Gmail is too cute – no seriously

At the risk of unleashing another firestorm of hate comments I have to say I’m not liking the emoticon feature of Gmail.

Following the evolutionary path blazed by colored labels, we present, in all their technicolor glory, emoticons in your mail. – Official Gmail Blog: A picture is worth a thousand words

Now let me begin this post by saying I really like Gmail, but some things that made Gmail so great was how it wasn’t another internet tool for kids. I like how Gmail took email seriously, putting security and usability first, gimmickiness in the trash (where it belongs). But the introduction of emoticons (and the previous EOM) shows how much Gmail is leaning to the childish (and selfish) ways of forum users and MySpacers.

Now I know a lot of people will say, “but I like using smilies in my email” and that’s fine, but like so many other “new features” before it, I fear this one will get abused. People will start using these, not to convey ideas, but to simply play with the silly icons. Personally, I find them distracting, and I was more than capable of “reading” the old-school emoticons before.

So why do I care?

Simple, Gmail was a serious users email. Most early users had seen enough silliness elsewhere to avoid the gimmicks and stick to credible, reliable internet tools. Now, practically everyone on the web is using Gmail and so I can expect to see emoticons showing up everywhere. I just hope the novelty of it wears off soon because I can’t stop people from using them – I can simply ask people not to use them in emails to me.

So I guess my point is this; Please, dear friends, don’t use these emoticons in emails to me. Thanks.

Oh, and if you feel the need to comment (especially if you think I’m an idiot) have the courage to use your real internet name and a real email (a website too, if you got one). I won’t contact you – but don’t hide behind the anonymity of the internet.

12 thoughts on “Gmail is too cute – no seriously

  1. First this hideousness invaded IM (and believe me the ones on MSN are irritating as anything) and now GMail too.

    If this continues, I’ll write something for Greasemonkey to look through for the URLs of the pictures and replace the HTML with text equivalents. Can’t put up with it. I specially reconfigured my IM client not to do it, so too will I for the webmail, one way or another.

    Especially irritating is that it’s not even an option, it’s forced on.

    (Real name can be found with a whois lookup on the web link. Just easier as more people know me by that nickname than by my real name.)

  2. I’m not a emoticon hater, per say. I use them, rather frequently on forums and a good number of emails. Mostly to make the point that I’m kidding around, and to add a bit of ‘flavour’ to the message.

    I like the ones on the InkTank Forums – best place to find me – though I do try to limit it to 2-3 per longer message. When using IM (Windows Live Messenger) I usually end every 2nd or 3rd message with *one* icon – if only to make up for the lack of any other way to express emotion/inflection.

    Most of the time I prefer the text-only ones, though the ‘default round’ (Windows Live and most Invision boards) aren’t too bad. I’m not liking the square Gmail ones, or the speech bubble ones, or most of the others elsewhere (unless they’re simple and round). I’ve got a Hotmail account so it doesn’t directly affect me…

    A few friends of mine use ‘paranoid’ email settings (no images display) so I end up using the text ’emotes’ more often anyway. That usually involves typing the text version and adding an extra space so it doesn’t “auto correct” and most of the time going back and deleting the extra space…. no way to turn it off (Windows Live Mail) that I can see, but I’m used to doing the above now anyway.

    Some of the more exotic emotes usually get most people asking “What is that supposed to be?” which totally defeats the purpose of using them.

    As with Arantor, more people online know me as Adonis rather than my real name (and the first/last combo is ‘famous’ so you’d have a hard time finding me anyway). My avatar is home-made, so if you see it, it’s almost certainly me – unless someone has stolen it. >:( (don’t hurt me for the face)

  3. Just to clarify, by real name I mean who you are “online”. After all, my parents didn’t name me archshrk. But I doubt anyone goes by “Loving EOM gmail” or “yo momma” or “visitor” while online.

  4. “After all, my parents didn’t name me archshrk.”

    They didn’t? I’m completely disillusioned now.

    Though if you were in Hollywood I could see that happening…

  5. Unfortunately, due to context, most of the ads on this page are for Emoticons as in “We’ve got your Favorite..” and “Free… Get them now”.

    Poor archshrk. :P

  6. Oh, the irony! And they’ll stay there until enough new content fills the front page. That’s your que Adonis, I need something to steel, er borrow.

  7. Well you must have done something. As it used to be the obnoxious picture ads for smilies – now it’s just the slightly-less-obnoxious ‘text only’ adds for smilies…

    I suppose that change fits with the post. =)

    Feel free to *cough* borrow anything I post on the *plug* InkTank Forums…

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