsoft's built-in advantages as the owner of the OS and the browser that most people use.

Re:Six months? (2, Interesting)

treerex (743007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959816)

Give me a break. Good software companies spend time to test their product: user testing, functionality testing. Google is very careful to test features before the roll out to the world. Given the size and breadth of the GMail product, this isn't that long.

It makes me think of The Simpsons episode where Moe turns his bar into a family restaurant, and he buys a surplus Navy deepfryer that he says can flash fry a buffalo in 40 seconds. Home responds, "Forty seconds? But I want it now."

I expect that if you want to use such a thing, it will be worth the wait.

Re:Six months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959822)

My god it these days we always bitch about programs being launched too early now we are bitching that one wont come fast enough.

LOL i can't wait eather but i would perfer a bullet proof program and not something that needs to get patched every week.

Re:Six months? (3, Informative)

gooru (592512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959852)

I have to wait six months to get an account :(

Nyah nyah! I have one! :-p It's actually not too tough to get an account. You just have to be acquainted with someone at Google. If you're on Orkut, it shouldn't be a problem to find someone who's less than a few degrees of separation from you who works at Google.

Also, six months is hardly a long time for a beta test. This is an absolutely enormous task they're undertaking. It's not like they're just installing IMP on a server or something. Gmail is also still very far from being ready for public consumption. I send bug reports and feature requests in constantly for things that are IMHO absolutely necessary for a full email experience.

Re:Six months? (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960064)

I'm not on Orkut, but I'd like to be. :-P

Re:Six months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959869)

It's just a plot to pump the stock price when google has it's IPO.

Once google has it's IPO the shareholders will control the company not it's founders so it will become just another money grubbing monopoly corporation.

At which point they will probably bring in banner ads, popups and make you pay for the better features because they will now have to worry about meeting wall street profit expectations instead of worrying about innovation.

Don thy Tinfoil Hat. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959673)


already slashdotted, here's the text:


Steve Gillmor : Hi Sergey, thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
Sergey Brin : My pleasure, Steve.
Gillmor : So why gmail? It sounds like an expensive endeavor.
Brin : Yes, it really is. We have to weigh the curve of user data and disk space then constantly keep ahead of the users' requirements.
Gillmor : Can you give us a ballpark figure as to cost?
Brin : No, not really. It's being paid for by the NSA, actually.
Gillmor : The NSA? Why?
Brin : They've realized that they have to put on a "friendlier face" to the public. Being that Google already has a huge infrastructure, it only made sense that they use it. They approached us over a year ago with this idea.
Gillmor : The NSA wants to manage the email of literally hundreds of millions of net users? Don't the privacy implications concern you?
Brin : No. The NSA have told me, in fact our contact wrote it on a cocktail napkin, that they wouldn't snoop user mail. They are really nice people. Think about it, who would you rather trust with your personal email, Hotmail & Microsoft or Google & the NSA? I think the answer is obvious.
Gillmor : In all honesty, I don't think the answer is clear.
Brin : Sure it is, if Hotmail "fills up" you're out of luck, with gmail the NSA have gratiously offered to let us use some of their disk storage on their Cray and SGI SANs. Like I said, really nice people.
Gillmor : Can you give is the name of your contact?
Brin : [answers cell call, hangs up] This interview is over.

Re:Don thy Tinfoil Hat. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959751)

troll? mods are on crack again.

Don THIS. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959760)

Hey all you st00pid ass PS2 and Microsoft haters - if MS sucks so had, then why are 4 of the top nine most popular games for XBox according to EBGAMES [ebgames.com] ?

HAHA, only one PS2 game and thats a phucking football game!! Even the pathetic GBA has 2 in the top 9!!!!

Once again American has shown itself to be the cheat beatingest #1 console maker! USA USA USA! HAHA! w00t!

GMAIL THEY SET US UP THE BOMB! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959677)

YIKES!

google isn't evil (5, Insightful)

quelrods (521005) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959678)

They also mention various privacy concerns. The only thing they ever meant by not guaranteeing immediate deletion has to do with proper backups. I think the geek/media bridge failed yet again and something was blown out of proportion. I can't wait to see that you're using 99% of your available 1gb for email tho.

Re:google isn't evil (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960169)

really? I think if that were true, they would have clearly said so.

It sounds to me more like your wishful thinking is filling in the blanks and poo-pooing a legitimate issue.

google used to be great, now they are solving problems nobody has, and they are turning into aol

Pop access hmmm (1)

calle69 (646100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959683)

pop access for millions of users will end on a monthly fee for sure

Re:Pop access hmmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959712)

first post booooooooooooooooyyy

ooh
ah
oh yeah

feeerst
fuuurst
fiiirst

!

First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959687)

fp

My name is Rusty Foster (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959692)

And I pronounce "tax evation" as tax-evaaaayyy-tion.

I personally feel that Gmail is a rude and innappropriate pun on all the G-style chrome-rapper-ghetto-music culture. That's just not right, especially for Google since they have an IPO coming up.

Here in Maine, most of us don't care for "Gs". Let's keep it that way.

Re:My name is Rusty Foster (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959759)

Yo biatch!

I care about them Gs! Them G spots.

Yummy, yummy, they fill my tummy, just don't tell Mommy, coz she thinks am a dummy.

Yummy yummy!

Encryption support... (5, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959693)

I really hope they implement support for GnuPG in an easy manner. As it is, having a public key doesn't mean much for email, since people sending you email need to do the work for you to receive encrypted email, and you can't send encrypted email unless the other person has a key. GMail could go a long way towards making GnuPG prolific...

Re:Encryption support... (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960200)

So you'd trust them to store your private key?

I'd rather like to see some sort of browser plugin (right click on textarea, "encrypt for...").

Re:Encryption support... (1, Insightful)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960271)

So, maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how they can support encryption when their whole email business model is predicated on searching through the contents of a message. How can they do that if it is encrypted?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959695)

WYRD

Six months? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959705)

Sounds like a media cooldown period more than a beta testing period.

POP? (4, Insightful)

jhoude (610589) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959721)

Having a 1GB mailbox is useless if you use POP to get your mail... They should provide IMAP access.

OK, after reading the article, I see that they are also planning to offer imap, but still, pop makes no sense to me for a webmail.

Re:POP? (1)

BorisZ (772356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959739)

It doesn't have to be pure webmail. You can get your Hotmail email with Outlook Express (not that you should...), and I would very much like to have a large popbox that I can use with my email client from home and with a good web based client from everywhere else.

Re:POP? (1)

xoran99 (745620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959830)

You can set up your email client to leave the messages on the server and only fetch the headers. That makes it plenty useful for me, although IMAP would be swell.

Re:POP? (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960004)

I think that they're thinking about POP in the opposite direction... allowing you to give Google your username and password to a POP server you have an account on so that you can read your mail in Google's interface and store it at Google rather than your HD.

Re:POP? (3, Insightful)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960286)

OK, after reading the article, I see that they are also planning to offer imap, but still, pop makes no sense to me for a webmail.

Why not?

I use Mozilla for my email, but when I download it I leave it on the server until it's deleted. That way I have it on my home computer, but I can still get to it through the web interface if I'm not at home.

Of course, I tend to have to go and clear out old emails every so often..

Deleting messages? (4, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959733)

I don't quite understand how they are going to do that - it seems like a massive undertaking. Are they going to go through a tape library and only delete messages that the user deleted or are they going to delete archived messages periodically anyway. It seems like a massive task to selectively delete messages (from possibly billions?) from a massive tape library. Anyway, I think their intent is to make sure that messages are not saved forever:

Is it possible to delete messages, or does everything continue to reside in AllMail?

Oh, no, no, that was just poor wording on our part. It's just that we make a variety of backups, and we can't guarantee instantaneous deletion. Stuff that's on tapes, and those are offline--we eventually delete it, but we can't guarantee an instantaneous deletion.

The question would be whether or not somebody could feel confident that if they wanted to delete something that it would eventually be deleted.

Yes, eventually it will be deleted.

Happy Trails!

Erick

Re:Deleting messages? (1)

DarthTaco (687646) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959899)

"I don't quite understand how they are going to do that - it seems like a massive undertaking. Are they going to go through a tape library and only delete messages that the user deleted or are they going to delete archived messages periodically anyway."

This is just speculation, but I would say that they aren't going to go through tapes to try to delete a specific file. Do tape backup systems even allow for this?

I'm guessing they only keep tape backups for so many days before recycling or destroying the tapes. So if you delete an email from the server, eventually all the tapes that had that message as a backup are recycled and hence your message has been deleted from the tapes.

Re:Deleting messages? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959983)

Mostly likely they'll never delete individual items from the tapes, just either reuse or destroy the tape after it is no longer "hot" as part of the disaster recovery plan.

Which means, a message saved on any part of the tape cycle won't be fully deleted until the entire tape cycle is completed. Since they're not going to release how often they're going to do a full backup tape, they also can't release how long it takes for tapes to get flushed out of their cycle...

Re:Deleting messages? (1)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959911)

We have a similar issue where I work (a small governmental agency). We want to be able to restore the email system in the event of a disaster or recent user error, but we dont want to have to dig through years of tapes in the event of some request by some reporter for information going way back.

The solution? It simple, just configure the backup system to always put the email system on the same set of tapes and to overwrite those tapes after 1 week.

This way, if somebody deletes a message, they have 1 week to ask for it to be restored. After that, it is gone forever since the backup tapes were overwritten. Likewise, if somebody deletes something, they they can be assured that it will be totally gone in 1 week.

Well... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960124)

Way to be accountable to the public! Also, depending on what country you are in you may be violating open records/data retention laws.

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960241)

the policy was dicated by our legal department, not IT or the user community.

as a general rule with reguards to email, as long as you have an established policy that states what is kept and for how long, one is safe from anybody who asks for stuff that is older than the retention policy. (but if you are caught changing that policy as a reaction to a request, one is in deep trouble).

There are exceptions, mostly in the financial industry (all written communications must be kept for 3 years, that includes email, im, etc, etc). Those rules do not apply to us (we have our own list of things that we must keep, but none of them are in email).

Re:Deleting messages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960244)

The easiest way to "delete" backed up emails is to encrypt everything on disk. The backups will backup the encrypted data. Then, "deleting" emails is a matter of preiodically changing the encryption key and deleting the older keys. Old backups become unusable.

As a matter of fact there is a company [decru.com] that already does this.

Best thing since 1998 Hotmail (5, Interesting)

brainkiller (41196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959750)

I am lucky enough to have an early account at Gmail. Before I had it, I was the screenshots and I was not impressed, but once I tried it out... it is amazing. This will be one of the biggest things to hit the internet. It simply works, it doesn't have any flashy ads to bother you, and it's FAST! Not to mention the "conversation" style e-mailing, and everything being so dynamic. Now if they only make a Google Messenger, we're all set!

Re:Best thing since 1998 Hotmail (4, Funny)

hkfczrqj (671146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959855)

Now if they only make a Google Messenger, we're all set!

This is Slashdot. We are all set if and only if that IM is Jabber based and the client can run on *IX, GNU/Linux, *BSD...

:)

Re:Best thing since 1998 Hotmail (1)

brainkiller (41196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959910)

Google plays nice with *nix... this is taken from the google website for gmail:

Microsoft IE 5.5 and newer (download: Windows)
Netscape 7.1 and newer (download: Windows Macintosh Linux )
Mozilla 1.4 and newer (download: Windows Macintosh Linux )
Mozilla Firefox 0.8 and newer (download: Windows Macintosh Linux )

Too bad you can't access Gmail with a text browser... It would've been nice if the place you work for blocks every webmail service possible... If a non-dynamic text-browser accessible version was available, you could ssh home and read Gmail through lynx :)

If they do make a Gmessenger (not likely) it will work on every platform :)

Re:Best thing since 1998 Hotmail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960175)

If a non-dynamic text-browser accessible version was available, you could ssh home and read Gmail through lynx :)

What are you, a fucking loser?

Just use a regular goddamn browser. Why make things more difficult? We have all this great web browser technology, and people like you still want 2004 to be the stone ages.

Re:Best thing since 1998 Hotmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960219)

Of course it's fast given the number of users that have access to it... It's easy to make a system that scales to the number of beta testers they have. The test of speed will come once they've got a couple of million users.

Google's User Interface (5, Interesting)

richard_za (236823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959752)

I have seen several reviews of Google's user interface (here [miscoranda.com] , here [miscoranda.com] , and here [fury.com] ), as well as google's screenshots of the inbox [google.com] and conversation view [google.com] . and it seems that a lot of them are really unique, especially in a web application. Apparently it "autocompletes" from your address book. It looks like Google will be raising the bar of the standard for web applications. I sure hope they open up an API for accesing it. (as well as POP / IMAP access).

