Tag Archives: gmail

Googlers Told to Buzz off; Yahoo Was Ahead of the Curve, Relieved No One Noticed

Pretty much as soon as Google launched Buzz in Gmail, the stings started a-coming. (I knew they would, I just knew it.) Alley Insider did a great “Code Red” timeline of the scramble to un-fuck-up:

February 9 — Google Buzz launches.

February 10 — In a post titled “WARNING: Google Buzz Has A Major Privacy Flaw,” We complain that before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with most. Our complaint is that Google forces users to opt-out, rather than opt-in, to exposing this private information publicly.

February 11 — Google updates Buzz to make it easier to opt-out of publicly displaying lists of followers.

February 12We suggest this change doesn’t go far enough.

February 12 — A woman complains that Google automatically set her up to be followed by her abusive ex-husband.

February 13Google goes all the way, replacing an opt-out feature, auto-following, with an opt-in feature, auto-suggesting.

February 16 — Google promises more changes, including a more prominent “mute” option. Says a Google spokesperson, “Some people feel like there is too much noise in the inbox and this is something we are working on better controls for.”

A former Google employee even started a virtual Buzz complaint box.

But what really cracks me up about this whole thing — all the excitement and creeping-out, hemming and (ye)hawing — is that Yahoo started rolling out an automated social wire and status updates on the What’s New page of its mail client months ago (like, August of 09), and no one even noticed. They even posted the latest on the Mail blog on February 5, four days before Buzz exploded:

It’s less invasive than Google’s, as far as I’m concerned (I have email addresses with both), but still pretty, well, fucking stupid. Good thing for Yahoo nobody cares enough to give them a hard time.

[Thanks, Ahs.]

Tabbed Browsing, Unlimited Storage, Dripping with Charisma [UPDATED]

Forget the nameless, faceless error messages of yore. Today’s Internet has a personality — and it’s cool. This morning, my sister ran into a minor snafu with the aw-shucksily contrite Mozilla Firefox…


…while I received a note from Gmail above my inbox that started “Hey! This is important.” And honestly, I would not have read it had it not contained such a preface. I think that if my life were a sitcom, my webmail would be the witty, sarcastic next door neighbor. Gmail is my Chandler.

Update, Sept 30, 2009:

Not to be outdone in cleverness and adorability, my blog host, WordPress, recently served up this quippy gem:

wordpress clip

What Your Emails Really Say

Gmail was, once upon a time, an invite-only cool kids’ club of early adopters. Today, it is unquestionably the standard for today’s 20- and 30-somethings: personal email for the professionals, and professional email for the pseudo-professionals/freelancers/artists/perennially-unemployed/web-trepreneurs. “Very late-twenties,” as my friend recently put it.

email clipart

But not so long ago there was no Gmail. There was Hotmail. And YahooMail. And before that AOL. Tracing the evolution is like looking at the rings of a tree, or geological strata. The earliest ancestors have died off: you shan’t be receiving anything from the fossils of Prodigy or Eudora. Still, the old guard is adapting, trying to keep up with the cutting edge in electronic letter-writing. Where you stand in the fray may represent as much about you as the clothes you wear, or whether you order hoagies, heroes or subs.

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