back to article Gmail: a short, sharp rant

Is arrogance a job requirement when trying to join Google? This story starts with me being furious. "I was bloody furious when my email provider suddenly, and without warning, started bouncing incoming messages." You would be, wouldn't you? Call me fussy, but I've been told this is the sort of thing which can give a small, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just for POP3...

    I've had problems with googlemail bouncing messages too over the early part of this week. I use the web interface, which assures me that I am ".. currently using 63 MB (2%) of [my] 2880 MB".

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    When can you complain about a beta service?

    I raised this issue recently with a Google engineer. How long before someone takes issue with the "beta" label of one of the Google services in the courts? It's currently a get out of jail free card for anything on offer but at some point some numpty is going to rely on one of these services on something for their business: you shouldn't be doing anything related to your business on anything without a service level. You know this and yet you still do it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As anyone else reading your article will no doubt be thinking - why not just log into Gmail once and again to check your space, clear out junk mail, etc - and find something a little more worthwhile to lose your sleep over?

  4. Adrian Waterworth

    So you just leave all your email lying around on the server?

    And you don't clean it up? Or delete it? Or download and archive stuff you want to keep and remove the originals from the server? Or do any of the other numerous things that count as elementary data archiving/information and contact management/call it what you will?

    Hmmmm...methinks that, in this case, we're dealing with a slight case of PEBKAC.

    It would serve you right if they suffered a major server outage and you lost the lot. Or if they started charging you extra for all the wasted disk space.

    You silly twisted boy you.

  5. Rich Bryant


    When did Guy Kewney change his name to Phil Space?

    1. User has problem, can't figure out why.

    2. User rings up Google, they tell him.

    3. User writes page-filling article and probably gets paid by the word.

    Disclaimer: I don't work for Google. I don't use Gmail. I think Google do plenty of evil, actually. But this is just user-whining.

  6. Rich Silver badge

    A couple of points


    "[...description of fruiteful complaint / resolution scenario...]

    That's what you'd get with most IT companies."

    Is it??? Not in my experience!!! You must have been very very lucky in the past. I EXPECT IT companies (and esp. telecoms companies) to be expensive, unhelpful, unreliable, useless, and lots of other words starting in "un"...


    I gave up using other people's email systems a LONG time ago. I have never found one yet that actually works reliably over an extended period of time. As for "free" email - well, you get what you pay for. If you want reliable email, run your own server. It's the only way forward


    If you are using POP to download your email, why don't you set it up to automatically delete the email from the server? That's normal POP usage procedure. Or doesn't Google let you do this?

  7. Daniel

    Stop b*tching?

    Come on... you're getting a free service for nothing. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Google is first and foremost a business. As a business with limited resources, they have to prioritise what they do next, they can't do everything at once. Even if they automatically *DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT* when you reach the limit, it'll still have pretty much no impact on their bottom line, because the proportion of people getting there is so small.

    So I would say you should be thankful they even took note of the issue (if they did).

    Remember: Google don't owe you a damn thing - not even to give you the time of day. You're using a free service, that works astonishingly well and is more reliable than many paying ISP's for almost 100% of the time. Stop b*tching!!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Journalist not as important as he'd like to be

    OK Guy, so you tell us what should happen if you contact Google.

    What should happen if I contact them? Or do I need to first get the attention of a hero like yourself?

  9. Ezekiel Hendrickson


    So, you were recommending that people switch to a beta product, and are surprised that said beta product has minor issues that wouldn't be tolerated in a production release.

    How, precisely, is this Google's fault?

    Then, rather than follow Google's standard method of reporting a feature request online, you chose to phone Google and are surprised that they don't take feature requests over the phone. Hrm.

  10. Tim Oliver

    Delete it?

    perhaps you should set your OE/Outlook/Thunderbird/etc to delete mail after downloading. Vóila, problem solved.

  11. Silas


    Dude, if your emails are as overly long as your "short rant" then I can probably work out how you've filled up your allocation.

    I'm known for ranting, but frankly I really can't see what you're getting so het up about.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    yet another person who uses a FREE service, then complains because it doesn't do EXACTLY what HE thinks it should.

    Here's some news for you.... we don't care. Stop whining, stop being so damn cheap, and pay for a commercial mail system that meets your specs.

    Really. Get a life.

  13. Marco

    Be happy

    Be happy, Mr. Kewney, that your story isn't about Apple. As then there would be about 80 comments here by now and you would be accused of bad journalism, being a sleazeball, don't getting "it", etc.

    However, Google and its followers are getting there.

  14. Phil Miesle

    what an idiot

    1) it's free

    2) Google makes money by displaying ads to users

    3) you don't see those ads with POP

    So how does our intrepid "reporter" figure that Google is at all incented to solve this? They've already made it easy to archive/delete when you're using POP.

    I swear, sometimes the editors here are as thick as the authors.

  15. Simon Painter

    Is arrogance a criteria for writing for El Reg?

    Who gives a t*ss? Do you really think that with the millions of users that Gmail has they are really going to listen to one bleeding heart story about your own user stupidity? You know how much space you have, you know how to check to see how much you are using and it's a free service that is still in Beta. What they do is collate the issues that users are having and then work on the most serious problems first. Your tiny and unimportant lack of user ability is not likely to make that list and no amount of bleating to the masses via the vanity site that is El Reg is going to change that.

    Leave them alone and let them get on with something more important.

  16. Paul van der Lingen

    Wow - sad indeed

    No, not the story, but the comments.

