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Gmail Doesn't Scale, Marissa Says  (View post)

Jim [PersonRank 0]

Wednesday, March 8, 2006
18 years ago

Um, 700-800 emails per day? Over a business day, that nets out to one email every 36 seconds. Unless the majority is spam, how can one even come close to being productive, unless your full-time job is to manage email?

Maybe there are jobs that do require managing vast quantities of email per day, but I really fund that unlikely.

If you must manage vast quantities of email, my suggestion is to use something like Outlook or Thunderbird. You will get much more flexibility and better performance with an offline email client than just about ANY Web-based client.

Googlist [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

Pine?! I find that program a depressing throwback to somewhere near 1992. It's like DOS for email--powerful at its core but primitive in its implementation. Sure you can have an entirely keyboard-based email experience and skip between messages instantly, but it is quite the uninspiring email interface. (from the folks who invented it)

Denis [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Not surprised at all.

Pine (and perhaps quite a few trusted and tested text mode applications) is extremely powerful. You can't achieve the efficiency of doing any operation you could imagine with a couple key presses.

See how long it takes you to take all messages from "example[put at-character here]" and move them to a new mailbox called "Example Messages". With pine, it takes 3+2 keypresses (not counting the time to type the address and mailbox name). That's about 2 seconds.

Note that by default, Pine comes with most "advanced" features disabled and you need to turn them on. This is by design so it does not scare beginner users. However, once you learn all the features you can be extremely efficient.

Trust me, I've been using it for over a decade. I still use Thunderbird and web-based mail to access same mailboxes when I'm on the road or just absolutely need to see HTML messages in all their glory.

alek [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

I believe that Craig Newmark (from Craigslist) also uses Pine – ditto comments above that it is an oldie but goodie.

Greg [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Dennis – 4 keystrokes, 4 mouse clicks. Not including the names as you said. Probably about 3 seconds.

Not exactly overwhelmed by that example ;)

It's just what you know, like people claiming VI is a great text editor (its not).

Skidoo [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

Overall, keystrokes are waaaay more efficient that mouse clicks, no doubt. But I can't think of any features in Pine that would make is superior to Gmail when it comes to processing large quantities of e-mail. Gmail has keystrokes for every function too.

John Sturgeon [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

Skidoo – Not *every* function... but for those of us who are keyboard junkies, GMail Macros help:

crwth [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

From reading the CNN interview with Marissa, I get the impression that she uses Pine due to two speed advantages. The one touched on in this thread is that keyboard input/navigation is often faster. (No wasted time aiming the mouse at buttons or small targets.) And yes, Gmail Macros has mostly patched that problem when running Gmail under Firefox. The other advantage of something like Pine is that you can issue several commands quickly, and they will be buffered until Pine is able to execute them all. Gmail, as a web application, experiences "Loading..." delays during which the user can issue no futher commands without screwing up the one that Gmail is already working on. In my mind, it's not the delays that are the problem so much as the disruption in flow.

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