Back to GMail…

April 20, 2007

After using Yahoo Mail Beta for over a year, and Windows Live Mail for a little bit before that, I’ve decided to switch back to GMail.

I had some trouble with GMail almost two years ago and I decided to try out Windows Live Mail Beta (new at that time). I then had some trouble with Windows Live Mail and got an invite to Yahoo Mail Beta, so I switched over to that.

Lately, I’ve been having trouble with Yahoo Mail Beta so I looked around again to find the best webmail solution and it does certainly seem that GMail is the front runner. Here’s how GMail won me over:

  • Conversation view. Always use it in Outlook, been trying to manage without it in Yahoo! Mail for a while. Suprisingly, I can’t seem to find it on any other webmail offering (am I missing a setting somewhere?)
  • POP Access and Forwarding. Note to Yahoo: I’m not going to pay you $20/year for a feature that other services offer for free.
  • Ability to manage all my e-mail addresses in one place. You can set it up so that all e-mail goes to one GMail account and you can even set it so that replies look like they’re coming from whatever e-mail address you want.
  • Performance. Yahoo Mail Beta is unbearably slow on my computer now. The new AIM Mail Beta doesn’t feel much better (sorry Rose!)
  • Desktop notifier. No need to keep a browser window open anymore! Especially when Firefox seems to take up 200MB of memory with Yahoo Mail Beta loaded…

While some of the webmail solutions have some of these features I’ve just listed, only GMail seems to have them all.

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I’m not sure how many people experience this, but some of my e-mail is really delayed in Yahoo! Mail Beta. Yesterday, I just received an e-mail message that was actually sent to me last Thursday. That’s actually slower than if my friend had wrote me a letter and physically mailed it to me via the post office! Now, if this was a one time occurrence, I’d chalk it up to some slow mail servers on the other end. However, I’ve been experiencing this for the past few months where random pieces of e-mail would be really slow.

So… goodbye Yahoo!

Yahoo Mail Beta

I had noticed a few weeks ago that Windows Live Mail now works in Firefox, so I figured I’d give WLM another try. I used WLM a while back and was pretty satisfied with it – until I switched to Mac. Back then, WLM only worked in IE, so I had no choice but to check out other alternatives.

Welcome back Windows Live Mail 🙂

Windows Live Mail Beta

While I was setting up e-mail, I figured I’d give AIM Mail a try too – especially since Rose works on the PM team over there now 🙂

A new challenger?

AIM Mail

Will I stick with WLM or AIM Mail? Who knows? (I’m sure many of you are thinking “who cares?” 😛 )

Hello Web 2.0!

January 30, 2006

One of the projects I’ve been working on at Plaxo has been a little Web 2.0 widget called Plaxo Address Book Access and we released it late last week!

Basically, if you ever need a user to type in e-mail addresses for any reason, we’ve got the answer for you. Now with in a few minutes, you can allow users on your site to import e-mail addresses from MSN/Hotmail, Yahoo!, GMail, Outlook, or Outlook Express. Then, it’s displayed in a list where users can choose which e-mail addresses they want to populate in your form and viola – contact import from webmail for almost 0 work!

Here’s what it looks like: first, users get to choose where they keep their contacts

Plaxo Address Book Access Widget

Then, they login like they usually do

Plaxo Address Book Access Widget

Finally, they get to choose which contacts they want to grab (usually the e-mail addresses are filled into the right side, but I’ve removed them in Photoshop)

Plaxo Address Book Access Widget

Super cool huh? You’ll never have to write a screen scraper for Hotmail or Yahoo again! If you have questions, let me know 🙂

Sorry in advance if my feed goes whack over the next few hours; I’ve just added the YPN JavaScript snippet in my feed generating php code.

Anyone else try YPN RSS ads with any success?

googlerefI saw on Slashdot that AdSense added a new type of revshare today: Referrals. (Don’t worry, these graphics aren’t actual ads) Slashdot talked about how they are paying publishers $1 for every Firefox + Google Toolbar download. I wonder how much each Firefox + Google Toolbar user is worth to Google (I’d have to assume it’s something > $1). Along with the Firefox referral, they’ve also launched a system where you can get paid out if you refer another publisher to AdSense (if you refer someone to AdSense, you get a $100 bonus after they make their first $100). Sounds like it might be non-trivial to get paid in that program, but hey, for $100 a pop, I’d try it 🙂
firefoxref
So what does this mean for YPN and MSN? Well, from what I can tell from the ToS, Google counts each of these things as an Ad Unit and you can’t run any competing ads so if you want to get in on the $1 / Firefox user deal, you can’t be showing YPN or MSN contextual ads. Smells slightly anti-competitive, but I’m not a legal expert.

I think this is a brilliant move, and unless YPN can match (or exceed) $1 / Y! Toolbar user, they might be in trouble. Then again, maybe this stuff won’t take at all and contextual ads will continue to be the main revenue driver; I guess we’ll find out.

From Microsoft’s perspective, this has got to be an interesting move on Google’s part. Basically, they are now paying people to encourage users to switch away from IE (from my reading of the ToS, you can readily recommend Firefox/AdSense, as long as you don’t draw undue attention to the referral links). Does this one-up the “use IE because it’s included with your OS” strategy?

Next step… Google paying users to browse using Firefox + Google toolbar? Maybe we’ll be partying like it’s 1999 with those “get paid to browse” outfits that got scammed; then again, Google can solve that problem, just like they’ve solved the click spam problem right? ohhhh snap! 😛

Hmm… did people already talk about this and did I miss it in my aggregator? Or where is everyone on this?

Well, first Google had it; then Microsoft followed suit. Now Y! Maps is interactive and draggable. They’ve taken some ideas from Google and MSN’s Virtual Earth and combined them with their own little touches.

I like the little “nearby” pane that shows the stuff next to your current detailed view. I also like how the local search doesn’t limit itself to 10 items (like VE); giving me more options to choose from. Plus, if you type in an address next to local businesses, it’ll ask you if you were looking for one of them – super cool!

New Yahoo! Maps!

Interesting that they decided to make this a Flash app. It enables some really cool click-drag functions (try dragging a local search result into the “Get Maps and Directions” area 🙂 ). I guess that most everyone has flash by now, so it’s probably a safe bet; I’m sure most people won’t even notice that it’s Flash, they’ll just notice how cool it is.

I hope they improve the map drawing a little bit (I think VE currently has the nicest looking maps), but I see some really promising features here.

Looks like at this point in the game, Google Maps is actually behind the competition… hopefully they’ll release some new stuff soon 😀

(Originally found on Y!’s blog, but I see Jeremy’s on it and so is Mike over at TechCrunch)

MSN + Y! -> :)

October 14, 2005

Ah finally, MSN and Y! have decided to throw down the gauntlet and join IM networks. Man, has this been a long time in the coming or what?

Why does this excite me? Because to me, the fact that the IM networks were never connected has always been a major annoyance. Think about it this way, when you send an e-mail, do you have to think about what domain the recipient is on and switch to the appropriate client? Heck no, you just send it off and SMTP does its magic! Now there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel for the IM world – maybe we’ll get completely interoperable IM one day.

What does this mean? Users win. Imagine if the IM network itself was commoditized. At this point, the competition in IM clients really starts to heat up – after all, why would I use MSN Messenger if it didn’t have the coolest features? I could simply download Y! Messenger and IM all my MSN friends.

And lastly, I’m excited because I think Plaxo has the potential to enhance the user experience as well. For the next version of AIM, we’ve already built really cool address book features which differentiate AIM from the other IM clients. What’s up next? Sorry, can’t blog about it. You’ll just have to wait and see 🙂