Taking Google for a spin

I’m not sure Apple has earned my $100 this year when it comes time for my .Mac account renewal. So I’ve been taking a more serious look at what Google has to offer. I took a quick look at Yahoo!, but their new beta web mail interface is basically a web based copy of your typical three paned email application. Nothing special at all.

Why am I not happy with .Mac? Well, for my $100/year I get a paultry 1 GB of disk space. So, between my email, my web site, backups, and any files I may want to have online access to that gig is not going to go very far. It’s really rather worthless. I use a couple hundred MB for email. Another hundred for my web site. Several hundred for files, and then I have only a couple hundred left for backups. Well, I am paying around $100/year for my web host right now, and not only do I get 5 times the disk space over .Mac, I get many more features. It’s a ?¢‚Ǩ?ìreal” web host versus .Mac being kind of a starter host.

.Mac offers other things, namely syncing, that make it a decent service. With .Mac I am able to sync calendars, address book, bookmarks, my keychain, and mail settings. That’s great except it works for shit. Be warned, if syncing gets messed up on one of your machines it is a bitch to fix it. There are several alternatives to .Mac syncing. Google Calendar is really nice. I mean really nice. It is a great application. Very easy to use, all AJAXy and zippy. With Gmail you get contacts. Syncing bookmarks and other browser specific items is now possible with Google Browser Sync.

.Mac also offers email of course. It works good. I have IMAP and a web interface. The only real complaint is that Apple’s web site is so graphic intensive if I am stuck on a slow connection checking webmail I feel like stabbing my eyes out. Gmail is really nice. It’s fast, I get 2.5 GB of storage. More than I can use in the next few years I think. If I want I could use POP3 to get my mail with a desktop client. The web client is so zippy though I doubt I would want to.

So I am going give some of Googles offerings a try for a while. So far I am really liking it. The only concern I have is syncing a PDA or other such device. Obviously, with everything being web based that would be difficult. However, I figure if I can get me one of those spiffy new Palm Treo 700p phones I’d be set.

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