For me personally, I use and love Gmail. The team behind the service has to be one of the best, hardest working teams in tech, as they’re constantly rolling out new changes and improvements, especially on the mobile front. The big problem is, they’re a part of Google. Lately Google has been getting pretty shady, like adding in Google+ results into search, and now their policies are being updated as of March 1, 2012, which means a few things. The good is that you’ll have a unified “profile” across all of their divisions. The bad being that they’re going to start using even more of the data we input to further sell more advertisements. Remember, Google is not here to help you, it’s here to make money. So why isn’t anyone taking this opportunity to make some money on their creepiness?
I’m the first to admit that I have no idea what it takes to create an online email provider. I’m sure you’d need all sorts of server clusters and cloud membranes and yadda yadda, but isn’t that stuff getting cheaper by the second? So imagine that we have the backend figured out, and it all works like magic. Couldn’t someone design a cleaner, more human version of Gmail that doesn’t use your information to sell ads? You’d probably have to pay for it, but don’t we all pay for things that make our lives easier? I pay for Rdio, I pay for Dropbox, I pay for my water and electricity. I don’t know about you, but I’d put email up there with all of those essential services.
As far as I can tell there are about 3 or 4 major web-based email providers, namely Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, etc. But where’s the cool, design driven alternative? Perhaps I’m being to flippant about this, and maybe it’s way too hard to actually do, but I feel like there’s a serious gap that could be filled by a strong team with a great product. As Google (and Facebook, can’t forget about them) start to creep their tentacles around our lives, shouldn’t we start building our own alternatives