    Have we become so inured of back service that we abuse people who have the temerity to complain about it?

  17. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Ignoring user's preference

    "f you are using POP to download your email, why don't you set it up to automatically delete the email from the server?"

    In short: no. You have to tweak a setting in gmail itself to get that to work because, by default, it keeps e-mails even if you've told your pop3 client to delete them.

    A see more than a few posts basically amounting to "They give it to you for free, why are you complaining?" Just because a servie is provided for free doesn't absolve the provider of providing a decent service. Users have certain statutory rights no matter what the price of a service they're using (free or not) which means that they can expect a reasonable level of service whether or not they paid for it. Of course this problem isn't unique to google, but that doesn't absolve them either; the excuse that "everyone else is doing it too" doesn't cut it.

  18. Chris

    POP3 Settings

    You know, when you set up your POP3 account in Outlook and I dare say in Thunderbird too (don't use it, don't know) that allows you to delete the server copy of your mail when you download it to the client.

    That would sort the issue, surely. Plus it avoids Google sending out emails about your remaining space and the need to look at the web interface to check remaining space because, unless you receive a limit-busting email in one hit, it would remain constant from one attempt to check mail to another.

  19. Will Leamon

    Recycled Complaints

    I think this gmail stuff was just an intro to bitch about NewsWireless not getting googled. I think he filed a whole story on that one as well.

    I agree with the previous poster. If Email is seriously important to you shell out the less than $100 a year for your own (shared) server.

    Google sucks however. It's just that articles like these detract from the real issues surrounding what will become Monopoly 2.0

  20. Eric Straavaldsen

    POP3 and the ISP

    So you have hit on one of the reasons ISPs don't like pop3. People get mail into their account and leave it on the server even when they don't want to keep an copy. Causing filled mail boxes.

    As it is clear that google does offer a system of notification for full boxes, and having worked an a team running a large (50k+ active users) mail systems quota notification systems are a pain both technically and administratively.

    The better solution than a pop3 desktop client for such an inherently web based services is one of the many nice Firefox plugins to help you keep on top of your gmail.

  21. Brad

    2.8 gigs of mail

    of web mail no less

    Take that fat cheque (the one el reg just cut you for this fine piece of journalism) and go buy a real email account.

  22. tim chubb

    maybe use real email?

    Maybe just be easier to buy/hire an account on a server which offers IMAP? easy syncronisation between multiple client devices locations

    use a real client instead of an interface shoe horned into the browser, maybe take advantage of the "miraculous" work offline capabilities offered by any email client ever??

    back on dial up when you would only connect online to send and receive...

    i strongly believe in using the right tool for the job, which is why i have never come across a satisfactory webmail client and don't believe i ever will. At best a webmail interface should only ever be a backup interface, never the primary.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are you moaning about?

    - You sign up to a crappy webmail account with the Evil Empire.

    - You obviously have an ISP, and I presume that ISP gave you one if not more proper POP3 email accounts.

    - You then use the aforementioned crappy account, and then get paid for writing how crappy it is.

    Your moaning is like me moaning about the fact that my employer doesn't provide me with champagne and chorus girls. Only I'm not moaning.

  24. marc

    It's not in their interest to make POP3 service good

    After all, if you use POP3, you never see the adverts. Unlike Yahoo and Hotmail who charge a small fee for POP3, Google don't make any money from it, and they have to hope they one day you will start using the web mail, maybe from work, or while on holiday, and so you'll see their adverts. Yahoo even offer a free POP3 service to UK customers, on the understanding they may receive the odd advertisement though email.

    So if you have to log in once in a while to check your quota, Google wins.

  25. Edward Rose

    Customer (Dis)Service.

    There are very few companies left which provide customer service. Some do, but they are few and far between.

    To be fair, complaining about the service you received is a bit harsh - yes the arrogant waste of space on the phone shouldn't have a job dealing with people - but take it from her point of veiw, how many idiots does she have phoning her for complete crap.

    GoogleMail isn't free, google make revenue from it by the virtue that you use a tool they advertise on. Without us Google would make no revenue because people wouldn't advertise on an empty site. So, Google should try and keep customers a little more sweeter than they did.

    But, again, for no monetry cost for you, you should just get on and say "Meh!" If enough people want the service they will complain and it may happen - so 'complaining' is good. Bitching like this about it is a waste of your health.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a fine line between "constructive criticism" & "whinging biatch"...

    ...And unfortunately this time you're a couple of miles on the side of biatch.

  27. Iain Paterson

    The solution to your email woes!

    Clean out your mailbox you clarty bastard!

  28. Les

    Hold on...

    This wasn't the *other* Guy Kewney, was it? The one who does TV interviews?

  29. ian

    Could be worse, you could be with

    It could be worse, you could be with Then you'd have had your email addresses distributed to all and sundry while they claim they can't do anything, and it's not their fault because despite Plusnet being insecure, the taking of the email addresses was a criminal act.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT angle

    Alright, thats it, I'm fed up of all these Register articles with an IT angle, if I see one more article posted on The Register with an IT angle I will have to delete my Register bookmark and never visit the site again, I'm afraid its just too much.

    P. Mahone

  31. Dan Bell

    missing the point?

    Detractors of this article, is the writer not really annoyed because they are ignoring him, not because they will not implement a fix?

    If I told google about this problem, it would be fine if they told me they weren't going to fix it, even if "cba" was the reason. But saying "I'll pass it on to the team" whilst obviously meaning "I don't give a crap" would make me annoyed too.