Re:Google's User Interface (1)

brainkiller (41196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959861)

POP e-mail would not work too good with Gmail since you might have 1GB of archived messages. IMAP access would be a dream come true. Either way, in a few months when Gmail goes LIVE, @hotmail.com accounts are going to die off and we're going to see @gmail.com everywhere. In about a year I suspect we're going to see a GMessenger driven off the gmail username database. That too will kill MSN, Yahoo and AOL messenger. I guess we're just gonna have to wait and see.

By the way... I don't think there are going to be many who will not like Gmail. It's so Sexy it makes you wanna use it. I have an early account and I can't stop using it. I never liked WebMail before.

Re:Google's User Interface (2, Interesting)

richard_za (236823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959936)

Well the're definitely planning it (I agree IMAP is definitely better in this application).

From the article [eweek.com] :
Steve Gillmor: It also compares favorably to my corporate e-mail.

Sergey Brin: Well, thank you. There are some things that it is currently missing as compared to corporate e-mail--for example, disconnected operation--though we do plan to provide things like POP3 and IMAP support, which should help that.


If they implement IM I hope they go the Jabber [jabber.org] route.

Re:Google's User Interface (2, Interesting)

hobbsbutcher (753062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959975)

I've got seven gmail screenshots on my blog as of today [jhbutcher.com] [jhbutcher.com]

Re:Google's User Interface (1)

richard_za (236823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960167)

Thanks for the blogger.com [blogger.com] tip - I too have a gmail account now.

Re:Google's User Interface (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960039)

I have a gmail account too and you do realize the damn thing works in less browsers than grandmas website?

This is definately not the google i know and love.

Re:Google's User Interface (2, Informative)

mytho (774195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960097)

I posted some remarks last night about my first impressions on GMail. You can read it here [securityworld.be]

Previews and beta sign up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959794)

The DDRParadise [eu.org] forums have tons of screenshots and info on Gmail, and have a link to apply for an account. Could be a good way to reserve your gmail user name!

Warning - Do Not Click Link (1, Redundant)

lordDallan (685707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959958)

The parent's link points to VERY disturbing pictures. It does NOT have anything to do with Gmail.

Lies, opinions, and half-truths (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959814)

* If "Linux" just refers to the kernel and not the operating system, how can "FreeBSD" refer to the operating system (userland tools, standard libraries, etc.) and not just the kernel? Face it, "GNU/Linux" looks and sounds ridiculous.

* If you expect companies to follow the copyright of the GPL, you should support the RIAA going after infringers of its copyright. If not, you're a hypocrite.

* There is absolutely nothing wrong with a company being upset that its product is being pirated freely over online networks. A recent Slashdot poll showed that the majority of Slashotters are unemployed or are students ("academics"), which explains a lot. Try getting a real job sometime and see what it feels like when your work is everywhere, and you start worrying that your days are numbered. Does John Carmack want you to "sample" his new game via the "free advertising" happening on eMule?

* OSDN-owned Slashdot thinks its niche opinion represents the majority of the world. This is a result of people visiting every day and buying into the groupthink. Nobody outside of Slashdot knows or cares about "Linux," "RIAA", "M$," or anything else Slashdotters think is such a huge issue in today's society. Go to a mall or coffee shop sometime and see what people actually talk
about.

* Speaking of OSDN--it's a Linux company...that owns a "tech news" site...that posts news stories negative toward competitors like Microsoft. If a Windows company or even Microsoft itself owned a "tech news" site and posted anti-Linux articles all the time, everyone would be up in arms. But with OSDN, it's a-okay.

* Slashbots think people don't like the music coming out these days, which is the cause of the piracy. Never mind that if people didn't like the music they wouldn't be pirating it, most Slashbots--again, this goes back to the niche opinion thing--don't realize that most people these days love the music coming out and want to hear all of it. Probing around, you discover that Slashdot is made up of nerds and fogies who listen to things like The Who and Blind Guardian and techno--not what mainstream society enjoys.

* Any company ending in "AA" is evil. Especially if it doesn't want you distributing its works without paying for it. Somehow, this mindset is supposed to make sense.

* The inevitable result of all this is a world in which nothing can be profitable because people simply pirate free copies. Is that really what Slashbots want? OSS and free-ness in general reminds me of the hippie era of the 60s--idealistic socialism that only exists because of the surrounding capitalism around it that provides the environment for it to exist. We all know what happened to that idea.

