Keep it coming, Gmail

Gmail is starting to grow on me. Its email spam detection is pretty dang good. My favorite new feature is the auto-save of draft emails. Mutt is single-threaded, so you pretty much have to start and finish one email at a time. And if your connection dies, you’re hosed. I’ve been using the GNU screen program to get around that, but auto-save is really nice for long emails, like working on an email interview on and off for a few days.

More people probably care about the free POP access or the new ability to export contacts easily, but I’m sticking with auto-save being my favorite new feature. Now if I could just easily skin things to color-code emails the way I’d like, import procmail filters, and score emails like mutt does. There’s probably other stuff I’d want too. Sigh. One of the most important things to remember when you work at Google is that you are rarely a typical user.

What feature would you like to see in Gmail that currently isn’t there?

87 Responses to Keep it coming, Gmail (Leave a comment)

  1. I’m not really sure what feature I’d like because I can’t get anyone to invite me to join. Oh well, sounds like a good e-mail system.

  2. -Bounce button to Bounce emails back to sender (fastmail already does)
    -Mouse over FROM to get full email address info
    -Sort on top of each column

  3. I want to see the ability to delete one email thats inside a whole thread and the ability to add email to the thread. There are people who change the subject of a email when they reply and that just mess everything up.

  4. What I’d like to see if similar POP behavior as HoTMaiL has. When I use Outlook Express, and delete a message, it also deletes if from the server.

  5. Hi Matt –

    I’m liking Gmail more and more but I sure miss the ability to process mail offline. For example when traveling it’s nice to whittle down the hundreds of mails that I’d left “until tomorrow”.


  6. That’s easy, IMAP!!! If GMail supported IMAP, I’d use it a lot more.

  7. Hi

    I would like to have the following feature in GMail.

    The ability to read messages from my other POP3 accounts. It could be something like this. I give my username, password and POP3 server address and gmail automatically retrieves my email from the POP3 server and places them in the inbox.

    Since GMail already provides the facility to send email from any email address, it would be a killer feature if I could read the email also so that I could make GMail as my default as well as the only email client.

    What do you feel guys?

  8. At this moment, Gmailโ€™s only way of income are through the successful contextual ads, however, Gmail could very easily apply its technology to other areas. Gmail together with a competitive Spam fighting tool could become a first class solution for many businesses and individuals in need of outsourcing their e-mail.

    Currently, Googleโ€™s Gmail is positioned to benefit on a largely ignored market of e-mail outsourcing. Through the implementation of effective spamming tools, together with Gmailโ€™s clean and organized format for e-mails, many individuals and businesses could benefit by having Gmail handle all of their e-mail traffic. This could work by Google setting up private label paid accounts where companies and individuals could set Google as their mail server and view their e-mail in a Gmail style control panel.

    This format brings in many benefits and moves forward with the concept of online applications. As we reach an age where computers have permanent connections to the internet, a private label Gmail would come into straight competition with desktop applications such as Microsoft Outlook.

  9. free POP access or the new ability to export contacts easily???

  10. I’d like to be able to upload old email with timestamps intact, as if I’d been using gmail all the way back to 1990. I would be willing to pay for the privilege.


  11. Good morning Matt

    Any plans to add the “How to File a Reinclusion Request” tips and procedure, that you have posted on your blog, to the Google Webmaster Guidelines?

    Have a great day and a successful week. Though I can see on the serps that its gonna be a very busy week ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. The ability for the “From:” address to be overridden. Currently you can override the “Reply-To:” address only.

    Currently I forward my normal email to Gmail, and POP3 it. Really the only reason I’m POPing it is because I want the From: address to at least appear like my normal address (even though it’s forwarded on my end anyway). If that was possible, I probably would stop POPing the email and just use the Gmail web interface for composing email.

  13. distribution lists matt,would make life a lot easier wit it,but anyways gmails is the best ,

  14. Hi… like to see add folders and moving the mails in that particular folder. Labels are not too good to use.


  15. I would love to use Gmail as my main e-mail client — the only thing that prevents me to do that is the ability to check IMAP/POP3 accounts through Gmail. The From: feature they released a few months ago doesn’t do it since the headers still say it comes from

    Flagging is also an important feature.