    Why not just tell your users how it is instead of "appeasing" them?

  32. Phillip Carter


    Those of you that suggest Gmail is "Free" must place no value on their personal search history; care less; or havn't grasped the idea, that, Nothing in life is "Free"!

    It IS a bug, as I use the customised "iGoogle" web page - it doesn't display the mail box availability there either.

    Google have scored an own-goal, me thinks.

  33. Edd R

    Oh dear

    <<This story starts with me being furious. "I was bloody furious when my email provider suddenly, and without warning, started bouncing incoming messages." You would be, wouldn't you?>>

    When I read that, I thought it was going to be for some jaw-droppingly awful reason. But it turns out that you're just an idiot.

    Gmail provide POP3 primarily as a courtesy for people who want their own backup. And you've paid sod-all for it (especially since you're not getting any of their ads over POP).

    Get over it or get an exchange server (I know which I'd rather do).

  34. Ian Ferguson

    Relative to..?

    Fair enough point you're making in the article, but do all other POP3 providing email services send you a warning when you're reaching the server-side storage limit? It's not clear whether you're complaining about Google not providing a service which is accepted as standard, or whether you're complaining that Google isn't providing an extra service which you want them to but they could not have justifiably thought of in advance.

    I suspect it's the latter.

    By the way, I've pointed this out before, as have many others: Stop assuming you should get better customer support just because you're a journalist. It's petty, selfish and won't do you any favours in the long run.

  35. Peter Kay

    I sort of feel for Guy, here

    On the one side, yes, you should be clearing your mailbox before it gets to 2 gig.

    Then again tt sounds like it bounces at a much lower limit

    The real story is the second case - the 'blog' issue.

    At some point Google's services become a production service depended on by millions of people. When you're not informed that your site has been rejected, or why it has been rejected this has real implications - both for the site owner, and the Internet users who are worse off due to not being able to find the article (assuming it's good).

    Google isn't exactly being transparent about sticking to its 'don't be evil' tagline.

  36. Andrew

    It's symptomatic...

    Just because the site is free it doesn't mean that Google are doing this for the greater good. There's a business model making money out of us users either via advertising or a subscription to Apps Premier. I would contend that users are entitled to expect a certain level of service in return and it's in Google's interest to keep us all coming back for more. If someone has a bright idea why shouldn't it be acknowledged???

    From prior experience, Google are terrible at taking constructive criticism on the chin and saying which things are good ideas that will go on the roadmap (like this), which are nice to have and which are rubbish. I'm not sure if it's an emotional reaction by people so addicted to the Kool Aid that they cannot conceive of anything being wrong, arrogance or incompetence.

    If a journalist can find a back door and someone that'll listen - bloody marvelous.

  37. SirWired

    And you are so special why?

    Let me get this straight... you call the press office reporting a bug, and then you are upset that they don't immediately get a GMail developer on the phone to tell you that it is going to be fixed?

    Let's go over the multiple problems here:

    1) The service is free.

    2) I was not aware that the press office was the normal place bugs are reported to.

    3) It's primarily a webmail service you know... I think they expect you to actually logon to your account on the web now and then.

    4) This is not a bug, it is a missing feature. There is nothing to "fix".

    5) I did not know that members of the press were so far above us mere mortals that they can justifiably demand that the development staff call them back on the telephone to be assured that requested features will be added to free products post-haste.

    6) There is a "suggest a feature" link in the Help section, you know.

    7) Has it been mentioned that the service is free?

  38. Andrew Pike

    the whole point of gmail is to provide a searchable mail archive

    those suggesting to setup POP3 to delete mail from the server are kind of missing the point of gmail.

    anyone getting a significant volume of email will have long since given up manually reading, deleting, and filing mail and will instead rely on a good search facility.

    ok, so Guy threw a bit of strop but in his defence Google do advertise "Lots of space

    Over 2881.077733 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message."

    A less reasonable person than myself might interpret that last bit as a promise or contract.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google: Reinventing the wheel over and over

    But who wants this crap? Gmail is *crap.* I run my own IMAP server. It has RAID, it gets backed up once a day. I store my messages in mySQL. I've got like 14,000 of them, going back to '97. The thing has paid for itself, and I *know* where my data is.

    And it's not on google. Ever.

  40. Nick Wallis

    The (free) goods are not as described.

    Gmail might be free, but it was Google who said "never delete an email again".

  41. Mark

    Is The Reg under new management?

    This article is one of many recently posted that appears to be directed at a different group then what The Register was known for. The Apple laptop problem, the iPhone rants, etc. Instead of news for IT Professionals, we are getting stories of end users, apparently for end users.

    Do you expect sympathy because the Senior Developer was too busy developing to answer your feature request? If they handled every feature request that way, when would they actually write the code? Are you any different from the "reporter" who bought a consumer level service agreement and didn't receive business level support?

    Or are we no longer the target readership of El Reg? Has someone decided you'd make more money targeting End Users? If this is typical of your articles, is it any surprise they are classified as "Blogs"?

  42. A. Lewis

    Summation for those who don't want to read the full article. (Since it is neither short, nor sharp.)

    "I was stupid enough to trust my business mail to a service that I was well aware was free, and in beta. However, because I've been with the service a long time, I somehow feel that they should take my abuse and fix my problem immediately.

    I don't understand that like most technical problems, mine was caused by user error. I am now trying to tap into anti-megacorporation feeling, and make myself feel better, by publicly bemoaning the terrible treatment I've received."

