Following in the footsteps of software giant Microsoft, Google made sure to add just enough performance issues, annoyances, unnecessary features, and poor support to their product before its official release.
When I first started using Gmail several years ago, I loved it. It was a huge improvement over my old Juno, Yahoo, or Hotmail accounts at the time. It enabled me to manage my inbox in ways I couldn't before, adding Search, Labels, and the conversation view feature that grouped messages more clearly. The spam filter caught most of the junk coming in. Over time, Google has made many useful updates to the service, adding IMAP support and more.
However, email today isn't what it was then. As the amount of email being sent and received has grown, Gmail has failed to keep up. Instead of being a supplementary messaging system, email is ubiquitous. It is also multimedia enabled, or should be. Can you tell me why I can't even copy/paste a photo into an email with Gmail?
Increasingly, Gmail has fallen behind in offering better ways to organize the information in the inbox. As services like Xobni and Xoopit and CC Betty and Gist and yes, even Microsoft, have tried to help users organize the mountain of information streaming into the inbox, Gmail's "innovation" has been limited to gimmicks like skins and other bloatware. I mean, do I really need to play Snake in my inbox? (Yes, for those of you who may have missed it, there is an option in Gmail Labs that allows you to play the old cell phone time waster game Snake inside Gmail.)
At a time when email needs to once again be reinvented, when email should be rapidly evolving and is clearly insufficient in its current form, now is a mighty curious time to take off the Beta label.
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