  16. I’d like to see the markup and CSS done a lot better so we could use our own skins using a particular firefox extension that I cannot remember the name of ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Not really a feature, just a shortcut: display the search box for contacts at the front page, without having to click at “contacts” first.

    But I assume this has been discussed, and simplicity got the upper hand above a bloated startpage?

  18. You can only use all GMail features if JavaScript is on. That is, JavaScript in Mails will also be executed. The GMail Team should ensure and state clearly, that this won’t happen.

  19. I would like the POP access to retrieve only the messages that have not been read in the web interface. I normally check Gmail on the web, but when I’m away I like using my cellphone to access Gmail by POP… but I get all the emails since a given date!! It would be great if I could get only the new emails, those I have not read on the web.

  20. I’d have to go with auto-save being one of my favourite new features also.

    Number one thing for me is applying labels to draft emails. This one really, really irritates me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, most people I hear talk about GMail features they want are crying out for IMAP. POP is so 20th century ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. 1) IMAP
    2) Delete button

  22. Mmm… I’d just like to point out that with Mutt, you can hit ‘q’ after you’re done editing the e-mail, just before hitting ‘s’ to send it, and Mutt will save it in a drafts mailbox of sorts (unsent messages). Then, whenever you hit ‘m’ to compose a new message, it asks you whether you’d like to actually resume editing an unsent one.

    True, you can’t browse messages while editing a new one, or you can’t edit more than one at a time, but you certainly *can* write a message on and off over a couple of days.

  23. I love Gmail. From the beginning I was using procmail to forward lots of my incoming email to Gmail – that saved me, honestly, hours of spam processing (popfile is very good) and when you added POP it was bliss. Its great that you can use Gmail (just about) via a BlackBerry too.

    I’d like to see some RSS subscription capabilities.

    I think the spam filters still need work. It had been very good for a week or two recently but it seems to have rolled back. If you do know of a test during that period then it’s certainly worked. I’ve 3745 actual threads in my account now and 43272 spam ones, given that spam is deleted every 30 days it show how much spam there is. This morning all 75 of my new emails from over night were spam which Gmail didn’t catch. I like how popfile lets you see the spam scores for certain words and you can see how much of a change you’ve made by marketing something as spam. I don’t know if that’s possible for Gmail as you must share the spam system with the whole program but perhaps a local and transparent spam score system would not only help to fight spam but also encourage people to mark spam as spam.

  24. Matt, I love most of the functions. But, since you mentioned “Its email spam detection is pretty dang good.”, I have to ask, what good does the “Report Spam” function? Have been receiving an unsolicited mail since long in my Inbox, and everytime I hit the “Report Spam” button, but still been receiving that mail. I would like to see some improvements in that direction.

    Thank you.

  25. The ability to import new mail from Hotmail or some other account, and the obviously filter it as such. It’s good being able to sent mail using another account name now, but I still have to go to that other account to check for new emails.

    Also a calendar, but i hear thats coming. Any news on that?

  26. Hi Matt!

    It would be nice if the emails could be categorized automatically. I’m shure you’re Google-guys already have this in the background – this is used for displaying the related ads. But it would be nice if it could automatically cluster related emails to some topics. And also the authors/contacts that are related to this topic(s).

    What do you think about this?

    Best regards,

  27. Can we only list one feature? Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):

    1. Import e-mail from other programs (I’d love to be able to Google search ALL my e-mail)

    2. Apply filters to outgoing messages (for example, if you want to apply a label to particular messages)

    3. Apply labels to outgoing messages when composing (see #2).

    4. Support for multiple signatures

    5. Ability to create mailing lists (think contacts organized like Apple’s Address Book)

    All that being said, Gmail is pretty great, and I agree, spam detection is pretty dang good. And they continue to do a great job supporting Safari, which gets them many extra bonus points.

  28. Is this issue already resolved where there is an ugly “on behalf of” when costumizing the From: address and sending an email to an Outlook user?

  29. Bayesian classifiers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (500 more exclamation points) !!!!!!!

    Mail filters based on keywords in the body text suck. A lot.

