I’ve used Microsoft Outlook for just over 10 years. It’s been one of my favorite Microsoft products over the years. Before that I used a combination of Pegasus Mail and PINE. I liked Pegasus so much that I may not have switched to Outlook had I not gone to work for Microsoft in the mid 90’s. It was elegant, speedy and very powerful.
The early versions of Outlook didn’t impress much much (wasn’t it called Exchange Mail?) but, over time, it grew on me. I liked having my email, contacts, tasks and calendar in one area. At work, I came to appreciate how it allowed me to schedule meetings and locate times when participants were available. Yet over time, it become bloated and used a lot of system resources. Worse yet was the fact that several of my PST files become corrupt. That Microsoft includes a PST Scanner with Office to fix corruption (sometimes) leads me to believe this isn’t a rare problem.
A few months I started using Google Docs at work because a number of us update the same files over and over, and I didn’t like the idea of emailing them around each time an update was made. I wrote about how I’ve stop using Word a few weeks back and I can’t imagine going back to it. I still occasionally use Microsoft Excell when I need to create a more complex graph or chart, but Google Docs covers my needs 95% of the time.
When Outlook 2007 started acting up at home a few weeks ago, I decided to switch to Google’s Gmail service. This presented several challenges such as how to move my existing PST file into Gmail which includes not only my email but my calendar and contacts. I researched a few options until a follower on Twitter suggested GMove. I bought the GMove for twenty bucks and it works as advertised. I like how it allowed me to chose which folders to sync to Gmail. It even sets up Gmail labels and tags email which makes it easy to migrate and organize lots of emails. (If you use GMove not that I got it working best using the Google POP option)
I cannot believe how fast Gmail feels compared to Outlook. I think I became accustomed to the sluggishness of Outlook, but Gmail is super fast. Labeling email feels a lot more natural than using folders to organize email and the search…OH THE SEARCH! in Gmail just schools the lame search in Outlook. It’s no contest.
Tonight I moved Kim and hundreds of email to Gmail. So far so good. She immediately mentioned how she likes the look of Google Calendar compared to Outlook’s. That Google Calendar will SMS events to me is a killer feature. The potential uses of this single feature are countless.
The only thing I miss about Outlook so far is how it handled attachments. Outlook made it really easy to see the file types and has a nifty “download all attachments” option. But the speed and ease of Gmail shine everywhere else. It’s convenient to have access to my email from any computer and I will enjoy not having to worry about PST file corruption anymore.
First Word and Excell and now Outlook. What will be the next Microsoft product I rid my computer of?