Everyone does e-mail wrong

posted by Jeff | Friday, August 31, 2012, 4:32 PM | comments: 0

I was initially thrilled to see how Microsoft finally trashed Hotmail with a viable alternative, its Outlook e-mail service. Then I realized that it suffers from the same problem that virtually every e-mail system has other than Gmail: It throws e-mail away.

It wasn't really a conscious effort, but back in the days of Eudora as a desktop e-mail program, I never emptied the trash. It saved all of my sent e-mail, so I figured it would only make sense to save the e-mail I received as well. It turns out to be a useful record of communication. For that reason, I have pretty much all of the e-mail I've ever had dating back to 1996.

I find desktop e-mail clients, including those in OS X and Windows 8, to be slow and not that useful in the way they run. I've been using browser-based e-mail now for longer than I didn't. Even before Gmail came around, I ran my own mail server, and it had a Web-based client.

But still, why does Outlook (and presumably Yahoo and others) want to always delete my e-mail? Is it because the idea of "archive" isn't a native part of the mail protocols like IMAP or POP? Just today, I wanted to find out what some of the terms were for my current merchant account, and those details are still in a PDF I could easily find in Gmail, from many years ago. Sometimes I need to look back at previous communication with a business partner from nine months ago, or review what we talked about, and it's there. Sure, I delete unimportant newsletters or marketing stuff, but mail from humans doesn't need to be thrown away when I have more storage space than I'll ever need.


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