    For example, I have a label in Gmail for “Confirmations” — basically all those emails from Amazon, Paypal, EBay, Random Service of the Moment. I have a couple of filters set up keying off of words like “confirmation”, “verification”, etc that sort into the “Confirmations” label. However, I also get a metric crap-top of false-positives. False negatives are no big deal, they end up in my inbox, and I just label them and archive them, starring as necessary. But false positives are a pain, because there’s a couple more page refreshes involved.

    I’d rather just have it be like POPfile, where each label is a bucket, and you have a Bayesian classifier sort the mail into the appropriate bucket. If it messes up, tell it to drop it in another bucket. POPfile also conveniently lets you use hard filters as well to override the Bayesian classifier, which is nice.

    Honestly though, I think this could be implemented in a pretty usable fashion. The inbox is the default bucket, filters work exactly as they do now, etc. The only difference is that when you relabel something, that functions as training the classifier.

    There’s probably big holes in the idea, but I can’t stress enough how badly I want this feature.

  30. The most important feature would be ‘trust’.
    Of course every piece of information going through the net can be sniffed but putting it on a server of the company that has a) very powerfull hard- and software to index information and b) the goal to index all information puts this into a whole new dimension.

  31. E-mail distribution lists / contact groups. I want to be able to send mail to a group of people without having to type in each address manually.

  32. Matt,

    Everything is fine in GMail, but attaching files needs improvement.

    Getting Ooops…. Try after sometime very oftently ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. “What feature would you like to see in Gmail that currently isnโ€™t there?”

    How about: finishing it! Matt, you realise that us Europeans still can’t play with it, you still haven’t kicked it out the door. As long as they keep dreaming up new stuff for it, will it ever be finished?
    Feature creep?

    Only other thing I can think of is secure login (to avoid fishing for logins), let them create a keycard for logins that they can take with them, so that when they’re at an insecure PC (e.g. internet cafe) they don’t risk having their login/password sniffed:

    Not exactly something worth delaying for though….

  34. Integration with appointments, calendar, etc ๐Ÿ˜‰

  35. 1. “Empty folder” would be nice, at least for “Spam” and “Trash”. At the moment, I have to delete Spam mails in chunks of 50, and twice (as they move to the trash first).

    2. Possibly, and Gmail could set a new standard here, the ability to connect headshots (small, thumbnailish photo portraits of people) to emails. That way, you’d see a lot of small faces in your inbox. Opening up an email will display the portrait somewhat larger. Our brain can store so many face patterns, and I believe this would aid especially those people with 100s of contacts.

  36. Yo Mr C. More interested in what you doing with those data centers at present ๐Ÿ™‚ WTF

  37. Oy, good suggestions. misterchris, I like the skinning url. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been using Gmail today instead of mutt and it’s working pretty well..

  38. color-coded text for the labels

    ability to edit irrelevant subject lines

  39. A freaking delete button!!!


  40. Err, I would like IMAP,,, but most importantly, I don’t like any of the email software,,, none of them have the capability and functionality that the web based interface has,,, so it would be ‘cool/good’ if the Gmail Team could develop thier own or maybe intergrate it with ‘thunderbird’.


  41. I often write a message before deciding who to send it to. I would like to add contacts from my address book after I have already composed a message. That’s a big one for me.

    Also, some of us need exe files we are expecting, could there be a way to turn our protection off against receiving exe files?

    Also it would be nice to see 1000 messages per page. See everything in the inbox for those of us who are not organized enough to always archive.

    Finally a google program that will inport gmail and keep it in the same format that is on the web site. It could even have ads.

    Eric Wilson

  42. Filters :

    1. option to filter messages based on their sizes
    Purpose : not forwarding big documents to a mobile account.
    At this time, it is only possible to filter messages that have an attachement, one solution to my wish would be to add a filter for messages that don’t have an attachement.

    2. possibillity to make more than one rule and combine them with AND or OR


  43. I believe there really isn’t anything crucial that needs to be implemented in gmail though it’d be nice if it supported larger file size limits for sending and receiving. I’m mainly interested in seeing what google can come up with that is fresh, unique, and entices users.

  44. “Sort by”, and a message size column.

  45. An integrated calendar would be FANTASTIC!

  46. A Delete Button right next to the Archive Button. (I delete most my email, and hate having to go through the drop-down box.)

