Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's the little things in Gmail

When people write articles about Gmail, they usually focus on the big stuff, like how we offer 2.7+ gigs of free storage. But I've actually found that some of the smallest features we've launched have made just as big of a difference, at least to me and the way I use email.

For starters, Gmail has helped eliminate a bunch of duplicate replies that I used to get in mailing lists. You know how a lot of times someone will email a list and get a bunch of responses from different people that all say roughly the same thing? Last week, we added a feature where if I'm a reading an email conversation, or replying to one, and someone else replies to the same email, a notification pops up telling me there's a new message. Then I just click a link and Gmail adds the message to the conversation. This is also great because it means I don’t end up being embarrassed by responding to a list just as someone else is sending a response that’s way better.

There are a few other gems that have made email just work better for me: viewing attachments in HTML instead of downloading all of them; replying by chat rather than email when I need a quick answer; and the ability to chat with someone even when they're offline, and have those chats show up in their inbox when they sign in again.

These smaller features never get as much attention as the big ones, but I think they deserve it. They've changed the way I email, and made me grateful to the people who spend the time to get the little things right.

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