One of our recent Google Gmail posts offers a bunch of great commentary; enough to warrant continuing the conversation in a full-blown post. These types of discussions usually offer a wide variance in solutions and reasoning and I find tremendous benefit in them. Hopefully you do […]

gmail-shortcuts-in-windowsOne of our recent Google Gmail posts offers a bunch of great commentary; enough to warrant continuing the conversation in a full-blown post. These types of discussions usually offer a wide variance in solutions and reasoning and I find tremendous benefit in them. Hopefully you do as well.

James kicked off the original topic with his Gmail IMAP issues while on the road. As I stated in a comment there, I’ve been solely using Gmail’s IMAP service since leaving my Microsoft Exchange provider back in October of 2007. There were a few bumps along the road, but by and large, I rarely have issues. Some readers don’t either while some do. One thing that’s constant however is the mail environment that works best for you.

About half of my daily e-mail activity is in the Mail application on my iPhone. (Note to iPhone owners using Gmail IMAP: you don’t want to tap the Gmail button when configuring your iPhone’s Mail client! Follow the manual instructions provided by Google instead.) The other half of my time is split between using the Mac Mail client and Gmail’s web interface through either Firefox or Chrome. Several folks asked in the original post why bother using a mail client at all? Great question!

For me, it’s simply a matter of preference and the fact that I sometimes like to keep web reading & writing separate from mail activities. At times like that, I use Mac Mail to segregate my activities. There’s really not much of a technical advantage to my using Mac Mail, or any other client for that matter. The main reason I used a mail client at all was because I wanted offline access to my mail; Gmail’s newly added offline feature has essentially resolved that, so there’s no longer a reason I need to use a mail client any longer.

Another situation where I use the web for mail is when I’m on my netbook. While these smaller notebooks can do most anything a standard notebook can do, I try to conserve resources. Why bother wasting CPU-cycles and memory by running an application like Outlook or Thunderbird when I don’t have to? I’ve found Google’s Chrome browser to be ideal for Gmail on my netbook. As a nice touch, I’ve used Chrome to create a “Gmail application” on my Windows desktop, which is essentially just a dedicated shortcut to Gmail in Chrome. Actually, I have two of these: one for my personal Gmail and one for my GigaOM mail, which is a Google Apps account. To do this, just click the Page icon at the top right of Chrome and select the “Create Application Shortcuts…” option. You’ll be prompted for which location(s) to create the dedicated shortcut: Desktop, Start Menu and/or Quick launch bar.


In an effort to broaden horizons on the topic, why not share your mail client preferences? Do you use a mail client at all? If so, which one and what’s the compelling reason for you? I realize that some of you are in situation that warrant the necessity of using a mail client, so this definitely isn’t a “one size fits all” type of discussion. But perhaps you’ll get some insights that you hadn’t thought of. Have at it in the comments!

  1. Martijn van Gompel Monday, February 9, 2009

    I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook for a couple of years now. Especially the last couple of years when I got an exchange account. I like the offline acces to all my e-mails, it seems faster. Or the webacces I have is just so immensly slow. (adding things to the web calendar is this painstakingly hard) Another reason for me to use outlook is that I’ve got all my e-mail accounts bundeld. I have a private pop e-mail account, I have an exchange account (I used to have another exchange account but since I got fired I don’t use it anymore) and I’ve got a pop account wich I use for my website. I don’t wan’t to have 4 icons on my desktop wich link to 4 different websites. Its all nice and tidy under that one Outlook 2007 icon.

    Haven’t really thought of saving CPU cycles on my tablet-pc by using an online e-mail client. I think the difference is negligible.

  2. Nice post man…well i usually used outlook express as my email client. Never found windows mail in vista quite useful to me.

    But for now i stick with Gmail’s web interface since it already offers offline access which i find quite useful.

  3. Gmail . No second thoughts. Have been using it for last 4 years. I even forward my office mails to gmail and use that actively. Now use google apps. I wont change to IMAP / POP / Yahoo even of they pay me.

  4. Now that they have added offline access I believe that Gmail has no competition (in terms of usability) in the email space.

  5. MS Outlook 2007/Outlook mobile plus exchange.
    -Nice integrated e-mail, calendaring/tasks, contacts
    -Good to have all these features on windows mobile, easy to set up
    -Outlook contacts readable by skype, only need one list for all systems
    -Customizable interface, good visual display of information
    -Extra features come in handy (e.g. “meeting request” saves several e-mails plus an add to calendar)
    -Very good anti-spam technology

  6. I am in the minority I guess since I use Windows Live Mail on the PCs, on-line and on my phones. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a Gmail, Yahoo and other accounts but they all forward to my Live account.

    The main advantages to me are that Windows Live contact management is much better than Google’s, and both the contacts and mail are “push” to the phones and PCs. That way I everything is updated in real time and stays in sync whatever device I’m on.

  7. Almost all my email usage is via Pine, which is probably the most popular emailer at CL, particularly in customer service.


  8. i’m using outlook because work requires that we have to (long story). what i can’t stand is when i send a message from gmail webmail, i get a copy of the message i sent in my outlook inbox. why can’t gmail do something about that instead of having to contact my provider for configuration on their end? that is completely inexcusable and the main reason i use yahoo mail as my personal e-mail account.

  9. I have been using Gmail since it first came out, first POP then IMAP. I use the Mozilla Thunderbird email client (previously used MS Outlook). At work I am forced to use Lotus Notes and Sametime instant messenger. I like the way I can manage my offline folders and easily move large amounts of old mail around to different devices using a thumb drive.

  10. Outlook 2007. I’ve never really found web based services to be feature rich enough for me, although I may be out of date with my thinking there.

    For instance all of my email comes in to one hosted exchange account from various forwarders, etc. When I want to create a new outgoing email I select which account from the accounts drop down and send through one of several different SMTPs or the Exchange account itself. Outlook automatically changes my signature file too.

    I love how it syncs with my laptop and iPhone – although that’s mostly down to Exchange rather than Outlook but the two go hand in hand in some respects.

    When I briefly used Mac OS X (I bought an MSI Wind purely to put Mac OS X on to have a play with) I used Entourage and I found it to be just as useable as Outlook. That keeps a mutiny to Apple on the cards for one day in the future.


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