An Open Letter to Gmail: Happy Halloween! We love your costume!

Posted Oct 31st 2008 12:56PM by Mail Engineering Team

Happy Halloween Gmail! We knew you would have the best costume at the party, and who can blame you? We think it's great that you're using this holiday to pay homage to the one who started it all, who got 35 million people online at once, gave them all email, great content and messaging capabilities, and even created a forum that encouraged them to speak in emoticons.

That costume is fabulous...clearly, the devil is in the details... and what's that you've got there? An "experimental" instant-messaging feature built right into your mail service so people can use it to send text messages to their contacts' phones? We love it – that was such a hit when we first introduced it so many years ago. We tried to make it easy: telling users to simply open the AIM panel in their email type "+1 and the 10-digit cell phone number" into the To: Screen Name box. It's kind of fun, too – good choice!

And those sidebar options – talk about getting it right... Adding gadgets to email that allow people to manage their calendars, access their favorite content and best Websites? Nice work. The idea of adding a side panel like that was one of our best. Giving people the ability to get to their favorite places on the Web, manage their schedules and IM right from their email home page tripled the convenience of our service. We're sure you'll get lots of compliments.

Finally, is that an "attachment warning" popping up on your back? Nice touch. We know nothing is more embarrassing than having to send an email twice because you forgot the attachment. Our users love this little reminder, and they have been praising it since we first implemented it back in 2007.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery, so Gmail, we thank you and we are indeed very flattered. Putting together a costume that is so dead-on could not have been easy, and you've got it down pat. Trying to convince all the other kids at the party that the only thing to use is Gmail and putting out a press release every time you add a new button to the service is just so 1998. We're telling you – this outfit brings back memories!

Here's a tip though... the Web's getting more personal, and people are really savvy at customizing their own services. When you don this same costume next year, make sure you check out first and add some third party services (see our new Yahoo! plug-in) – you can't be all Gmail all the time any more – it won't be such a big hit next year!

Happy Halloween!