GMail beta - Is beta a version name or part of the product name? Wondering as it stays forever...

by Hari K. Gottipati

Shouldn't it be "2years ( and still in beta)" instead of "2GB (and counting)"?

More than 2 years I have been using GMail, but I never impressed by its reliability. It always gives problems. Some times clicking on mail loads the message for ever until you click it on again. It frustates me particularly when I see an important message in Inbox, but couldn't open it. There are sitiuations where I felt "what if GMail cannot open this important message forever?". Some times it keeps sending the mail for ever until you click it on send button again. From the last 30 minutes(09/28/06, around 10:30PM MST) I have been trying to send a email that I composed, but I couldn't. After 2 minutes of hanging with the word "sending" in top right corner it displayed the Java Script alert message "Oops, the system was unable to perform.....". I can't even save it is a draft. How come a product which is 2 years old is still buggy? For God sake, its still in beta. (if the product name is "GMail" not "GMail beta"-:)). How come a company like Google can keep the product in beta for a long time? Oh boy!

How many complaints about GMail issues?. Will Google ever focus on fixing the GMail issues instead of adding new features? I doubt it only adds features to make the headline news or to impress Wall Street. Instead of fixing the issues, Google concentrated on merging GTalk with GMail(which most of the time won't work inside proxy, even if it works it keeps disconnecting, connecting....), increasing the mail box size, RSS feeds in GMail etc. Do we need all these features with out core mail functioning properly?

MSN launched live mail(Ajax versions of hotmail) recently and its no more in beta. But the 2 year old GMail still stays in beta. Can't Google fix the problems and take the GMail to next level? Surprisingly its still not open to public, its still by invitation only. Can't they handle the load on serves if it is open to public? If they can't handle the load I doubt that how( the hell) they handle the 2GB(and counting) mail boxes?

Another good(worst) feature from GMail is POP3 access which will be out of sync with web version. If you read a mail in web, its not read in POP3 and vice versa. All your emails including sent mails will show up in inbox. Cant identify the actual inbox mails vs sent mails. Anyway, this is a design issue not a reliability issue.

I am damn sure that I will see GMail beta version forever!!!! Are you having the issues with GMail? Share your horror experiences here in comments.

74 Comments

pjm
2006-09-29 00:11:46
Nope, it's been pretty much rock solid since day one for me. None of the "behind a proxy" problems you describe, maybe *3 or 4 times* (in 2 years of everyday use) it's given the "Oops.." message. Compared to any other mail system I've used that offers the sort of functionality they're providing it's been a dream ride.
Jose
2006-09-29 01:53:31
Well i use other webmail so i don't have any to comment except i'd suggest to gmail to change the basic red m-enveloped icon in his toolbar, it's pretty simple and don't transmit strong technology.
Just my 2 cents.
Gani
2006-09-29 02:07:04
this is the first time I am hearing that Gmail has such a problem... I am using from quite a long.... no problem except 2-3 times with oops.. or under maintenance message....!!
iw
2006-09-29 02:19:55
gmail works fine for me. On all platforms (win, mac, lin), using different devices (desk,- laptop and mobile) and wherever I am (home, office, train, outdoors).


I think you should igrate to Live. Good luck!

Per
2006-09-29 02:58:49
I've had very few problems with my Gmail over the years, but I've heard of friends who have had problems. Somehow, the problems doesn't seem to be evenly distributed over the users...
I use POP3 to get a local copy of the emails, which is great, but prefer the web interface to access the email.
jajis
2006-09-29 03:58:28
I experience the "loading..." message problem also, but I figured out, it's not problem of GMail. This happens when your connection is lagging - GMail AJAX script trys to open the message, but gives up after some time leaving the message displayed. Than you click again, when the connection is better and everything seems to work again. Blame your telco, not google.
xen
2006-09-29 04:02:11
Sorry, but this is looser's and trolling post. I have sometimes problems on slow connection, but there is option to switch to plain html. Beta status meaning that they open to suggestions.


Anyway, I'm completely disagree with you!


P.S. MSN mail is boring because it's more complicated and full of banners

Hari K Gottipati
2006-09-29 09:19:42
Blame your telco, not google.

Its not my internet problem, I use cable internet and I cehcked the download speed when I had this problem last night. Its 4.6 Mbps. I think this speed is enough -:).
Hari K Gottipati
2006-09-29 09:31:24
xen,


Beta status meaning that they open to suggestions.

Check M. David Peterson's thoughts on this.
Anyway, I'm completely disagree with you!

Fine, may be you never had any problems with GMail.
P.S. MSN mail is boring because it's more complicated and full of banners

I agree with you on this. I mentioned about the annoying ads (both in Hotmail and Yahoo mail) in my previous blog. I mentioned Hotmail just to point out the beta time.



javierg
2006-09-29 10:46:14
As far as I know, you can now create an account without an invitation (they require for you to have a cell phone though) as for the problems, yes, I have had them in the past, but only over slow connections, after I switched to cable everything works like a charm.
M. David Peterson
2006-09-29 19:04:33
@Harry,


I had to run out soon after writing my follow-up, and didn't have a chance to add a comment.


Adding a bit to your overall message, the last month+ has seen an array of issues that have forced me to adjust how I use my GMail account. While it would be impossible to know the exact number of delayed emails**, as of the last 2 weeks I have found at least two, possibly three, time sensitive emails that arrived in my inbox anywhere from 14 hours to three days after they were sent.


In one of the cases it was one of my sisters who's had too many things going on at the same time last Friday night and needed me to pick up one of her sons and bring him home. She sent the email at 6:30 on Friday evening, but just stated "could you pick up [sons name] tonight from [location] and bring home for me?". It arrived in my inbox at 8:30 the next morning, of which I responded at 8:31 with "sure. what time?" only to notice the time stamp after I had sent the reply.


It turned out okay, as she was able to adapt her schedule, and in this particular case, even if she wasn't able to adapt, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. Regardless, if Google is having issues with processing and delivering email in a timely manner, even if its an isolated incident (though, as mentioned, this is only one of several I have noticed over the last couple of weeks), I can't take any chances with anything that holds even the slightest potential of being time sensitive material.


So with this in mind, I am slowly having to move away from GMail for anything other than lists that I subscribe to, and moving towards one of my private email addresses of which I have full control over the SMTP server in which sends and receives for that particular account. If my own system is down, thats one thing... At least I know its down, and can adapt things accordingly.


But how can I possibly know if/when Google is having problems with delivering email in a timely manner? I can't, nor should I even be expected to, and therefore I have to move towards a solution in which I maintain (at least some!) control over. It's just not worth the risk to use my GMail account for anything other than casual communications any more.


Oh, and regarding all of your sending problems, etc... I am COMPLETELY with you on this. I have this problem on every machine I use over EXTREMELY fast internet lines and on EXTREMELY fast/powerful machines.


The problem isn't a machine or internet connection problem. In fact, in my own opinion, its not even a Google problem. It's an AJAX problem.



** Checking the time stamp of each email as it arrives in my inbox, and even more so those that get immediattely labeled and archived via a filter, is not something I would consider worth the effort.

M. David Peterson
2006-09-29 19:07:55
@*Hari* << Sorry... by force of habit I spelled your name incorrectly, even though I was aware of how your name is properly spelled.


My apologies for not catching it before I hit the Post button!

Frank
2006-10-04 23:35:59
GMail was really cool 2 years ago but for a company that was on the cutting edge of AJAX applications when they released GMail and Google Maps they are being left in the dust by Yahoo and the rest. I still use GMail every day but there are a couple of things that I think it needs desperately and one part that is broken completely. I think it needs a folder structure for mail storage (sorry but labels don't cut it because you can't nest them) and it needs a better UI. Why do I have to reload 90% of the page every time I read a message? Isn't that why you are using AJAX? Why can't I have a reading pane (see Yahoo Mail Beta)?


The part that is broken is Google's POP3 access. I have tried accessing GMail using a POP3 client on my Treo and had nothing but trouble. At first I thought it was the VersaMail client but switched to another client and had the same problem. The author of that software (which is an excellent email client) said that GMail's implementation of POP3 is very flaky to say the least.

Hari K Gottipati
2006-10-05 09:31:11
@Frank,
I agree with you completely. I dont like labels either. With folders you can move the mails from inbox and you can maintain cleaner inbox. With labels, you cannot move the mails from inbox and it contains all your emails(May be Google wants all your email in one place, so that users can use their search feature!!!). And as you said, no nesting labels. Some times I feel that Google just want to be different from others, hence the labels. Compared to folders, its definetely not a good feature at all.
Hari K Gottipati
2006-10-05 09:38:47
@David,
Thank God, atleast you received your email even though it is one day late. Even I decided that I can't rely on GMail anymore except for secondary emails like news letters etc.
Frank
2006-10-05 22:05:13
@Hari
My biggest complaint about the labels is the lack of nesting because (you may find this useful) you can remove items from your inbox. If you want to use your labels as a sort of storage you can label items and then select all the items you have labeled and Archive them. They will be gone from your inbox but you will still see them if you select the label or the All Mail button. Not as good as folders but better than leaving them all in your inbox.


Later, Frank

PeterB
2006-10-14 07:37:34
Same for Picasa Beta. They need some Mac Album/organization features and a levels adjustment. Before I spend 200 hours locking/editing 5000 photos up in their system, they could finalize some improvements
RC
2006-10-24 05:41:31
My god!!! are you getting money from other webmail companies to blame gmail??
Premnath Kudva
2006-10-27 02:20:48
No problems so far for me, though I too wonder why it is in beta forever, ps: which is why I ran a search and landed here;-)
Frank
2006-11-10 21:55:17
I dont doubt that you might have had problems using Gmail, but my experience has been the exact opposite. I only use the Gmail web interface, and use it very heavily. If Gmail is not working out for you, I wonder what brings you back to using it or checking on it occasionally? Is it that subconciously you like their GUI or is it that you just have had some kind of bad experience with Google in general? The reason I ask this is because when people do not like an application online, they usually move on to the next one without giving too much thought to some application that "does not work like I want". Its like a milkshake, if you do not like a vanilla milkshake you move on, drink a pineapple smoothie instead. I guess, I do not see what the point of this blog really is?
Hari K Gottipati
2006-11-11 13:44:45
@Frank,
"if you do not like a vanilla milkshake you move on, drink a pineapple smoothie instead"


I like milkshake, but I don't like the milkshake from the "XYZ Juice" because they are not making it good. Yes I may move to different juice shop to drink better milk shake. But don't you think I have a right to speak about XYZ Juice and how it is messing milk shake?

Ben
2006-12-01 09:56:53
It didn't send out my mail. I think 3 times. Very bad!!
Jonathon
2007-01-07 22:10:00
Yeah, what the hell are you talking about? I'm pretty sure you've got something pretty crappy on your end. I used gmail (before coming to college) at home for over a year and a half, over the worst dialup connection imaginable, and never had a single problem. It was the fastest loading webpage still!


If you don't like it, don't use it! Don't bash the great, FREE product!!

VINCENT
2007-01-18 15:22:29
I DISAGREE WITH YOUR COMMENT. GMAIL IS STILL BETTER THAN ANY OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE ABILITY TO FILTER JUNK EMAILS.
VINCENT
2007-01-18 15:25:09
I DISAGREE WITH YOUR COMMENT. GMAIL IS STILL BETTER THAN ANY OTHERS. ESPECIALLY IN FILTERING SPAM EMAILS.
Andrew Paul Simmons
2007-01-25 21:13:53
I had an opportunity to speak with a high ranking gmail employee. When asked if there was a reason why gmail was still in beta. He said that there was a very good reason but he was not allowed to disclose the issue.
mo
2007-02-06 14:03:44
absolutely bril it is, but being in BETA for so long is retarded
jibu
2007-03-28 23:14:13
i have been using gmail for around two years...i also donno why they are in beta version still now...But gmail works fine for me...if you are from india i know wats ur problem..its the speed of ur internet connection tat matters..google is not so good over slow dial up connection..even the new version of yahoo is the same..now web developers are concentrating more on providing contents for fast internet connections..gmail is far better than hotmail in case of attachments..only drawback of gmail over yahoo and hotmail is that their chat is not so popular..the rest are quite ok..
jk
2007-03-28 23:16:27
haha seems like most of the users support gmail..including me

2007-04-15 04:50:13
your english sucks ass
Clare
2007-04-16 13:21:09
I have troubles all the time with Gmail. It particularly messes up when messaging, loses messages when I switch briefly to other tabs in Firefox when it's loading a message, and in loading and sending messages in general ... and now in the last few months has begun not to accept typed lines in correct window-sizing (extends the text far beyond the current mail window when typing a message). I have always found it buggy -- in fact, it has sometimes caused real distress. As to the IM Chat feature, the longer a chat was, the more likely for Gmail to have trouble receiving the chat and often crashed my program or machine. I think the problem is the constant refreshing of their site, and somehow their servers are not powerful enough? This was not what I expected, to be sure. By the way, I do agree that the English in your article should have been edited; it was not up to scratch for something published. However, I do agree with you that there are problems with Gmail.
Kevin
2007-04-26 00:32:35
True, I got sick of the Beta state of mind and couldn't trust it any longer as my archives grew. I deleted my account and migrated back to my trusty Windows Live Hotmail.
Rawlinski
2007-04-28 00:40:35
It makes no sense that gmail is not working for you, but is providing fine service for many others.
Check the basics;
Check that you are using the right web browser,
Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) that they are not some speed limiting site (this is common with some ISP's who want to gear users towards particular sites/services),
It seems that you are having speed issues, gmail is generally lightning fast. (I don't think you are getting all those Mbps)
Check you have the latest Java updates
Also may be a good idea to look at what windows ver if any google recommends.


Best of luck.


Jason
2007-04-30 12:33:50
The POP3 access is exactly that, POP3 access. What you're asking of Google is to implement a type of "Exchange" model that replicates the online view with the client view. You're asking too much. GMail, as a free product, has proven to be my business and personal sidekick. I absolutely love it and forward all four of my e-mail addresses to GMail, and I can choose which "account" I want to use when I create mail or reply. It's a (insert cliche:) "best of breed" product that rarely lets me down. Yes, it has quirks. It has technical issues which need to be addressed. With all that in mind, and considering the ads are not obtrusive, I have spent a total of $0.00 on GMail implementation and $0.00 on its continued use. I love GMail.
Ersalan
2007-05-04 23:20:21
No doubt about it, Google is triying to be different and failing at it miserably. Particularly the label thing and POP access.
Rob
2007-05-11 13:42:11
"I deleted my account and migrated back to my trusty Windows Live Hotmail."


now that is pure comedy. thanks for the laugh :)

conceited_pogi
2007-05-30 21:28:05
I noticed that the problem of sending or receiving mails in gmail are somehow related to the Google Web Accelerator. Whenever I have the accelerator on, sending mails can be a pain, but if the accelerator is switched off, gmail is a dear.
Surendra
2007-07-26 06:42:32
Hari,
I strongly disagree with you.
Google is one of the best consumer application now, and it became the faviourite mail service of the crores of people all around the world(Gmail's SPAM filter is one simple example for its greatness).
I am using it for the last 2 years, i have no complaint against it.
Now, me and most of my friends are using gmail as primary account.


You are really confused...otherwise, you are giving false information..

Aaron
2007-08-03 12:16:44
I have been a gmail user now for over 2 years and NEVER had any problems with it.
JeffB
2007-08-27 21:35:39
well, problems or not... 2007 and still “beta”. its just comical at this point, ha
pamela
2007-09-21 05:39:47
i love gmail i've been useing it for 3 years without any problems or errors at all the only thing i don't like about it is in my gmail id my name and anitiols are taken so i don't use it as primarey email cos i will take long time spell it to ppl :( i wish i can register with 4 letters id so i can use it as primarey and delete my other email which i use only coz its 3 letters coz i exchange my email with friends and in work alot and thats eseier to share but it is in hotmail server wich is full with errors i think i read that gmail dont allow less than 6 letters id so they can protact it from spam and junks but i don't care about them i always recognize them .. do u ppl care about how short is ur mail id so ppl don't mistake it as me ?
Deepak
2007-09-30 13:01:19
I dont know how you get problems with Gmail. I am using it for 2 years and never had a single problem. I love the mail sent through gmail as MY MAIL, without free mail providers attaching their stupid "ad footers". keep going Gmail. I am waiting for full verson of gmail to be launched.
Galahad
2007-10-08 01:45:06
I've been using GMail for over 2 years now, and I must admit, I stopped using Yahoo and switched over to GMail... And, truth be told, I had problems... Once... I had to click two times on a mail, in order for GMail to open it... I primarily use POP3 access, since I use GMail for very important stuff... Happened several times that emails didn't arrive in time, but that's because of the internet clog, not GMail... I know this, because those mails were CC'ed to my ISP email, and another email, and they didn't arrive there either...


All in all, GMail works like a charm for me, and I use many Google services, like Reader, Maps, iGoogle... No problems with any of them...


I guess some people know just to complain...

Jon
2007-10-08 16:34:22
The funniest thing in the world is when people whine about something that's free. I'd understand if it's something you paid for but this is just a big joke. Go use Yahoo or Hotmail.
Sangram
2007-10-13 01:13:21
Gmail is one of the mail server in the World....
Pedro
2007-10-15 11:50:50
NO PROBLEMS HERE.. check your routing .
Anony...
2007-10-26 15:03:14
GMAIL WORKS FINE WITH ME ... STOP COMPLAINING ... GOOGLE RULES...
chins
2007-10-30 00:25:57
i did not like new GUI
older was better


i use dialup so beta is more slow on dialup


and one more bug
it show 4494mb in inbox
and 2900 on gmail.com page
hahahaha

chins
2007-10-30 00:28:46
and one more thing about GTalk


its lowest quality messenger with many problems
not user friendly
so try to improve it


neways google rocks

Jazmin
2007-11-13 09:57:58
I love GMAIL i don't have problems at all...My boyfriend sent me mp3 and stuff while chatting and I got them almost instantly...yes probably he doesn't know how to use the gmail...