    I think this article would've been better if they'd got Guy Koma in. :)

  43. phil

    Actually ISP's like POP3

    Think the comment about ISP's not liking POP3 is untrue, its IMAP we ISP mail admins hate, leaving all users mail on our servers, least with POP3 (if setup as per most ISP instructions) takes the mail off the servers and leave a nice clean mailbox, maybe a little white space but thats allowed.

    The other point is that Gmail has been in beta since the dawn of time, how long does it actually take some thing to go from beta to release, i agree that its prolly so if something did die they can say 'its only a beta' but if its only a beta shouldn't the ads that make all that money for google be switched off?

    Google at the end of the day like most of us like to have there cake and eat it.

  44. Andrew

    Article summary

    1 Gb of space for a free non-evil mail service was an amazing offer when it was made. I'm sure google relies on most people not filling it, but they allow you to if you want to. Good on them.

    pop3 wasn't available when google launched. Then enough people whined so that they added it. Good on them.

    One user found that he wasn't sent a free courtesy warning email when he took advantage of the pop3 service. So he called the helpline, at google's expense (remember - they are making a tiny margin on each user. This user support costs money. If every user called it google would go bust). The user points out that he is a journalist. The free user support operative explains that is not her problem.

    What else would the author like? A courtesy phone call and a short course on email management for every user who hits their email limit? And as other commenters point out - it's great to see that Google displays it's non-evil credentials by not pandering to technically incompetent journalists, even if it results in bad publicity.

  45. Simon Painter

    "I'd still be a blog"

    'It said: "Your site isn't listed, because we don't list blogs."

    NewsWireless isn't a blog. Occasionally, the site prints blog entries, but it's a news site with a couple of dozen regular contributors. I pointed this out, and sent them a list of contributors - and, finally, the paperwork went through. But if I had just accepted the first (and second and third) patronising assurance that "your suggestion will be considered!" I'd still be a blog.'

    1) Yes your site is a blog. The second link down states quite clearly that it is a blog. They want to deal with journalists. That's not people who write blogs, it's people who work for news services.

    2) You even say "I'd be a blog". That's the point, it's your site. It's not a site run by an organisation that reports news, it's your own vanity site where you have appointed yourself editor in chief.

    3) Frankly I am a little surprised that El Reg is getting so desperate for content that a blogger can hijack a page with a badly written and badly thought out rant. Next time I have a silly little bugbear I shall make sure I get it published on El Reg and bore the IT world with it rather than making my girlfriend listen to my puerile witterings.

  46. jaarius

    Oh poor you...

    Jesus Christ, If I wanted to hear whining like this I would listen to some of my colleagues.

    "I'm just the little guy. Who is going to stick up for me?"

    Wah wah wah.

    If you are not too busy feeling sorry for yourself take a look online for a few details about google. They have 12k+ employees and they are a multi billion dollar corp. When companies get to that size you no longer get to have the luxury of dealing with people who use common sense. There are procedures to follow, escalation processes and the kind of brief training curriculum that results in the "I can't do that sir... the computer says no " kind of service.

    This rant was about a sharp as a rubber ball and tantrums make for poor reading. Go log in to this free, beta service and clear a few things out.


  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the problem

    The problem is you are not using iMail by Apple. It has 1 zillion TB storage space

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impossible to easily clear out large mails too

    Some posters have said what's the problem with just logging in and deleting mails via the web interface.

    Well Gmail doesn't allow sorting by mail message size / attachment size. It doesn't even show this information. So it is impossible to make a quick and efficient clear out of the biggest files that are clogging up your account. Those 10mb powerpoint presentations for example.

    The NGO I work for moved over to Google Aps a year ago, and several users just hit the 2gig limit - via Pop3 and also didn't get a warning.

    It sucks. But it's worse that they make it so difficult to have a clear out.


  49. Brian

    I am with you.

    I for one am going to go cancel my Gmail account. Let's see what they think when I take my 1.5Gb of e-mail off of their server. This is the last time I ever pay for an email account through Google.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not supposed to be like this

    "Here's what is supposed to happen:-

    1. I ring up the Google press office"

    So your first thought, when finding a potential glitch in a system is to phone "the press office" and the best outcome is writing a report on the issue ... "there was a problem with the email system but I resolved it".

    Here's what's really supposed to happen.

    1. I went to the web interface, noticed I was at my limit and deleted some old mail.

    The chances of google taking an interest in developing a change for the miniscule number of users who access *only* via POP *and* can't be bothered to manage their storage would be tiny.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Support from marketing dept?

    Oh I never realised that if I had a support issue I was supposed to phone the Press office! of course silly me! just thank your lucky stars that you get a Human to Talk to!

    your email could not be delivered because the email box is full!

  52. Andrew Armitage

    Call the President

    Maybe you should also try calling the president directly, I'm sure they will patch you right through....i'm sure google doesn't get 2000 calls a day with some irate person asking to speak to the 'team' about an issue.

  53. Keller Drozdick

    I'll second that

    I'll pile on with the others:

    - Every now and again, exercise some data-management and log in to delete e-mails you've already downloaded (I believe gmail won't let you delete when accessing via POP).

    - And yeah, they could and should have provided a way to give warnings of full mailboxes, even if they are big, both for POP and web access.

    Me, I let it pile up in gmail and then download to my personal computer and at that point clear out whatever I downloaded. I certainly have reservations about Google, but don't think they are above average evil, and like that I can have my Treo automatically check my gmail account free.


