Thoughts on web programming and the world of technology

January 18, 2012, reading time: about one minute

Disrupt the multiple-gmail space

We all know that Gmail is the best email provider out there. It’s in the browser, it’s all ajaxy, you never delete anything, your emails are cleverly organized into conversations, you know the drill…

But have you ever tried to use more than one account at a time? It’s horribly broken. Let’s have a look at your options…

Multiple sign-in

Google allows you to log into more than one account at a time. They provide you with a menu option to switch between the two and you are all set. The problem is that the constant switching back and forth just isn’t worth it.

Use a desktop client

If you use a desktop client like Thunderbird or Mail.app, you can have as many accounts as you want. But you don’t get access to your contacts and rarely get the nice conversation view for your messages. In addition, the applications are often bloated and use a ton of memory.

Use mutt or pino

These light-weight applications are popular especially among programmers. They are a pain to setup and lack email address autocompletion.

Use multiple browsers

If you have one or two Gmail accounts, you could probably get away with using two browsers - one for each account. This is silly and you shouldn’t do that.

Use Chrome profiles

Newer versions of Chome will allow you to be logged into different Gmail accounts in different windows. This means that each window is logged into a single Google account and can only access the services associated with that account. This is fine for two accounts, but if you have 4+ it can get ridiculous pretty fast.

None of these options give you a good solution for a unified inbox. They all have their shortcomings.

There is a huge opportunity to disrupt this space as they are a lot of us who have to use a lot of different Gmail accounts.

I have been using Mozilla Thunderbird with two add-ons: Google contacts and Google Conversations. They are rather close to doing the right thing but it’s still missing something. I tried to set up mutt but it wasn’t working for me because of the missing autocomplete.

Your say

What do you use? How do you deal with this mess?