OT: www search engines

Erik Osterholm freebsd-lists-erik at erikosterholm.org
Thu Feb 7 00:07:07 UTC 2008

On Wed, Feb 06, 2008 at 03:25:16PM +0100, Wojciech Puchar wrote:
> >not used anything google for several years now. No gmail, no Picassa,
> >nothing I can avoid. No deep political reasons, just a personal choice.
> exactly as me.
> i really don't understand people that CAN have normal mail (especially 
> admins) using gmail.
> it's just strange.

Well, to share some reasons....

There are two issues here.  The first is why anyone who runs his/her
own mail server would want to use a third-party (webmail) server.  The
second is why specifically Gmail.

To answer the first question, it's largely an issue of availablity and
backups.  Most services like Gmail handle backups for you.  Although
most don't give any sort of SLA, they will usually put a lot of
thought and effort into keeping your mail, and keeping it available
(by being up.)  If you have the resources to duplicate this, as
someone who runs an ISP might, then webmail itself probably has less
of an advantage.

The second question, "Why Gmail as opposed to other services?" is
answered by how Google differentiates their service.  The first, and
most obvious difference is in storage space.  For my purposes, I'll
probably never run out of storage on Google's server.  Most other free
webmail services, however, aren't adequate.  I've got over a gigabyte
of mail on my personal mailhost alone.  For high-availablity mail
(primarily for things I may need in the event that my co-located
server goes down, along with other important things that I simply need
access to without fail), I have several hundred megabytes.  If I'm
going to use Webmail, Google fits the bill with its essentially
unlimlited storage.

Then there's the issue of spam and spam blocking.  Google does a great
job of blocking spam.  I'm sure that I could do almost as good a job,
however that would put quite a bit of load on my mail server.  That
server already hosts mail for many domains and many users--anything I
can shove onto Gmail to avoid processing spam on my host is going to
be nice.

With IMAP, it becomes even nicer.  I can manage public mailing lists
(who cares if anyone knows that I'm subscribed to those, anyway?) on
Google mail with their excellent spam filtering, and my personal mail
can go to my personal host.

Anyway, that's mostly my thinking, anyway.  One of these days, I'm
going to set up my personal host to encrypt and forward mail onto
Gmail, so that it's all available whenever I want.  I'll typically
read it on my host, and grab anything from Gmail if something happens
to require it.


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