  54. Steve Davies

    No, there is a point here

    So what if its free... if they're professional they should act like it.

    The big advantage of gmail for me is subscribing to info-mail services and using the google search to find what I want, when i want it. This means that I too leave almost all email in there, undeleted.

    I bet he wrote the article within 5 minutes off coming off the phone to google.


  55. Adrian Waterworth

    Hang on a mo...

    Somewhere up there someone said something about leaving your email on gMail because it gave you a wonderful way of organising all your messages and searching through them, etc. (Something like that anyway.)

    Then someone else said that you can't easily delete email because there's no easy way to categorize or search your mailbox(es). (Or similar.)

    There's also something about not being able to tell your POP3 client to delete messages from the Google server without jumping through some other Google-icious hoop.

    And, meanwhile, someone else mentions some hassle they've had with online apps from Google.

    I think the main point here (that has already been made by other people) is that Google apps and gMail and such like are, largely, er...crap? As indeed are most online applications, SaaS offerings, etc. that I have ever encountered.

    Bottom line: if your email, application or whatever is important to you and to your business, you would appear to be a complete and utter numbnuts if you are stupid enough to rely upon some remote online service (a la gMail) for it all. By all means, buy or rent your own server in a colo somewhere and set up and run your own service (or buy a properly managed service from someone else), but don't go down the cockeyed and cack-handed Google apps sort of route. M'kay? It might be trendy at the moment, but like many trendy ideas, it doesn't necessarily work properly (and may well never do so).

  56. Francis Fish

    Its *not* free

    Cos you're reading the ads which are generating cash.

    I don't mind, because they're text ads rather than really irritating Flash aminations (El Reg take note??).

    I think Guy has a point - I also use MacMail, which is POP3, and it sends a mail when the mailbox starts to get full. It's not rocket science.

    By default POP3 doesn't delete with gmail - but it does know that it's been downloaded so you don't get it again. That's part of the point with it ...

    One thing that annoys me, as a developer, is that I can't send and receive certain attachments but it's not that big a deal, really.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So "First person"

    on top of El Reg articles seemingly means "whiny pointless it's a cruel world and nobody brought me candy when I was sick rant", usually by a person employing a consumer-level product for a "professional" cause, only that in this particular case the person was not bewildered that her iBook, carefully charged to red-heat on carpet unde sofa each & every night, would break, but rather managed to fill 2GB with Email in 2 years (max respect, man) without ever bothering to delete any piece of junk he was sent, and now complains that nobody told him his box is full.


    All in all, it means "avoid articles labeled First Person".

  58. Drew Sears

    Right, they're the arrogant ones...

    Google gives you a free 2GB mailbox. They give you a POP interface so you can use it with no ads whatsoever. They give you a form to submit feature requests.

    You can't be bothered to log into the web interface, and you fill your mailbox. That they would even put a limit on your mailbox is an insult, but that they fail to immediately snap into action and implement your feature request is downright offensive! It's not like they have anything more pressing to do than add features that are only useful to lazy, ungrateful users such as yourself, who refuse to do any mailbox management.

    If you don't like Google, take your business elsewhere. I'm sure Microsoft has a stable of Hotmail engineers eagerly awaiting your brilliant, inspired feature requests.

  59. This post has been deleted by its author

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect?

    I've just signed into my GMail account and it quite clearly and prominently declares itself to be in Beta.

    Learn to not be such a tw@t.

  61. Emma

    There did say "Never delete.."

    Gmail claims not to be like other services.

    When they launched it, the blurb said there'd be no need to delete e-mails any more. It said that I could keep all my e-mail in archives and then when I wanted to find one I could just Google it.

    Let's forgive them for making stupid promises they can't keep. But it's unprofessional to bounce e-mail with a permanent error (suggesting that you don't exist). POP3 Users won't see that it's full and Google don't seem to want to tell us.

    Nor do they make it easy to sort/organise the e-mail to aid in deleting it, presumably because the developers didn't expect me to want to do this housekeeping any more than I expected to!


  62. Fred Gumby

    Google are big, monolithic and STUPID

    A little over a year ago I tried contacting someone in Google to discuss an idea/business model which would quite possibly have made billions for them.

    Did they bite my arm off? No! Many hours of phone-ping-pong and unanswered emails later, I gave up.

    You'd think that SOMEONE in Google would think "should we potentially waste a few hours talking to this guy VS. making a few $billion?" without coming to the conclusion "naaah! Too much bother".

    This says to me that Google is now going the way of all companies that have lost their hunger.

  63. J Gray

    Why did you contact PR?

    This was 2 clicks from my main Gmail page. Took less than 10 seconds to find. Was that really all that hard? Probably 10x more effective than this whiny rant at some PR person.

    PR != user support or technical support

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google? Arrogant? Unhelpful? No surprise

    They may have some of the best ideas and have some cool products for the moment, but they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction with their approach with everyone who wants to deal with them.

  65. Ron K

    Gmail has deleteted multiple e-mails sent to me

    I have had several e-mails deleted by g-mail with no explanation?

    1 from

  66. Jarrad

    You call Google arrogant?

    Let's see... you write:


    Here's what is supposed to happen:-

    1. I ring up the Google press office, and tell them what I've found

    2. They say "Oh, wow! I'm sure the tech people will get onto that. Would you like a chat with someone on the team?"

    3. I write a positive-spin piece saying: "Small problem quickly fixed: Google mail gets better and better!" - going on to say that there was a small problem for POP3 users, and they're on the case, and quoting a reassuringly expert developer saying how easy it will be to fix and how it will be done in days...


