Google Gmail: Now with ninjas!!
I joined Google’s Gmail service back in March of 2005. At that point, you could only join by invitation. I was able to find a guy that had a Gmail account on one of the tech websites I usually visit (PCMag.com) and got him to forward me an invitation. Once I was approved and given a log on, I tried it out. I was immediately in love. Google Gmail is simple, elegant, and has TONS of space to store all of your emails. It’s because Gmail started offering 2.5Gb of storage that Yahoo! Mail had to up their limit too. While Gmail’s form factor, or interface, is minimal (which is typical Google), the functionality is fantastic.
Gmail has many cool features that I enjoy. Instead of folders, it uses labels. You can affix multiple labels to a message and search on these labels. Makes finding emails easier. Also, Gmail will sort your emails into groups. Emails with the same subject get stacked on top of each other into a message thread called a “conversation”. This lets you see all the emails pertaining to a subject instead of having to search through 15 separate emails for a piece of info. It also lets you see each email within the context it was sent. This particular behavior takes some getting used to, but I love it now that I am.
For the first few years Google added small items of functionality to Gmail, but the online interface remained the same. When you logged on, this is pretty much what you saw.
You inbox is in the middle. On the left you have the other administrative folders and the lower left has the integrated Google Chat feature as well as your label list. Minimalist, but clean.
Then, just last week, Google updated Gmail to allow themes. I don’t remember how I found out, but I must have read something online about it. If you go to Settings–>Themes you’ll see a list of different “themes” with which to “skin” your Gmail page. The one I like the best, and currently use, is the ridiculously awesome Ninja theme (are you surprised?).
That’s right, Google now has ninjas. Glorious, glorious NINJAS!! So freakin’ sweet, dude. I’ll actually just sit and stare at my inbox for an hour just basking in the kick assitude (LOL…there’s that word again, remember it?) of ninjas in my Gmail.
There are several other awesome themes. Check out the Gmail theme Desk.
This is probably my second favorite. Very cool representation of an actual desk top.
For you mainframe computer geeks, check out the Gmail theme, Terminal.
Very good approximation of an old-school “dummy” terminal. I tried this theme for a while, but it gets seriously old very quickly. I was ready to put my fist through the screen at around the 10 minute mark.
Those are some of the best. Here’s the Settings screen which shows the thumbnails of all the different themes.
Most themes just change the colors, but at the bottom there are several that are photo based which work like my Ninja theme and the Desk theme to use pictures to change things up. There are a few beach themes that are cool and one called Bus Stop that has several interesting characters standing at a bus stop, Ben Franklin being one of them. Bravo Google for giving a nice selection of new and different looks at our Gmail Inbox.
All in all, I’m excited about this update. It was getting a little tired looking at the blue/white scheme with little or no change for the past (almost) 4 years. If you have Gmail, check out your theme options, because there are plenty. If you don’t have Gmail, that’s cool, but you’ll be less bad ass than everyone else. Which is cool for some people.
I’m just saying.