* Slashdot editors are abusive. We all remember The Post. It's amusing the editors never mention the issue. The worst editor is michael, who will mod you down, insult you for your post count, and post unprofessional color commentary along with the article. This is the same bizarre person who cybersquatted Censorware for years--even as Slashdot posted articles negative toward cybersquatting! Michael played it off like he was some sort of stalking victim, which made it all the more bizarre.

* The moderation system is broken. If you mod someone as "Overrated," you can't be metamodded. People abuse this all the time to gang up and knock you down into oblivion.

* Slashdot is all about spinning truth for its agenda and posting outright falsehoods. In this article [slashdot.org] , for instance, Roblimo claims that Baystar spokesman Bob McGraith "admitted" that their "only viable asset is the potential proceeds of lawsuits against Linux users and vendors." And yet, in the very next sentence, his real words are given: "We're looking for the best return we can, and we think the focus should be on IP licensing (and enforcement)." Ignoring the outright lie RobLimo posted about what was said, Bob McGraith describes what every standard IP company does--run their business on the licensing of their valuable IP. If that isn't enough, Slashdot's own VA Linux stated in their recent 10Q filing [yahoo.com] the exact same thing: "We rely on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade-secret laws, employee and third-party nondisclosure agreements, and other arrangements to protect our proprietary rights." But hypocrisy and double-standards don't matter to an agenda-driven group like Slashdot. It's all about "whatever it takes" to discredit those on your geek blacklist.

* Somehow, user-ran executables are always a "New Microsoft Hole" (actual article headline). Meanwhile, LinuxSecurity [linuxsecurity.com] posts weekly security advisories for all the Linux distributions. You never, ever, EVER see any of these mentioned on Slashdot--bizarre things like arbitrary code execution via MPlayer.

* This opinion poll [opinion.com.au] shows that 56% of respondents hadn't even heard of Linux.

* Microsoft is supposed to be some sort of non-innovative rip-off artist. Meanwhile, the same people posting those comments do it through KDE with taskbars, sidepanels, start menus, similar print dialogs, and an integrated web/filesystem browser. Slashdotters--ripping people off then criticizing those who came up with the ideas in the first place.

* Linux is "ready for the desktop." This is the yearly uttering since 1998. Never mind that there is STILL no binary installation/uninstallation API for desktops, you can't come home with a printer and a CD and stick it in to get an Autoplay menu that lets you set up the driver. Somehow, Linux is just magically supposed to be ready--that is, if someone else sets it up for you and you never change or add your hardware or software and doing nothing else but check e-mail and browse the web. Conveniently, this includes grandmas, so people can post their grandma-using-Linux stories as "proof." As a recent article on Slashdot pointed out, Linux can't even run a generic soundcard that 10-year-old Windows 95 has no problem with.

* Hypocrisy is accusing Windows XP of being "riddled with spyware" without actually citing a single example, and if you run Windows Media Player, the very first thing it gives you is the privacy page allowing you to disable automatic grabbing of song titles. Meanwhile, almost every single standard Linux media player automatically grabs titles from places like freedb.com without asking you first. One OS grabs song titles and it's spyware, the other grabs song titles and nobody mentions a single thing. Hypocrisy.

* Slashdot professes to be some sort of golden defender of consumer copyright law. Few people remember that in an IRC chat, Hemos said that what DailySlash is doing was "illegal" and that they should stop.

* Corporate-owned, subscription fees, banner ads, reposts, and complete falsehoods. Remember when Slashdot was a great tech news site for nerds? Before the point of the site was to have an anti-RIAA, anti-"M$" agenda? When it was just about posting cool technology stories regardless, before VA Linux took it over?

Slashdot is dead.

Meanwhile 2004 Linux Rules the desktop when in reality:

http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html

Windows = 91%
Mac = 4%
Linux = 1%

How did they pick beta testers? (4, Interesting)

FsG (648587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959849)

I've read beta testers' weblogs and seen all the cool screenshots, but there's one thing I still can't figure out: how did Google pick the beta testers? Were they just friends of certain Google employees, or was there some place that you could apply to be a considered for beta testing?

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (2, Insightful)

brainkiller (41196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959940)

It can be a friend of a friend of a friend of a google employee :) They're really nice about giving frinds beta accounts... I guess they want a lot of feedback to solve the bugs.....

but there is no place where you can "apply" for beta testing...

btw... the usernames for @gmail.com have to be minimum 6 characters ... I was about to cry when I found out I can't get mike@gmail.com :(

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (1)

wahgnube (557787) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959955)

I know a bunch of people who use blogger [blogger.com] regularly to maintain their web logs who got invited into the service.