    Now THAT'S arrogance.

  67. Michael

    Re: beta

    Yes, gmail is "technically" a beta, however, all too often nowadays, companies slap "beta" on a product or service as a CYA to make sure they don't have to support it.

    Gmail is apparently "production quality" enough to be an "open beta" for which they've allowed a metric crap-ton of accounts to be created.

    Gmail is apparently "production quality" enough that they don't feel any ethical ambiguity from placing ads in the site and emails, thereby receiving revenue from the venture.

    So it's polished enough to let it be fully available to the public, and it's polished enough that they feel ok making money off it, but it's still a "beta"?? I call bullshit. It's a lame tactic that is happening far too much that just gives companies an excuse to ignore or give crappy support to their users. As the phrase goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. We all pay for the service by including a google text ad in every email we send from our Gmail account. I think Gmail users have every justification to expect quality customer service from Google.

  68. J

    What's up with...

    How does the author of the rant know it was a "young lady" to begin with, as repeatedly stated in the "article"? Is he just being a little bit more snug and arrogant or is this some sort of "polite" way (which I haven't learned yet) in the English language of referring to women you can't see?

    Anyway, sad overall.

  69. Mike Gove


    Hmm .. you use a free product, don't login to the web site and thus see ads, Google gets no value from you as a user, you over-use the account.

    Right so far ... ?

    Then, because you are such an important journalist, you expect Google to fix this "bug" within a few days and get back to you? You get cross that they can't respond to important people though no doubt uncaring that 2.5m other users probably also have gripes with the service but would never expect a personal response.

    Facts still right?

    Good, just checking I understood the ego behind this post.

  70. David

    Why didn't Google send a helicopter?

    Why didn't Google send a team of technicians via a helicopter to your place?

    Google must be arrogant. It's the only conclusion I can think of.

    I mean come on, your a journalist. You have the power to create and destroy.

    What was Google thinking?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow you google fanbois are worse than Mac/iPhone ones!!

    Wow, Apple doesn't give you a $600 phone for free, include G3, extra user replaceable batteries, and free two years of service through ATT and you are all ready to kill Stevie boy.

    But Google, promises to have a user friendly email service that allows you to never delete an email with full POP and SMTP support, and when it fails, you guys are all defending it.

    I thought Apple fanbois were bad! You googlers are much worse, and dare I say it? EVIL!

  72. MG

    Bloody hell Guy...

    I do appreciate your perspective and your informed opinion on a lot of issues, but this really does say a lot more about you than it does Google.

    I would strongly suggest an occasional stroll around the grounds of the ivory tower for a start. Once you're comfortable with that, have a wander to the village pub for a pint and talk to people.

    Good luck,


  73. jeandiata

    Count your blessings...

    Instead of ranting, I think that you should count your blessings that your account wasn't shut down for violating the terms of use - which clearly states "The Service is made available to you for your personal use only"

    So not only are you using your maximum allowed server space - you're using it to conduct business. Try that with any paid ISP's non-business account service and they would have turned off your account as soon as you called to complain.

    In the case of Gmail - we'll go back to the TOU and see this "In addition, you understand and agree that the Service is provided on an AS IS and AS AVAILABLE basis. Google disclaims all responsibility and liability for the availability, timeliness, security or reliability of the Service. Google also reserves the right to modify, suspend or discontinue the Service with or without notice at any time and without any liability to you." And you're trusting it for a business? You think having mails rejected for running out of space is bad - how will you manage if your entire account just disappears?

    As for the whole section about the gmail teams not listening to requests of it's users - they most definitely do listen!! How do you think that POP option that your using got added? Users ASKED for it! And that's just one of many of gmail's features that have been given to the users over the past few years. And it's still in BETA because they're still adding new things.....y'all just may get the message size indicators - just let them know....the more requests the higher up the queue the suggestion gets.

    and you're believing that they don't help fix problems? Try following the proper links from the Gmail help section and then follow the instructions given in the auto-response email. Just scroll down past the obligatory links to the help section and they'll tell you what to they need you to send in to solve the problem. If you get one of the dreaded "The Gmail Team is aware of the problem is working to fix it" responses - then guess what? That IS what they're doing.

    And where the Gmail team may fail you - there is an entire help forum where users help each other around bugs and missing features. The link's in the help section.

    And while this is already too long - to clear up the confusion about deleting popped mail from your gmail account - just click on Settings, then the Pop tab and there's an option to do just that, click and save the changes and you don't ever have to visit your Gmail account again.

    FYI - I actually got to this article via a Google News Alert I have set to alert me to articles regarding Gmail.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with the majority but...

    Yes Guy should have just made a mental note to do a better job of housekeeping his account, apologised to those whose messages were bounced, and got on with his life.

    However, those who have said that GMail should delete messages from the server after downloading to the user's mail client have missed the point. GMail actually has no fewer than three options of what to do when messages are collected via POP3: delete the GMail copy, archive the message, keep the message in the inbox, or delete the message. It's up to the user which action to take.

    Archiving my messages gives me the best of both worlds: a local copy when I'm at my PC and a nice searchable archive that I can access from anywhere. I can even do this on my mobile phone, using Google's nice Java mobile client. Who needs a Blackberry?

