Why do people prefer Gmail style conversations over traditional email?

If I’m looking for a particular email, what I will typically remember about it is that it was, for example, from Bob, and that he sent it sometime yesterday morning. So it’s easy to sort by sender and go straight to hopefully just a handful of emails to look through before I find the one I want.

Now with gmail conversations, if other people are involved in the conversation and are still talking about things, that conversation will be at the top of my inbox. I won’t necessarily remember that it was part of this conversation that Bob gave the information that I need right now. In effect I have to remember what the subject header was, and people don’t always use useful subject headers. Yet that’s what appears to hold a gmail conversation together.

Am I missing something? Can someone help me appreciate the gmail way?

BTW I’m a 31-year-old computer guy, not a senior citizen technophobe.

The “conversation” thing kind of bugs me too, but when I want to find something I know is in the box somewhere, I just do a search on any keyword I remember, within the mailbox. You might not realize you can do this, as the “search” box at the top of the mail page looks like you’re searching all of Google, when really you can just search your mailbox.

GMail’s philosophy is Search, not Sort. I used to be a sorter, too, until I got used to GMail’s nifty search. Now I wish Outlook would search that fast.

Ok well search is great usually, but a lot of the time, the email I’m looking for is some little nugget of info that was a response to a question. For example, a time. Or a meeting room number. Or an IP address. Or a password that looks like sz!x07. To be able to hit it with a search, I need to remember at least some of the surrounding conversation to come up with the right search terms. For general web searches, that’s something I’m good at, but not so much with my inbox.

The advanced search has options to find emails from “Bob,” during certain days. It shouldn’t be hard to find what you’re looking for that way.

:smack: I totally forgot about that. Well, this is why I created this thread, thanks.

Also, if Bob is in your contacts, it shows the most recent conversations with him.

No kidding! With Gmail it’s easy to find conversation from years ago, almost instantly.

At work (which the only place I use Outlook) it’s a pain to find stuff from last week. (And it takes longer, too.) A gmail search for “andrea recipe leek” instantly turns up the potato-leek soup recipe from 2004 I was looking for, but when I give Outlook “Darren LMS 2708,” I wait almost thirty seconds for an email sent at the end of July.

I’m not picking on you, but it’s funny to me how 30 seconds to find something seems an almost eternity to some now. :slight_smile: In the most recent Die Hard movie, I found one scene striking because the guy doing all of this really complex computer stuff started complaining because his result didn’t come up instantaneously. Shoot I’m happy I don’t have to get up and go look in a physical file cabinet.

As noted by Smooth Jack, you can search by sender and date in the advanced search options. You can also use labels to mark conversations which may contain useful nuggets of information for easier searching down the road. Really, labels are exactly the same thing as folders, except you can only label whole conversations not individual emails. I find the combination of the two to be very effective in retrieving vaguely-remembered emails from weeks or months ago.

Incidentally, my answer to your actual header question is:

Because email interaction really works more like a conversation (be it in person or on MSN) than like physical mail. Of course, that’s why I use facebook. :cool:

I’m still getting used to conversations, but I do like the way that all emails connected to the original message are effectively bundled together. At work, where I use Outlook, I can end up trawling through lots of emails with the same subject line looking for one in particular.

That’s just cruel. (I’m a “document administrator.” Woo-woo.) My domain is 256 filing cabinet drawers, and monster file server. I would like to get as much of our crap as possible into serachable OCR’d & imaged formats on the server, but progress 95% is still on tree-based media.

I value that lost 30 seconds more because all the ineluctable slowness of physical media leaves me with so little free time that I feel that what could be instant should be instant. :smiley:

Yeah, I’m used to plain old google searching and had forgotten I can specify things like date and sender for mail search, that was dumb on my part. I’m still getting used to gmail and I want to like it, there are already parts of it that I like a lot.

I do understand labels and archiving but I can’t be bothered to actually label anything, much like I could never be bothered to sort anything into folders with regular email. I end up with a bunch of labels/folders called “crap”, “junk”, “shit”, etc.

For the record, I had google desktop installed, and it lets you do google-type searches through your Outlook inbox, so that worked pretty well for me as well.

Most of my stuff (I’m in survey research) is paper too. For the past few years I’ve been working on getting everything imaged. It’s a bitch to index though and as such it’s slow going. I’m just ecstatically happy that at least some of it is, so I’ll take a 2-3 minute search over digging through piles of paper any day.

You’ll know I’ve completed my projects by the news that Band-Aid stocks are plummeting. :slight_smile: