I'm a Gmail fanboy. Priority inbox, stars, the archive tool, labels, filters, built-in translation, conversation view, relatively effective spam blocking -- its features have helped me stay one step ahead of the chaos.
But on Friday, when thearrived on my Android phone, I lost some of my faith because of one simple thing: Google deleted the delete button.
In its place was a button that, I eventually figured out after some confused experimentation, toggles messages as read or unread. Deleting a selected e-mail became a two-tap operation: tap the menu button, then tap the delete option.
I was unhappy, and so are a lot of others griping about the change in the Gmail app user reviews on Google Play. Fortunately, you can by going to Settings, General settings, then Archive & delete actions.
What I'm trying to figure out now, though, is whether my view is typical. Should I be questioning Google's judgment or my own?
I use that delete button dozens or hundreds of times a day to dispose of mailing list messages I don't need to preserve, alerts about free Amazon e-books, and ill-targeted PR pitches. I mark messages as unread or read perhaps three or four times a year.
But maybe Google knows better. Is it trying to steer us toward those earliest days of Gmail, encouraging us to archive mail instead? Is deleting an e-mail so unusual that it shouldn't be a top-level action? Do people really mark messages as read or unread that often?
CNET asked Google for its rationale, and we'll update this post if the company responds.
When I crabbed about the deleted delete button on Google+, some people told me they never delete messages, and they use read/unread as a way to keep track of messages that need to be dealt with. That's fair -- I recognize there are plenty of ways to use Gmail and that I may not be very representative.
But I'd like a better handle on the situation. Vote in this poll, and tell us what you prefer in the comments below.