How Gmail destroyed my life (and Outlook.com gets it back)
Back in 2004 I was one of the lucky few to get invited to gmail in the initial months while invites were still being sold on ebay for over $10 a pop. Back then it was an amazing concept, two gigabytes of email storage (plenty for YEARS to come) so you would never NEED to delete a message again. This was in a era where competing email providers were gracious enough to give you 10-25MB, so it was a huge leap.
Here’s the thing, having access to historical emails is certainly useful, and I have had to go back many years at times to find a file that a client deleted by accident. But the problem is that Gmail was designed in an era before greymail (or BACN as some might call it). Spam filtering existed to keep the garbage out, and you had filters to shovel messages off into labels or the rubbish bin, but there never was (and still isn’t) a way to keep the most recent ad from Amazon and junk any older ones.
Unfortunately (and you can call this bad management on my part, but it’s time consuming) I now have 15 THOUSAND conversations in my gmail inbox from the past four years (totaling 0.7GB of space) and going through and cleaning every old newsletter or only useful-at-the-time message is a horrendously time consuming task. In fact, I will probably be at it for over a month, and I will finish the process because my goal is to move the ‘meat’ of my old email over to Outlook.com.
I’ll take my experience with Gmail as one of learning, and while Outlook.com’s sweep feature will make managing my greymail much easier I think that the philosophy of ‘save everything’ is flawed when you aren’t trying to data-mine for advertising data.