Is it wrong to be jealous of people maintaining web logs there. Hmm.

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (4, Funny)

hobbsbutcher (753062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960010)

This is true. I signed into Blogger one day and there was a little box asking if I would like to give Gmail a try. There wasn't a "You bet your ass" button, so I just clicked yes. Now I am a Gmail user.

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (1)

richard_za (236823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960247)

I can vouch for this, I just got an account on gmail.com cos' I have blogger.com account

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (4, Informative)

dokebi (624663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959967)

I have a friend with a Gmail account. He got one through an acquantance working at Google. It seems like Google employees get accounts, and they could give out "passes" to a number of people. (not sure how many, though--definately more than 2)

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (2, Funny)

richard_za (236823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960001)

I'd really appreciate one of those passes.

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (2, Funny)

richard_za (236823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960231)

I'm not kidding, but a few minutes after posting this, I discovered how to get a gmail test account. Needless to say a will be posting a review on my blog soon.

Re:How did they pick beta testers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960041)

i got mine from a friend that works at google.
He got 5 "invitations" that he could send to friends to sign up for a google account.

I have also seen that active Blogger users have got the offer to sign up for gmail.

Google Messenger? (4, Interesting)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959860)

Dear Mr. Brin, now that we're providing webmail services, don't you feel that a Google Messenger [afriguru.com] should be in order?

Re:Google Messenger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8960108)

Essentially, it IS a google messenger. It autorefreshes emails from other gmail senders instantly, and keeps all emails in a conversation type window. Totally blurs the email/IM line.

Re:Google Messenger? (1)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960274)

Hmmm ... guess I wouldn't know that without being a beta tester. Real-time conversations to mimic verbal communication are a bit different from what's possible with e-mail, though.

Could Google Kill Spam? (4, Funny)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959863)


Given the bright minds over there, I have to wonder. Unfortunately for me, I don't think I'd qualify for even a junior janitor trainee position at their offices (I think he's doing particle physics research in his spare time).

Re:Could Google Kill Spam? (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960192)

With Gmail, Google can collect massive amounts of social networking info---Fred has Betty in his address book, or has once replied to Betty, or something, so Betty gets whiter-listed. Google can gather a massive amount of training for adaptive spam filters. Really, I think they stand a chance of killing spam for people with Gmail accounts. I want one.

Re:Could Google Kill Spam? (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960229)

Well, just in case there is a junior janitor trainee position. Could anyone please point me to the application form?

Free Lunch? (5, Insightful)

psychokid (774190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959874)

People want something free (a GB of free mailbox space in this case) at someone else's expense and then criticises about the possible tradeoffs involved? If you want content privacy, you shouldn't be using a free web account to begin with.

I love google but (3, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959892)

I'm beginning to feel uncomfortable with the amount of clout they have and their new 'commercial' outlook on things.

If - as someone remarked - google goes public that is not the same as google being owned by th e public. It simply means that there will be that much more pressure on them to make cash. Buying stock in an IPO is not to be equated with supporting that company, it simply gives them cash to pursue their business in return for a small piece of the pie.

It would be nice if there was a public - not for profit - alternative to google.

Re:I love google but (2, Insightful)

JohnCub (56178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959964)

Dmoz.org [dmoz.org] is about as close to a not for profit alternative to google.

The truth is though, all that bandwidth costs money. Programmers typically want paid. Hardware breaks and electricity is most often not free. I know a non-profit organization still makes money to cover these costs but I don't see the need for anything more than dmoz if that's what you want.

Re:I love google but (1)

DarthTaco (687646) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960003)

"It would be nice if there was a public - not for profit - alternative to google."

Perhaps this is your calling. It would have to be started by someone who felt passionately about the idea, and it sounds like you might.

Re:I love google but (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960312)

I seems to remember there is a type of stock that basically give the stockholder no control over the company but still share the profit. Maybe if Google should ever go into IPO they should use that.

