5 little Gmail annoyances Google needs to fix

Gmail may be great, but it's annoying sometimes too. Find out some of those attributes that Don Reisinger thinks Google should address.

Last week, I discussed why Gmail is the best e-mail service on the Web and took a look at all those features that earn it that title. But just because it's the best doesn't mean that the e-mail service doesn't annoy me sometimes. In fact, Gmail has a handful of quirks that Google needs to address.

E-mail scans for advertising

Call me a privacy nut or just way too worrisome, but I don't like that Google scans my e-mail to deliver more relevant ads. It's not that I'm against relevant ads--I think that's what makes Google's success online so compelling and the main reason why the company is in the place it is today--but I simply don't like knowing that my content is being watched by a public company so it can make more money.

I'm fully aware that the opportunities afforded to government branches allow them to do the same and I'm equally upset about that. But, Google? Come on! At least no one at the company actually reads my e-mails, I guess.

Labels

I know I'm probably walking into some fire for this, but I find Labels extremely annoying and useless. I enjoy being able to categorize all my content into different folders without getting bogged down with each e-mail that comes in. But with Labels, I don't have that luxury.

Instead of really filing my e-mails away into the various designations I provide, Gmail simply adds a "Label" to each message to tell me where each belongs. Great, but why can't it just give me a folder? It's not that labeling is awful--it does help me organize my messages somewhat--but it's simply not as useful as folders themselves, which make it much easier to organize my in-box. Oh, and some better filtering on those labels would be nice too.

Where's the drag and drop?

Doesn't it annoy you that you can't drag and- drop e-mails in Gmail? I can do it in Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail. Why should Gmail be any different? Instead of being able to drag and drop, the message is clicked and I have the option of reading it or sending it into the trash. Sometimes, I simply want to drag and drop a slew of e-mails into the Trash to save some time. It's not a big deal--I'm using my mouse anyway--but it is annoying.

Delete me

The fact that I can't delete messages in Gmail by using the Delete button on my keyboard drives me nuts. Maybe I'm an old-school user or I always look to the keyboard for my computing needs when I shouldn't, but the Delete button is one of the most useful keys I interact with each day, and yet it's useless on Gmail.

Try clicking on an e-mail and tapping the Delete button. Doesn't work, does it? Now try highlighting the e-mail and clicking the Delete button. That one doesn't work either, does it? But if you enable keyboard shortcuts in Gmail's settings page and click the Shift and 3 keys at the same time, you'll be able to send messages to the trash. OK, so it's better than nothing, but why not just use the Delete button? I think that's far more convenient.

Single signature

As someone who uses Gmail with multiple e-mail addresses, having the option of using just one signature simply isn't enough. I need different signatures for different e-mail addresses and, unfortunately, it simply doesn't work that way with Gmail. So, each time I want to use a different address, I'm forced to erase my signature and write a new one or use a generic signature that I can use for any e-mail address. Maybe it's a small gripe, but other e-mail services allow for the use of multiple signatures. It's a simple addition, and I don't see any reason to not include it.

If you are looking to do it though, the Black Canvas Email Signature Firefox add-on is worth trying.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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