Катя (inostranka) wrote,

GMail vs Yahoo!Mail Plus

So, I am a proud user of gmail. I also have a few invitations I can give out, so feel free to comment on this entry, if you want an invite (put your name and email address to send the invite to in the comment).

What's so special about gmail? Main advantages: it's faster due to use of JavaScript (fewer page loads), has many convenient featurettes (e.g., marking messages sent to you personally, rather than a mailing list; inline spell-checker), and a few innovative solutions (e.g., labels/categories instead of folders). And search, as expected, is fast and convenient; I particularly like the ability to specify both "has the words" and "doesn't have the words" together in the search criteria. There are still quite a few kinks to work out (see my list of nitpicks below), most of which they are working on. It does not seem like they are planning to make it into a portal, a la Yahoo, e.g., I think I'll have to continue using Yahoo for calendar, full-featured online address book, and notes.

Boring technical comparison of gmail and yahoo email features (you have been warned!).

Pros (as compared to Yahoo):

  • Very fast, as you'd expect Google to be

  • Auto-reloads to show new emails, without having to click "check mail".
  • Specially marks emails sent to you personally (not mailing list) and to you only.

  • Labels instead of folders: can add more then one label to a message; can view all labeled messages together

  • Extensive use of JavaScript, dramatically reducing the need for page loads. For example, "reply" or "full headers" are in the same window using JavaScript, no need for extra page loads

  • Search and Filters allow to specify both "has the words" and "does not have the words" (in Yahoo you can pick either, but not both, "contains the words" or "does not contains the words") - I think this is an extremely powerful feature.
  • Search allows to search for messages with/without attachments; limit to a period (day, week, month) around a date (Yahoo only has "dated before/dated after/dated on").
  • Groups emails by "conversation", e.g., keeps replies grouped together

  • Very convenient spell-checker right in the email window, that highlights misspelled words, rather than require you to click "ignore" tens of times.

  • Address auto complete is smart, checking from most frequently used addresses first

  • Automatically saves addresses of people you send mail to

  • Can choose to see snippets of messages in inbox view (similar to outlook)

Shortcomings (compared to Yahoo):

  • No ability to save draft

  • I got into some trouble with encodings - in particular, I cannot reply to comments in Russian from my gmail account, it gets all garbled in the process. Others report similar problems with encodings.
  • Labels - they are a great concepts, but as yet not fully developed by Google. In particular, I would like to be able to see and search for emails with no labels or with multiple labels, not just one specific one.
  • Very limited contact list: it is only a way to save email addresses, not full contact information; can't import contact list; no nicknames for contacts - need to remember start of email address or name

  • No automatic forwarding

  • No POP3 access

  • No way to change the "from" address (useful if you want to use an alias to send email from this account).

  • No calendar, notes, briefcase.

When I sent my list of nitpicks to Google, they said that they are working on:

  • Automatic forwarding of your email to another account

  • Plain HTML version of Gmail (for those disliking JavaScript)

  • Import/export Contacts

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