Thanks to some generous friends, I’ve scored my very own Google Gmail account. I was disappointed that I couldn’t use my first name as the address (shorter than the 6 character minimum) but I still ended up with a good one.

I had to laugh at all the privacy brouhaha going on when Google annouced it on April 1. It’s not any less private than Yahoo! or Hotmail, but you end up with much nicer and more generous features. The UI is well thought out and still evolving. The way email conversations are threaded is brilliant. How the trash works is nice, too.

Right now, I use my gemail account as the forwarding destination of non-deliverable email addressed to my site, so most of what goes to it is spam. It does a fairly good job of weeding it out, but I still get lots of false negatives. I would think that once the user base increases and more people mark messages as spam, their filter is going to become much better (I imagine it works similar to SpamCop). I’m curious how well GMail will hold up as accounts start to be barraged with spam. It’s good that by default they do not load images in the email you read. That’s one of the tings I really liked about Squirrel Mail.

And those dreaded target adds that everyon was upset about? They look exactly like the word adds in Google’s search result page, in a column on the right side of the page. And just like adds in search results, I don’t notice them unless I’m activelly looking for them. Much better than Yahoo’s huge and gaudy banner adds. And unlike with Yahoo! mail, messages I send from my gmail account don’t have advertising for the mail service.