Loving and hating the ‘new’ Gmail interface

Some weeks ago- it may actually be some months ago, since time goes by pretty fast lately- when I had to switch to the ‘new’ Gmail interface, I thought in changing my email client again because… because some reasons that I am going to go through in a minute.

Last week I got a new computer (yay!) and took advantage of the situation to try a new email client. Why? There was really no reason, but I ended up giving ‘Airmail‘ a try. One week later, I am back to Mailplane (which actually uses the Gmail interface). So far, I’ve tried Airmail, Mailplane, Sparrow,  Thunderbird, and Mail App. And I always keep coming back to Mailplane. Want to know why? Keep reading.

3 reasons why I hated the ‘new’ Gmail interface

  • How am I supposed to know how to edit the subject line when replying to an email? Clicking everywhere till I find it?


  • Same thing with the styles. Look at the image below. I thought I’d click the “+” (#1), because it looked like it could have what I was looking for, but instead I got a bunch of not so often used features (#2): smileys, calendar (which can be added automatically by including a date), etc. Oh well. Where were my colors, bullets and text editing tools? They were, again, hidden behind the underlined + italic A (#3) which, now that I know, makes sense, but pardon me, not before.


  • When responding to a thread, every time I wanted to delete an email I had started writing, I saved it as draft, went to drafts and discarded it. Why? Because I thought that clicking on the waste basket would delete all the thread. How was I supposed to know that this won’t happen? Again, once I knew- one day my husband saw me deleting an email like that and said: ‘What are you doing? Why you just don’t delete the email? And because I trust him, I did so :)- that gave me no more trouble, but before knowing, it was a pain.

I finally got used to finding all those things, I guess it was resistance to the change or something. The thing is, for better or for worst, these things weren’t bothering me anymore when I switched to Airmail.

I want to mention that it is also possible that the Gmail guide explained all those things, but the problem is that when the guide appeared in front of me I hadn’t time to go through it. I prefer things to be intuitive and self explanatory, and if not possible, I would like explanations when/ where I need them. I consider this part of a good product.

3 reasons I am loving it (Gmail/ Mailplane) again

  • When you archive or delete the first email and the second one is not read yet, Airmail, Mail App and others just mark it as read. Nooooooo! That’s my reason #1 to miss an email. And I don’t want to miss any emails.
  • Search just doesn’t work that well. I usually need to find addresses of people it’s been a while I haven’t exchanged an email with, or emails from the past. It’s just how I use it. This last week I ended up using Airmail but always having my Gmail account open in the browser because of so many times I couldn’t find the email I was looking for on Airmail.
  • Select a text from an email, e.g. a name you want to search on Google, make the search, come back to your email client and click on reply to. The result is that only the text you had selected it’s included in your response. Sometimes this may be a useful feature, I agree, actually, quite a few times, but not always. And with Airmail, Mail App, etc. you can’t disable it (as far as I know). With Gmail/ Mailplane this simply doesn’t happen.

And then there’s the calendar tabs, which is one of the best features Mailplane has added this year: you can have open tabs both for your email or for your calendar. I normally need  3 email accounts and 2 calendar accounts open, and Mailplane let’s me have it all open at the same time and easily switch from one to another. This is priceless.

There’s obviously things that I liked from Airplane/ Sparrow/ Apple Mail, but none of them is worth the change. I am going to stick to Gmail/ Mailplane.


2 comentarios

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2 Respuestas a “Loving and hating the ‘new’ Gmail interface

  1. I never really got the point of mailplane. If it’s just showing the web interface, why not just use a browser?

    Things I like about gmail’s web interface:
    – Clean
    – Threads show all messages *including those you sent*. That may seem obvious but neither Mail.app nor Airplane nor Sparrow do this (they show them as quotes but not as regular messages).
    – Very powerful search
    – Ability to show the inbox in the way that makes you more productive. For my personal account I use the new tabbed interface (“primary”, “social”, “promotions”); for my work account I use an inbox which shows messages marked as important first, since all others come from automated systems.
    – I can use the keyboard to navigate through mails, mark them with a star, reply to any mail or archive a thread.

    Things I don’t like about gmail’s web interface:
    – It can be CPU and battery consuming, especially if you are using hangouts. Gmail is the #1 energy consumer on my computer
    – It drives me nuts everytime it decies to kick you out from all sessions and then it won’t log in correctly until you log into your accounts slowly and one at a time.
    – No integrated system notifications. Yes, chrome notifications are ok, but they don’t really integrate with anything. If my OS X version has a feature called “notification center”, I would like to be notified right there.
    – I don’t care about someone having signed up for google plus. I don’t want any profile merged with any other unless I explicitly say so. Why do they keep messing with this?

    I have tried Airmail but IMO there is not much added value when compared to Mail.app. To date, my best option is to keep a dedicated browser only for gmail and to be notified via iOS.

    • Some of the features in your like list can also be found in other email clients, again, for me, the problem is what’s in the not-like lists. The things I don’t like from Gmail are way less bothering than the things I don’t like from other email clients.

      Also, re: this “If it’s just showing the web interface, why not just use a browser?”
      I personally use 2 Chrome user profiles and that makes me have at least 2 browser windows with email accounts/ calendars. Mailplane makes it just easier for me to have it all aggregated.


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