    People who use a free service need to accept that if it's worth more than the money being paid (i.e. nothing) that's a bonus. Despite its quirks, GMail is considerably better than many paid-for services so that's a very big bonus. Why they offer POP3 access at all is beyond me, as it undermines their advertising revenue, but I'm grateful that they do.

    As others have said, demanding that Google introduce a feature that will benefit only the tiny proportion of users who use POP3, and have filled their mailboxes, while increasing the disincentive to view ads is ludicrous. However, making a modest suggestion, which they are free to ignore, would not be an unreasonable thing to do.

    If any professional person, least of all an IT journalist, admitted to using Hotmail, or any of the other free webmail services for essential business purposes, he'd be laughed at with some justification. Why should expectations of GMail be any different?

    Google may be an arrogant, even sinister, mega-corporation but if this article is the best its critics can do, its position seems pretty secure!

  75. 4.1.3_U1


    Rik - I use, generally it's OK, but I do find the automated emails "Your FastMail.FM account '' is 92% full" a tad annoying, particularly as they go both into the inbox and the alternative email address you signed up with, and if you use imap you can see your used quota in the client anyway.

    Maybe this is just what Guy is looking for ... oh wait a minute the free accounts only give you 10Mb of storage.

  76. Rich

    You get what you pay for

    Don't you?

  77. A. Lewis

    @RE: beta (by Michael)

    >We all pay for the service by including a google text ad in every email we send

    > from our Gmail account.

    My gmail doesn't send text ads. Is this something new?

  78. phil

    point taken but just to far.

    you are obviously It savvy, but don't you have anything better to do?. why not delete the emails off the server. you obviously know how too but just want to have a moan.

    get off the google is new microsoft bandwagon. and get a life.

  79. Frank Bough

    It's Called .Mac

    "The problem is you are not using iMail by Apple. It has 1 zillion TB storage space"

    Actually, .Mac costs real money, supports IMAP and is pretty fucking good. Oh, and it has a 512MB limit by default, though you can purchase more. Apple has been - by some margin - the most professional email provider I've ever used. Don't, however, let facts get in the way of another tedious anti-fanboy blurt.

  80. Karim Bourouba

    this guy is a knob

    seriously, I know other comments have been made along these lines - what is it exactly that makes this guy so important? I am fairly certain that if I called Google and informed them of who I am I might get a similar response. However, looking at this from Googles perspective - I wonder if the person taking the call was thinking "oh no, not this arrogant git again..." as the author whines away about not getting his rattle passed back to him once he has thrown it from his Google branded pram.

    I mean, ringing the press office to ask for a new feature? I may not be as bright as the author, but surely they would be the ones to "fix" a "problem" like this?

    Basically, I dont see it as a problem at all. Gmail is a webmail service, its designed for you to log in via a webpage. on that page you see how much space you have left etc. POP3 is just icing on the cake, its just them trying to be nice to you while they keep up with the Joneses.

    If you are downloading via POP3 to your email client, you should be archiving your precious bloody emails off somewhere else.

    What a spanner.

  81. Richard Hodgson

    'Google fanbois'?

    The people who are defending Google seem to be the ones who understand the limits of a mail system and product development.

    Google aren't going to give you unlimited space when their mail servers offer storage to thousands of people. That's a given. It was foolish of them to say 'Never delete an email again.', that's certain.

    However Google are not going to let you speak to one of their techs, since unless they work for you or you're paying large amounts for a service, coders are not generally customer facing. Even as the press you are likely to just get a canned comment, because making changes to a system aren't as easy as saying 'Sure, I shall fix this, by this point.', and anyone who speaks to the press regarding development issues without first consulting their superiors are going to get chewed out. Things need to be planned out first, with how any changes might affect other systems and sections of code, They're not going to give you a timeframe either, because development does not always work out that smoothly, and to be honest, this is an issue that affects a tiny number of users who have managed to collect over 2.8 gigs of mail, and likely isn't high priority.

    It just seems like the journalist expects far too much from a free service, I'm willing to bet that someone at Google is likely laughing at how ridiculous this article is already.

  82. Sarah Davis

    2 years and gmail bug still not fixed

    I reported a bug to Gmail about me not being able to re-download my emails dated 9/12/05 or later. Strangely 2 years have past and they still are unable to fix it. I tried all the sensible solutions, then Gmail started with the stupid solutions. You can't help but get the distinct impression that they're not really trying.


  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone call the


    Stop crying and get over it, if you can't do basic email housekeeping then maybe you shouldn't even have a computer.

  84. Neil Livesey

    Just set your account up to delete messages after they have downloaded!

    As Rich pointed out its a standard feature of POP to delete messages after being downloaded and Gmail does support this. I dunno how long you have spent writing stupid letters and making pointless phone calls, when all you needed to do is take 5 mins out and check your configuration you idiot! Do you know what RTFM means?

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Guy never check for false positive in the spam folder?


    Am I correct - you genuinely *never* login to and therefore never check for false positives in the Spam folder? Yet you are very concerned about one or two messages bouncing and feel that Google should jump to as a result?

    I smell a big furry rat: if you are sane you must surely login (within every 30 days) if only to check for erroneous spam filtering results to rescue legit emails?

    If not you are either foolhardy and blindly 100% confident in this free product, still in Beta, or, you have been filling your gmail account purely in the hunt for something akin to a bug so that you could be the mighty journo and report it to the world.

    In short I do not believe one word of your G-whine to be genuine, instead I think it is an attempt to advertise your name and writing skills. Well done! El Reg has given you publishing inches, and we have all been sucked in to talk further about your lack of credibility. Of course you may simply lack common sense, or the reading comprehension to understand technical matters. Get out more and listen to people, face to face.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clueless fanboys

    I knew that Google fanboys, like most fanboys, were clueless but not by such a degree. Talk about missing the point of an article and lacking comprehension skills.

    As for the one that said that NewsWireless is a blog because it has a link to one, I'm lost for words. That would make the BBC, The Guardian and dozens of others media outlets merely blogs too.

    And FYI, Kewney has been a much respected IT journalist from a time when most of you Google fanboys were still having your nappies changed by mummy.

  87. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Reality Check...

    1. Most organizations *like* real press-people to contact them via their press office before writing anything that could be seen as potentially negative. Anyone with half-a-clue should appreciate why this is...

    2. From a strictly business perspective, Google is missing an opportunity here: *if* they sent "come clean up your mailbox" messages, then people would visit the site and see all those nice ads that are being avoided.

    3. Google themselves have noted that they over-use the "Beta" tag.

    4. What, exactly, does "personal use only" mean? Does it mean "non-commerical use only" or does it mean "use by you, as one individual only"? Common English suggess the latter, not the former.

    5. Sad to say, but many journalists do have a slightly skewed view of the importance of their own opinions. I don't say this as a critique of Kewney, but as a critique of a press office that doesn't do a better job of keeping their egos happy...

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My 2p

    1) Maybe he was having a bad day.

    2) Why not set up a second account - or ten? then filter and forward to other mail boxes. Perhaps then you might never have to delete another email again?

    3) I just had my first ever look in the Spam folder. ewwwww. I hope none of those are false positives.

    10) If they sent you an email to tell you your mailbox was almost full, wouldn't that make it even fuller? goto 10.

    5) Fred Gumby. you tease! Did you ever make those few billions?

    6) everything everyone else said.

    7) Quote from : "The Register, that august sister-site to NewsWireless" ! ?

    8) there is a phone number on - perhaps we should all phone up and ask for 'minor' improvements and see how long they take to materialize?

    9) Chocolate Rain.

    The defense rests, m'lud.

  89. Alan

    This says more about the state of theregister than anything else

    To be honest publishing this article says more about the state of this site than it does about Gmail or even Guy Kewney.

    I have been reading theregister almost from day one and have always been surprised that Mr Kewney has ever been allowed to post here at all.

    His articles seem to be ads for his own site or as in the case of this one just complete nonsense.

    Time for a change of editor at theregister me thinks!


  90. Simon Painter


    Dude, that's the point... he *was* a respected journalist and now he's just the old man of one of the Reg staffers and a universally ignored blogger. Newswireless is not a news service any more than my own blog is but I would not have the arrogance to assume that just because I publish things on t'interweb means I should have some sort of special service and be able to log feature requests through the PR dept rather than through the feature request channels.

    This guy sounds like the sort of bloke who walks into restaurants and when he can't get a good table shouts "do you know who I am?". Clearly not.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    right ol' winge

    In my case google were right to say 'Never delete an email again.' but then again I guess im just norm. Ever heard the 'cant please all of the people' saying?

    As for phoning the press office! no comment.

    Oh and yeah I always read the articles about how good they were to fix it. dont recall ever seeing many of them in your repertoire...

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only thing Guy is right about

    They did make a stupid promise "never delete".

    Server resources are finite. Any company that makes such promises should be avoided like the plague.

    Guy is right to hold them to account for that but on the other hand he is not being realistic when trusting a critical service to a free provider.

    If you want an SLA you have to pay for it. Don't get spoilt by free services because when their revenue model collapses so does your data.

    In my business I have both models. Clients that need reliability pay more for an SLA and get the service. Those going without an SLA get better pricing but agree to a "best effort" service where we do try to rectify problems but not to an extent where it is costing us more than provision of the service.

    Lastly anyone who calls others fanbois needs to go back to nursery. Don't you hate school breaks :-/

  93. Kevin Smith


    Guy, if this is the usual quality of your "journalism" (I'm not going to go to your piece of shit site to check because that would be another couple of minutes of my life I'll never get back), please do us all a favour and never again clog up the web with your fucking drivel. You are a pathetic, mewling, talentless waste of space.

    Sorry if you don't find this to be constructive criticism, but frankly I can't find anything constructive to say and even if I could this poor excuse for an article would not merit taking the time to do so.

    El Reg, what the fuck do you think you're doing publishing this shite?

  94. james

    oh dear

    Hmm wasnt aware that computer illiterate whinging middle aged fools actually wrote stuff for theRegister.... seems like they do

    It is free and it is by far the best webmail service out there - try d e l e t i n g stuff - next thing we know you'll be writing some tardy post about your hard-drives full and "omg that spyware I just bought really isn't very good".

    you definitely suck @ rl

  95. DC

    Dear god...

    Stupidity at it's finest.

    I'm actually wondering if it's April 1st at the moment - are you seriously complaining because your inbox got full when you didn't delete yuor old emails? Comedy gold!

  96. Andrew Heenan

    Press Office?

    How arrogant do you have to be to contact the Press Office with a technical problem?

    And how sad to be converted from a lifelong user to a childish Google-basher so easily.

    Go use hotmail and stop whining.

  97. james


    omglolzorz!!1 I have the same rubbish bin....seems to be so full of ...i

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