I found myself a gmail invitation inside a candy bar wrapper, so I went and signed up. I wish I could say that Google’s innovative “conversation threading” is all it’s cracked up to be, but I barely get any email at my non-university accounts anyway, so testing it out mostly consists of sending myself messages.
Still, from what I’ve seen of GMail so far, it does a few innovative things. That conversation threading seems to work, at least as far as I can tell; and GMail does some nice things like automatically expand reply windows textareas when you position the cursor in them. I can see how useful it may be to have a gigabyte of storage space that is searchable by Google’s own search engine. Also interesting are the hotkeys that GMail uses, which are intended to make using GMail quick and easy from the keyboard. In Firefox, however, I’m used to navigating using type-find—and GMail seems to mostly break this feature of the browser.
For those who primarily use webmail, GMail is likely to be a strong contender. I’ll continue to tinker with it, but I’m not compelled to jump ship from my other accounts quite yet.
Update: The property value inside GMail must be dropping precipitously, because they’ve just given me (of all people) a few invitations. If your social network is sparse enough that you’ve yet to get an invite from somebody more central in the blogosphere, just let me know.