Re:I love google but (2, Interesting)

hswerdfe (569925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960332)

Alternative to Gmail
mightbe freeshell.org

non-profit company provides email (pop, webmail, pine) access.

all it cost is $1 for 20MB....they also give webspace, and general ssh and telnet access.

amazing shit...

but your right non-profit indexing of the web is needed

Re:I love google but (2, Insightful)

mpk (10222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960335)

Commercial doesn't necessarily equal evil. If commercial means "having the money to implement things we think are cool in interesting ways without having to scrape around", that's a good thing. If, for instance, Google were having to go to venture capitalists to raise the funding to develop Gmail, development would be primarily driven by commercial concerns and interfered with by investors wanting to maximise return rather than the way it's being done, which seems to be to be more or less a drive to Do The Right Thing. If investors were clamouring for a return on their investment, you can bet Gmail would be being rushed into full service right now rather than going through a good long testing and shakedown period for making sure everything works the way it should.

However, in the long term Google ain't a charity and all of the staff and system resources needed to provide the search engine, Google News and Gmail have to be paid for somehow. If the least obnoxious way of doing that is via Google's fairly unobnoxious and much-less-evil-than-many-others approach to inline advertising, that's fine with me.

If Google do go public then they'll have to be very careful to make sure they keep the freedom they have at the moment - but it seems to work so well right now that any shareholder demanding changes for the sake of changes would be a fool.

Tin Soliders and Nixon's Coming (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8959897)

spam? (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959922)

you realize that if google wrings spam's neck in their implementation successfully (somehow), then they will:

1. have every single user on the internet signing up

2. singlehandedly save email itself from progressively encroaching social irrelevancy

Why always Hotmail? (4, Informative)

koi88 (640490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8959979)

Just because they were first?
I mean,
  • no pop3
  • ridiculously little space
  • no imap
  • reminds you to use Internet Explorer each time you use it with Mozilla
  • belongs to MS ;-)

My email provider offers pop3, imap, 12 mb storage (well, that's not much, if you pay, you get more), email forwarding etc. (some stuff I don't use, like sms when you get email). Of course, all for free and quite reliable for 3 years now.
So why always Hotmail?

Yet more testing notes (3, Informative)

mpk (10222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960058)

I've written a few thoughts on my initial impressions [uffish.net] of Gmail. Not much that hasn't been said before, but hey, it's another data point.

In summary - WHOA, keyboard shortcuts!

Check it out first (1)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960134)

If you have an active blog with blogger/blogspot you get an invitation to beta test it. Very experimental ideas in there for a mail client (the threading, loading), I can see why they need a lot of time for the testing.

Hey! (1)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960180)

Getting back to the privacy issue, Groove uses an encrypted XML store. One of the ways you could provide some clarity about the privacy issue would be to push this data through an encrypted store. You could keep the indexes unencrypted, but keep the rest of the data encrypted.

Nope that's not Sergey, that's the interviewer! Is this guy interviewing him or working for him?

Which one is Sergey? (1)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960196)

  1. Yes, and in the same way you can print a conversation, you could also print to RSS.
  2. Yeah, that's a very interesting idea.

.gnorw era uoy ,eno dekcip uoy fI

Re:Which one is Sergey? (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960287)

Sergey is 2. Apparently it looks like Sergey is getting feedbacks instead of being interviewed.

i dont understand (1)

iammaxus (683241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960316)

how does Google do everything so well, or at least better than any other company by far. Is it just led by some smart people who can higher some more smarter people? I know, its probably cause they use lots of linux everywhere. Yeah, that must be it. :P

The privacy concerns are overrated. (3, Insightful)

endersdouble (719120) | more than 10 years ago | (#8960340)

In my opinion, the privacy concerns people have about GMail are vastly overrated. Don't get me wrong, I'm just as privacy/rights obsessed as the next Slashdotter...but there isn't very much wrong with GMail. Go to Google, will you? Type something into the search box, let's say "books." No reason why, just a random word. On the right side of the screen, what do you see? Under the heading "sponsored links", you see adds for Amazon and the like. Things which paid to get in on the "books" search. Do people complain about this? No! But, I hear you cry, GMail is looking into my personal words! They can context-ad my searches, but not my email! And why not? From everything I've seen, it's been said that no person will EVER read what you've written/been sent. If that's true, then how is your privacy invaded? It's not! Pure code scanning your email and showing ads is not an invasion of privacy. But, I hear you cry, if they start with that, they may end up reading our email by hand/searching it for use other than anonymous advertising/whatever? So? So could Hotmail. So could Yahoo. We trust them not to actually read our mail. We have to trust Google too; we all know the lesson of Ken Thompson's "Reflection on Trusting Trust"...we have to trust any mail service at some point. My point? I'll trust them not to actually read them. Anonymous ad fetching? That's OK.
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