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The Future of Gmail
19th March, 2014
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Before I start – this is not just about Gmail… it’a about Hotmail, YahooMail and Gmail, with a little bit of Apple thrown in for good measure.

Clients are reaching their limits – inboxes are full, back up arrangements limited, computers replaced with iPads and mobiles, you know me – I’ve been on about this for years.  So what’s the future holding right now.  And I’m only really talking about email for the moment.

I think it’s a given – we all want our email 27/7 and on any device we choose, i.e. desktops, tablets and phones.  It’s slightly questionable wheather we want access to our email from any computer – because we’re usually most comfortable working from our desks in our offices, but we like the idea of being able to work from anywhere even if we in truth don’t actually do it.

The next factor that springs to mind is the devision of personal and work email – the line is increasingly blurred, on the one hand it makes total sense to keep the two apart – increasingly this is hard to actually acheive – who hasn’t used their work email for a private comminucation.  So I want to keep this in mind as well in terms of the future.

Lastly, multiple addresses – we often want multiple email addresses for slightly different businesses or representations of who we are and this also needs to be factored in.

The good news is that the core big four know all this, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple, they’ve got it down to a tee and are making massive strides to making email what we want it to be, always there, everywhere.  No social media type thing has come anywhere close to replacing email, so we can confidently say email is going to be with us for the medium future.

The not so good news is that these companies are vying for our business and attention, some of what we need is free, but there are certain deal breakers that are expensive and in some instances it can all get rather too expensive.  It’s the usual business model for the Internet age – offer a free service and charge a premium for the perks.  The only query is how soon you need the perks.

At this stage the costs still very much make sense.  If you’ve offices with under 20 or so people it’s going to be far more reliable and cost effective to sign up to the one of these four (less so Apple).  Even if you have a big office with hundreds of people there would be a business case for outsourcing email to these services.

What’s basically happened is that very careful data analysis has gone into the cost of running email and a price of about $5 a month has been put on it.  This includes everything from Hardware, Software, Servicing and Upgrading of everything – all told each individual email address is running at about $5 a month… it’s definitely low cost… But it’s also a cost many are not familiar with.  i.e. when they buy their new computers and callup the IT department to ask for a password, no cost is put on that time.  Let alone the cost of getting the IT Department to transfer legacy email to the new computer.

Therefore we can say the hidden cost of email has for too long been exactly that – hidden.  In the future the hope is email management will be a thing of the past, the incredible uptimes and redundancy and investment into the main four providers should remove the problems from email.

And by and large it does.  All you need to know is your password.

There is a cog in the works though – as there nearly always is.  In this case the cog in the works is that once you go with a ‘provider’ you usually have to commit to their way of ‘doing it’.  If you choose Gmail – then the best way to work with Gmail is to use it, that might mean giving up on Outlook and ‘your way’ of managing email and subscribing to theirs.  Using Microsoft’s Office365 system (which is essentially Hotmail), it is definitely more os a strugglr using Apple products,  Particularly, AppleMacs, using Yahoo – it’s less customisable and does not include many of the benefets of these other suct as the extensive Office suites.

You do have a choice, but it is limited to choosing one of the four.  At the moment I would narrow that down to Gmail or Office365, and I think for the future that is going to remain the case.  The downside is a small monthly fee, the upsides however are there to be had – BUT only if you subscribe to their way of ‘doing things’.

Incidentally I last looked at this question a year ago, when I firmly came down in Gmail’s favour, it’s nice to see Office365 fighting back.

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