I like gmail. I like it a lot. The interface is clean. It’s available from any computer. It handles attachments well. It offers a ton of space. It has great utilities available for OSs and browsers to inform you of new messages and it is very fast with search speed that you would expect from Google.
I’ve expressed my dissatisfaction with browsers on the Macintosh here before. Thunderbird’s only appealing feature in my opinion is its sameness on different operating systems and Mail.app looks nice and is tied into services on the macintosh but starts to act funny as it takes on more mail.
The only thing keeping me from moving completely to gmail was the need to manage many email accounts. I have my work account, a couple of personal ones and another couple related to projects that I work on outside of work. Using a client like mail.app or thunderbird allows me to pull them all together in one view and now gmail does too.
I have heard that gmail was working on providing pop access to external accounts, but had not seen the feature show up in my own account until yesterday. I immediately hooked it up to my .mac account and my project accounts and in seconds my mail was all coming into gmail with appropriate labels applied.
The only mess that I ran into was that I had years of mail stored in mail.app that I wanted to upload into gmail. I found instructions to convert my mail.app messages to mbox format and uploaded them overnight. This morning, ALL of my mail was in gmail (only using 20% of my storage). I had to create and run some filters to create some of the organization that I was used to in my mail client, but after a very short time I had created something that was far better than I had been doing.
Now my email is available anywhere (of course this can be said of any web mail client). I am notified either via the google mac notifier or the google firefox toolbar, it is available on my phone via google’s fantastic mobile client and I get a small view of my mail on my google start page. This is just another example to me about how the social web is not about people socializing but about applications being able to socialize.