In Case You Were Wondering...
Why do we use Gmail?
We really like Gmail, have used it for years, and we recommend that you use it too as your primary email service. We think Gmail offers these main advantages:
- It can put your entire email history in a single, searchable repository (you would be surprised how often we track down messages from 5+ years ago)
- You get your email organized into conversation threads, although, thanks to Gmail, this is now available on many email clients.
- You get the world's best spam filter.
- Since each Gmail conversation has a persistent id, you can create bookmarks for them and link to them.
Why did we develop Gmail Notes?
The one Gmail feature we have always wanted is private notes, and we had been expecting that Google would add this "soon". But after seeing dozens of other new features added by Gmail Labs, it became clear that notes just aren't on the Gmail roadmap. Finally, in late 2008, when Google released Google Search Wiki, which lets users annotate search results (jeepers), we couldn't wait any longer. So we wrote our own note system for Gmail. We know it isn't perfect, and we are working to improve Gmail Notes, but we find the current version usable and want to share it with anyone else who is frustrated without it.
What happens if Google adds their own note feature to Gmail?
Well that would be GREAT! Since it is their application, they could implement this feature much more seamlessly and, no doubt, with a richer feature set. If you already have data stored in Gmail Notes, we will do everything we can to automatically transfer your notes to Gmail's servers. If Google won't cooperate, we will, at the very minimum, provide a way for you to download a file containing all of your notes, indexed by the Gmail conversation id.
Are we going to charge for Gmail Notes?
There is absolutely no plan to ever charge for Gmail Notes. Having said that, the one thing that would foil our plans is if Gmail Notes is so popular that we end up exceeding our free usage quotas on Google App Engine. We think that is very unlikely. We would be surprised if there are more than a dozen active users, so we don't envision coming close to using our quotas. (The current Google quota for HTTP requests, for example, is over 1 million per day!) But in the unlikely event there are thousands upon thousands of active users, each creating dozens of notes every day, we could start approaching the "free" limits, and we will have to figure something out.
Will we ever litter Gmail Notes with advertising?
There is absolutely no plan to ever include advertising. Please see the previous question for more discussion on the subject of free usage. Basically we cannot imagine Gmail Notes ever reaching a level of popularity where usage starts approaching the Google App Engine free quotas. So unless we are off by several orders of magnitude, Gmail Notes will remain free of advertising.
But what if we DO reach the free usage limit?
OK already — If we ever start approaching 50% of the quota, we will institute some kind of subscription or advertising choice for new users. The plan will be to keep the service free to our early adopters, and let the surging crowd cover the expenses of expansion.
Are there any limits on individual user's usage (memory, bandwidth, etc)?
If you use Gmail Notes for its intended purpose — adding notes to your Gmail — there are no practical limits. Recognizing that a certain segment of the human population relentlessly pursues abusing web applications, however, we do apply some basic sanity limits to Gmail Notes. If you try to upload an note that is hundreds of KB in size, for example, that's not appropriate. (You should probably use Google Docs in that case, and put a link to it in your Gmail Notes.) Or if you try to upload hundreds of notes in one day, that's not realistic either (just how much email to you get?). In short, if you use the system for notes, you'll be fine.
When are we going to release a Gmail Notes extension for the Google Chrome browser?
Well, we're not sure. See our roadmap page for a brief discussion.
Why don't we store your notes in Google Docs instead of our custom server?
We have considered it, but aren't ready to make a switch. See our roadmap page for a brief discussion.
Why don't we release Gmail Notes as an "open source" project?
Well... there are several reasons: (i) Our hunch is that no one will be that interested in the source code as long as Gmail Notes works, (ii) Keeping the source code private or obscured means that we won't be embarrassed by our sometimes-weak coding style and too-candid comments, and (iii) Keeping the source private/obscured frees us up from figuring out which license to release the source under. But if there is some genuine interest, we would consider releasing the source code under an open source license and making it available on Google Code.
Is that the best logo we could come up with?
The sticky note logo is something we found in the public domain. We actually like it and think it fits the basic moniker that we ascribe to Gmail Notes. If you have some artwork that you think is better, and are willing to license it to us, please send us a sample and we will consider using it.
How do you contact us?
You can send email here. We don't promise to respond to every contact, but we will try to get back to everyone we can.