    Other than that, private label accounts (as other people have mentioned) would be good. Something I’d be willing to pay for. The private label accounts would need to retain the identity of the underlying email account, but also provide a nice one-screen snapshot of your current email situation.

  47. Since gmail came over, its been my primary mailbox.

    A features I really miss is Pagination. Currently I have thousands of mails (literally!) in some of the labels. Getting to the fifth page, say, currently requires me the click “Older” four times. Having links for page numbers would make navigation a lot easier.

  48. I would love to see folders. so you can clean up the inbox and make folders for emails

  49. I agree, Gmail needs a delete button

  50. Phillip, I like your idea number 2. That would be excellent! The person can attach, not just headshots, but an identifiable graphic per person. We are living in a visual generation, so it makes sense. However, my impression is that it would slow it considerably, and that is the opposite of what G in general tries to show. Maybe it could work as an addon.

    *** I also like the more practical ideas on importing: contacts, calendar entries, and e-mail from other accounts, such as hotmail, and pop3. ***

  51. I primarily use Gmail for my mailing list memberships. Becuase of this, I oftene think that it would be very nice to have an “Ignore Thread” option, so that when you see a particular thread you’re not interested in, you can ignore it and it will be automatically dumped into the archive.

    And yes, I also think it would be very nice to be able to permanently delete email easier. Currently if you want to delete email, you have to do it 50 or 100 at a time. I have a few labels w/ 8k+ emails in them. It would be very nice to be able to delete (permanently) all emails associated w/ a particular label.

  52. The ability to delete SPAM or TRASH folder content in one swoop. Not just the select all, but the ability to delete 400 messages at once without ever going into the SPAM folder. That would be nice. Spam filters are great, I’ve grown to trust that what ends up in Spam is really spam and I don’t want to go in and read it, just want to be able to delete it.

  53. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned but I recently noticed that Google automatically uploads your attachments while your typing…which is really cool.

  54. Dear Matt:

    I really like Google, but this is to much… MSN PR 2 ๐Ÿ˜€
    And has only 8 links from Diego Giacomelli.
    Jajaja !
    What do you tink ?

    Best regards


  55. Okay. I finally had a chance to try G-Mail. I think someone who saw my post was nice enough to send me an invite. Actually, two people did.

    Here is my experience Matt.

    I got the invite. I clicked the link and filled out the form. I didn’t like the following things.

    1. I had to use the G-Mail address for all my other Google accounts automatically.
    2. I kept filling out that damn form and kept putting in my password of over 6 characters in length and all I got was the form again with errors. After about the 20th time I just gave up so in fact, I still don’t know what G-Mail looks like.

    So I guess number 2 is the part I’d suggest gets worked on first.

    Thank you to the two people that sent the invite. ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. I love GMail. I’ve been using it for almost two years, and use it for all my non-work correspondence. I don’t have any problems as far as using i for email goes, but I definitely would love some PIM capabilities.

    I do not want a delete button. Most of my email I archive so I can find it later. The only emails I delete are spam or some type of notifications. The archive button is far more important to me than a delete button. Even so, there’s a Greasemonkey plugin that adds a delete button using JavaScript.

    As well, you can create folders and distribution lists in GMail. Or rather you can use workarounds to create what seems like folders and mailing lists. Personally, I prefer the labels over folders because oftentimes I need an email sent to more than one folder. I’d have to create a copy to do this. GMail creates a virtual copy when using labels. Much more preferred.

    Actually, I did think of one thing I’d like. It’d be nice if I could just give GMail my username and password for other web-based email accounts and it would import all my emails and contacts from those accounts.

  57. Oh yeah, and if I had to pick a second feature I’d like to see, it would be auto-searching my email when I do a normal google search. Kind of like the way image search and desktop search work (mostly the latter). Also, if I could customize the side-searches as part of my google account preferences, well… that would just kick butt.

  58. You guys, there IS already an extension for the Delete button! I’ve been using it forever, and loving it! (for firefox though)

    BTW, George, you CAN delete specific messages inside a thread. Just click on “More Options” on the message you want to delete, then click “Trash this message” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have other suggestions:

    1. Setting priority on outgoing mails
    2. Ability to thread/unthread messages manually (sometimes automatic just doesn’t cut it!)
    3. At least give us an option to view the email size? I know we have 2GB+ storage, but at least I have an idea?
    4. Oh yeah, “Empty Spam”, and “Empty trash”. Deleting 50 messages at a time just doesn’t cut it.


    (BTW, Matt, your site is really useful, and I just discovered it yesterday. Lots of good information. Keep it up!)

  59. โ€œWhat feature would you like to see in Gmail that currently isnโ€™t there?โ€

    Synchronization with Outlook.

  60. * Save contacts with photos, and another related data.
    * The possibilitie of use templates in the mails..
    * Status connected or disconnected in google talk.
    I don’t know, i have more ideas… (sorry my bad english, i speak spanish)
    Good luck.

  61. I would like to see a anti-spam function that allows you the option to perminalty block mail from know spam email addresses.

    Never to recieve mail from the spam email address again.

  62. Hi, wen i put my user name and after of press tab automaticly go the password field when i’m typing the user name

  63. * When you search mail and you misspelt, provide a ‘Did you mean’ link like in normal google search.
    * built in capabilities for PGP (GPG) signatures/encryption etc.
    * bounce would be good

  64. Gmail Rules!!

  65. I would like
    * A way to read my other email accounts via GMail. The webmail front end on my primary email account is inferior.
    * A Delete button to kill an entire conversation
    * A Delete button to kill a particular message within a conversation. Having to click “More options” and move the mouse to “Trash this message” is annoying.

  66. 1. delete button
    2. way to configure how many messages are viewed ON the page they are viewed (i.e. pull-down shown while viewing Inbox, “Show x conversations per page”)
    3. access to address book while on the compose page (this one stings me a lot)
    4. access to drafts entered while using HTML, via POP
    5. labels have been a hard concept to swallow. folders are easier to use & understand.
    6. arrows/plus button to view message without needing to click & change view (ala AJAX yahoo Firefox extension)

  67. one more:

    7. sorting!

  68. guess I shouldn’t have gotten started…

    8. “contains” searches. Searching for whole terms doesn’t cut it. (If a subject is the following “a_note_for_you”, searching for “note” doesn’t yield results.)

  69. Gmail + Orkut?

  70. The spam filter is fantastic for me and the best i have ever seen. For me, i would like to be able to sort emails

  71. I really really want an option in the accounts page to have no default address. I have gmail use 2 accounts. I use them for work and personal stuff, this is about 50-50. But what I keep doing is typing an email and hitting send without changing the address.

    I would like that no account was selected by default so that I must choose one each time I start a new message, that way I don’t accidentally use the wrong account.

  72. Captions for images

  73. I really like how Gmail has the ability to STAR important conversations, but what about a function that is the opposite? Lets say an email is very unimportant, but you do not want to delete it, or remove it from your labels. You are just thinking hey, I wish there was a way to make this email not appear here, but still be here.

    Instead perhaps there could be a SCRAP button. What this button could do is classify emails as scrapped, just like the STAR button does now. Scrapped emails would never be shown by default, but there could be a simple check-box or toggle to show them. There could also be a label that held all the Scrapped emails, just like the label that holds all the starred emails (not sure if that is necessary, but maybe place it just above the spam label).

    So basically what I am saying is that if I had a bunch of scrapped emails under my ‘Buddies’ label then when I clicked on the ‘Buddies’ label, all the scrapped ones would not be shown. But when I click on the toggle to show them, *poof* they would be back again!

    Any thoughts?

  74. Long time gmail user with a number of suggestions…

    Using gmail notifier, opening a new message offers an email only view (no frame as in inbox view)… but there’s no option to delete the email directly. One needs to go through 3 extra steps, a) click inbox which opens a second window (why???) b) select the email you were already viewing c) click delete. This is very cumbersome for what is one of the most common email actions.

    The simplest resolution for all this would be to simply launch the full gmail window with the email selected already open, then all features and basic navigation would be available right off the bat. There is no advantage to the end user to having a new window with stripped features pop up when the full window would be just as fast to launch.

    Thanks for all you do to offer the best available web based email service.

  75. I think that in general google could do alot more with Contacts. Right now the feature is somewhat of necessary evil for Gmail use. However I think that providing three features would make Google Contacts a great contact alternative.

    1. Ability to manage contacts independantly ie. or
    2. Ability to assign “Labels” to contacts in the Gmail manner
    3. Ability to add some fields

    oh PS. I have always wanted the ability to grab multiple emails and do a reply all. I don’t know if anyone has this feature, but I constalty wish for it, when using craigslist or other sites from which I get multiple disparate replies.

    Thanks for allowing users input


  76. I would like to be able to add keywords to e-mails. While gmail search is great it’s not perfect. Sometimes I purposefully load my e-mails with key words so I can find them later, it would be nice to be able to do the same thing after an e-mail has already been sent.

  77. right now, gmail has one checkbox and three buttons (archive, report spam and delete)

    so, when you come in in the morning, you:
    1- scan your new emails for spam and check
    2- click “report spam” button
    3- scan your new emails that you want to delete and check
    4- click delete
    5- scan your new emails for email you would like to archive and check
    6- click archive
    7-read the rest.

    I would love to see one “process” Button and three checkboxes (archive, spam and delete)

    so the process would be, when you come in in the morning, you:
    1- scan your new emails and check appropriate box and check
    2- click “Process” button
    3- read the rest.

  78. I would like, for sure, a better search. That`s one of the biggest things GMail lacks.

    Also, I don`t know if it`s proposital, but I would like to update a Draft and not to loose it`s labels. Sometimes it`s better to have a memo in a draft than send it to yourself.

  79. better search:
    ability to find all mail from Comcast, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. in my acct.
    misspelling gets a โ€˜Did you mean?โ€™ like search does.
    more search options, like Boolean, wildcards, contains, etc.

  80. Would be great to be able to hide the highlighted Spam folder and count on the left … It’s great that it contains thousands of messages not directed to my inbox … kind annoying I have to constantly look at a reminder that i have thousands of spam messages.

  81. I would like to add a button to say always archive from this seller and instantly create a rule that will always archive e-mails from the sender so I will never have to see it in my inbox again. Does anyone know of a script or way to get this done? TimJordan AT cheerful DOt c o m

  82. There are 2 things I would like to suggest. The first is concerned with signatures and I suppose should be easy to accomplish.They should allow more than one signatures and also when I reply to an email, I like my signature after the text that I enter as a reply to that mail not after the text of the email I am replying to. If there are people who like it the way it is, gmail should provide an option specifying where the signature will be placed for replies of emails.
    The second thing is integration with orkut. I think they should have a tighter integration with orkut as its a very popular service and can serve as a good way of managing contacts.

  83. Heather Paquinas

    I wish there was an option to thread emails by the message-id rather than merely the subject. For example all of my mysql backups with phpmybackuppro all go into a single conversation, so it makes it hard to see that the backups are happening just by looking at my website backup label because they are part of the same conversation (eg they are auto-archived and labeled).

  84. there is no doubt that google is leader in Internet world, i will not wonder one day google will be in every sector.
    yahoo still charging for pop3 access but google by introducing Gmail made it availabe free

  85. Unless POP3 users manually peruse the SPAM folder on the gmail website they do not have the ability to identify false positives. IMAP does let a mail client access the SPAM folder but IMAP is (and will always be) too slow, in my opinion, for most mail.

    I see that gmail allows a prefix for at least one option … recent:

    That would be a great way to let POP3 users access the spam folder. e.g., would download only from the spam folder. I’ve also seen this format for other POP3 services:
    but gmail doesn’t yet use that.

    This would let me download spam to a separate inbox on my local mail client (e.g,. Thunderbird), but it still wouldn’t be transparent. Thunderbird would need the ability for me to specify which folder new mail should go to. Currently, I can specify that it go to the inbox folder for the separate account that I created, or it can go to the inbox for the Local Folders. But I really want to set the target as the spam folder in the Local Folders.

    I guess I should learn to love IMAP and stop trying to figure out how to continue staying with POP3.

  86. Gmail lables:

    There is no option to edit the name of lable, if once it is created…we can’t delete the label as deleting the label will delete all the emails with that particular lable.