I’ve gone native. (Or – Google’s UI and I are parting ways)

Today Google announced that they were releasing a new Composer for GMail.

It’s awful.  They made the window small, and right justified it.  I feel like I have to crane my neck at an unnatural angle in order to see what I’m writing, and worse yet, they’ve turned my good old message composition interface into something akin to a web forum or chat window.

This is NOT what I’m looking for in my email user experience.

A few months back, Google also did a full on revamp of the GMail UI that utterly convinced me they have an unrelenting hatred of the visually impaired. The entire screen looked as if it had been bleached of color and life, and the contrast was so low I could literally barely read it at all.

After squeals of protect from a large chunk of their user base, they relented and produced a ‘high contrast’ setting, which was better.

In short, I can’t keep feeling like I’m being punched full in the face by Google every few months. I respect their right to innovate their products in whatever way they see fit, but thankfully I don’t have to choose between liking it or hitting the road.

I’ve switched to Apple’s Mail.app and iCal. They work great, aren’t actively hostile to the visually impaired, and allow me to keep using the Google back end so I can keep my old email addresses and contact info.

Apple may be many things, but one thing they are great about is providing accessibility features for the handicapped. It’s not like I have any illusions about being a minority – most people can probably read the ghostly low contrast color theme just fine, and probably like the fact that their email now looks more like IM.

More power to them I say 🙂

Update:  Can’t lie, it’s been a rough go.  Gmail’s IMAP access throttles throughput beyond a certain point, and Apple Mail can’t handle the large mailboxes I have even with having given them a serious slim down.  I really wish there were a solution to this problem.

Update Update: I’ve essentially given up on this 😦 Mail.app just plain stinks.  It might be fine for folks with a single account or maybe very light usage on multiple accounts, but with two Gmail accounts and lots of labels, it’s downright abysmal.  It takes 15-20 minutes to get everything in sync, and then often takes another 20 minutes just to exit the app! This is not my idea of an enterprise class  eMail application.  I’m disappointed in you Apple!


2 thoughts on “I’ve gone native. (Or – Google’s UI and I are parting ways)

  1. And I tell people, I tells them — I don’t care what kinda gee-gaw fancy whiskers you think yer mail problem’s got, the only decent clients are command-line driven. Then they tells me, every damn time, look, I gotta spec here, says that non-AJAX calls must be responded to within – and they name a small nummer of milliseconds here, the kinda thing we woulda thought okay for disk access back in nineteen eighty something – and that AJAX calls should complete within blah blah blah.

    And I say back to them, yeah, that’s nice, but I ain’t never seen no graphical mail or web mail or what have you that actually did that, and you don’t got one now to show me, do yas? And they don’t.

    It’s like that. So use mutt, with a local mailspool brought to you by imapsync, and if it’s big, a daily or hourly re-indexed full text search database like notmuch or mairix or maildir-utils can do for ya. And remember to filter automatically and file when yer done and brush yer teeth all regular, you’ll be happy.


    1. I understand where you’re coming from with this – I truly do. I ran mutt for years – and it is perhaps the best command line based mail client in existence.

      However, I will argue that Gmail provides a higher bandwidth, more usable interface to reading mail.

      Quite simply, I find the idea of needing to physically move messages into folders to be way too simplistic for my needs. Tagging makes WAY more sense to me.

      To each his own.



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