Apr 02, 2004

notes on gmail

Because I’m just a bit obsessive about email, a few notes on the screenshots of Gmail posted by Kevin Fox.

  • Primary button for managing messages? Archive. Not delete, archive. I’m sure there’s a delete action in the “more actions…” dropdown. Reinforces the two key value props of the service: a gig of storage, and email search.* This also signals to me that they must be fairly confident in their spam filtering…
  • The conversation threading is interesting; especially the toggle for “show quoted text.” The rules around that must be interesting.
  • Assume that clicking on the little blue star is the equivalent of flagging a message in Outlook. I’m not gonna file this, but I need to be able to find it quickly for action.
  • Assume that multiple labels can be assigned to each message. Voila, virtual folders.
  • Does the proximity of the “Create a Filter” action to the search box mean that any search term can be turned into a filter?
  • What’s that textarea doing at the bottom of the message? Quick reply?
  • Did Jason and Kevin hardcode their links to shellen.com and fury.com? Or is Gmail parsing those and linking them automagically?
  • Check out those hotkey shortcuts. Nice.

According to Kevin’s post, the related pages aren’t ads, they’re related pages. Speaking of ads… Even looking at the related pages on the screenshots, the targeting to the message content is a bit…foreign. But Jarvis put a fine point on the whole issue today: if you’re using a webmail service, they’re already scanning the content of every single one of your messages – for spam filtering purposes. (And then again for security purposes, stripping out HTML tags/scripting that will conflict with their UI or introduce vulnerabilities.)

* The Gmail archive button is the interface equivalent of the big yellow pause button on the Tivo remote. They both live at the intersection of interaction design and marketing.