Ayende @ Rahien

It's a girl

Does history matters?

In Gmail, right now, I have 65,290 (non spam) messages, stretching back over 3 years. I routinely (once a week or so) need to refer to something that is at least six months old. I just had to dug in old backups to find an instant message log from 2006, because I had some information there that could not be found anywhere else.

My take on that is that yes, history matters, a lot. Moreover, being able to get to that history matters as well.

Today, I cannot imagine how I would try to manage myself without Gmail there to help me, being able to efficiently & easily search my entire history is the number one reason I love it so much.

Oh, and also important, make sure you have the backups :-) That IM log that I was talking about survived about 4 different computer transfers.

Comments

Rob Thijssen
11/20/2009 10:53 AM by
Rob Thijssen

Yes, I'm constantly referring to old GMail chats and messages for information that I would have otherwise lost. I'm looking forward to using Google Voice to keep records of old calls as well.

James
11/20/2009 11:34 AM by
James

Curious, how do you back up GMail?

Nic Wise
11/20/2009 12:05 PM by
Nic Wise

Before gmail (well, before I moved 100% to it), I had my own exchange server and email archiving setup (I worked for a company who made email archiving software, so I was dogfooding). Having everything - EVERYTHING - going back to 2000 was unbelievably convenient. All in about 5GB of SQL database (mine and my wife's).

Once I moved to gmail, I used the product's PST export feature and imported all that mail into gmail (premier edition of google apps). 104000 emails later (40K for her), I have it all in gmail. Indexed, tagged [archive], searchable, findable. From 2009 to 2000. Priceless.

At a guess, I have around 150-200K messages in gmail (around 3.5GB)...

Bottom line for me: if you are using Exchange, get an email archive, ESPECIALLY if you are a small company (I know of a good one... :) ). If you are using gmail, get as much stuff into it as you can..... the more you add, the more value it has.

:)

(best thing about gmail: I dont see spam. EVER)

Nic Wise
11/20/2009 12:07 PM by
Nic Wise

@James: you can do it with IMAP, which is kinda slow, but it works. Other than that: I beleive google is working on something to do it. At the moment, I trust google enough to not back it up myself.

Given they use the very same service for their own internal mail, I'd suggest that it's going to be more robust than any combination of me, my hard disk, any online backup, or any ISP I care to "sign up" with.

Rik Hemsley
11/20/2009 12:25 PM by
Rik Hemsley

As Rob mentions, if you use Google Talk, your chats are automatically saved and indexed in Google Mail. This is fantastic. Windows Live Messenger has no such thing, AFAIK. I hate having to dig out old WLM chats.

Ngu Soon Hui
11/20/2009 04:08 PM by
Ngu Soon Hui

I love gmail since the day I used it (2004). Now I have 900k emails (excluding chat items) in my inbox. I use gmail to backup my usernames and passwords for various sites, I use it to store files and other applications.

Gmail is the best, really.

Jonathan Vukovich
11/20/2009 04:49 PM by
Jonathan Vukovich

I recently converted a small business client over to Google Apps, primarily for their email hosting services. They wanted to go with Exchange/Outlook, but I convinced them otherwise.

It's been a year and they absolutely love it. There are plugins for sync'ing address books, calendars, etc, and they work great. Even better are the IPhone apps that sync everything as well. It's all self contained and they only have to manage it in one place. Nothing gets lost. Everything is accessible.

Google is awesome!

askheaves
11/21/2009 05:45 AM by
askheaves

And yet, corporate policy many places mandates a 90-day scrub of old emails.

I'd lose it if I couldn't look back 3 months on an issue that crops up again.

/me Proudly ducking corporate policy

James
11/21/2009 06:29 AM by
James

Nic it's not about redundancy but about Gmail one day terminating service

cowgaR
11/21/2009 10:42 AM by
cowgaR

I "see myself" in this post as well, but I throw here few of my observation...(been using gmail from the first invitation era)

  1. gmail talk (I know it's __not about voice IM here) is probably the worst VOIP client I have ever used, and I've used/tried a lot of them. Horrible voice quality/reception at its peak, so I completely given up on having this client installed...

  2. which brings us to "we're using it just for chat" or "I use my gmail account to chat with another user of gmail account", so let me warn you.

Messages you sent to the other person get lost from time to time periodically. I haven't been able to find why is this happening, whether if you type very fast (like me) or use SSL all the time (gmail settings)...

I'm loosing some sentences from time to time (e.g. the person I'm chatting to never sees one sentence, say out of 100) via gmail chat...

that's why I'm not using chat for critical things (copy/paste/urls) because sometimes the other guy isn't reacting at all (haven't received anything) and I still wonder whethere he/she's gone...

strange you won't notice it, unless you send your chat history to the other guy for comparison, and he's wondering that he sees 2 sentences he never saw via chat

I know it's nitpick, but sometimes it is important for the other side to see everything I have written

  1. as for message archiving, taking notes or to-do list and so on, GMAIL is the greatest product on earth there is ;) I abandoned bookmarks/delicio.us & comp and just search my account ;)

sorry for the long post

Nic Wise
11/21/2009 02:18 PM by
Nic Wise

@james it's all about risk management. I'm happy to take that risk. If I planned and did everything based around "one day this random thing could happen", I'd be a blubbering ball in the corner of the room.

Will Shaver
11/23/2009 05:37 PM by
Will Shaver

You could send yourself an email with the contents of those chat logs. I've done this for all sorts of different information I want to store.

Always interesting to see what ads google displays. :)

Comments have been closed on this topic.