About a year ago, I transferred a bunch of my e-mail accounts to Google Mail (a.k.a., gmail). I did this to more easily concatenate the e-mails (i.e., one e-mail account to read, rather than more than a dozen). It also provided me an easy way to create an array of signature blocks so I could send e-mails from different parts of my life. The e-mails did not have to be gmail accounts for this to work.
Aside from some relatively minor detective work in ascertaining the correct steps to accomplish all of this, the procedure has worked fairly well.
One issue that has surfaced a lot, however, is that e-mails are not always sent as envisioned. On numerous occasions, I found e-mails stuffed in the computer as “drafts,” never seeing the light of e-mail. This has forced me to keep a wary eye on my drafts folder to prevent such happenings going forward.
Another issue is that e-mails get attached to threads and don’t always show up where one expects them to be. Sometimes they get linked to sent e-mails and don’t appear in the incoming mailbox.
Fortunately, the gmail search function is really good at finding things belonging to any contact.
Then, a new issue surfaced. This one required quite a bit of detective work to resolve.
It seemed that I only received 12 e-mails in about a nine-hour period, on my computer’s gmail account. However, on my phone, my main e-mail account (which gets routed to gmail), had several score e-mails. “What happened to the e-mails?,” I thought.
My first inkling was that there was routing issue between my mail account and the gmail forwarding account. I double-checked e-mail addresses on both devices and found no systematic loss of loss of e-mails by address.
Next, I wondered if there was a mail forwarding issue (i.e., all e-mails during parts of the 9-hour window were lost). No problem here! Spam messages came through fine!
Finally, I did a search for one of the missing messages on my computer and discovered that it was really in my e-mail account. It just wasn’t in my inbox.
It didn’t long from this point to discover that Google had somehow implemented an update to the mail program and incoming e-mails had started to be saved in special folders (easily accessible from the top bar of the mail page). Google, it seems, had decided which e-mail folders my mail belonged in and had started putting them in these folders.
I also discovered in the process was that other quirky happenings were actually linked to this change. These had been going on for months, and I hadn’t connected the dots.
For example, my e-mail folder, like everyone else's, overfloweth. I am always trashing mails and eagerly looking for the number of e-mail messages to go down. Yet, when deleting 100 messages one day, my count dropped by three.
The reason, I now know, was due to the fact that deleted messages were in another folder. The count I was viewing wasn’t for my whole account, but just the particular folder I was in at the time.
So, thanks, Google, for your efforts to control my e-mail life. However, I prefer to make choices myself. You may be good, but not all Google clients have minds that think the same way. Further, a notification about such changes, BEFORE they are implemented, rather than a surprise, makes a lot more sense.
I probably should have known better. Google Drive has a similar way of hiding files. Sometimes they appear in the “My Drive” folder; at other times they appear in “Shared with me,” “Recent,” or “All Items.” It’s always a challenge to find out where the files get placed.
My message to Google users is that you really need a CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) mentality to ferret out what is in the mind of Google.
Now, I wonder, if the National Security Agency (NSA) has such difficulty when they search through our e-mails. I also wonder if I could hide e-mails (much like Google does) that would protect them from outside scrutiny.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil