Drowning in Email

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Felix Salmon is unhappy with Google:

Yesterday afternoon, I started wondering why my steady stream of emails seemed to have come to a halt. It didn’t take long to get the answer: emails to me were being bounced back to their senders as undeliverable, on the grounds that my Gmail account was over quota. Naturally, I immediately paid Google the $5 they wanted to upgrade to 20 GB of storage from the free 7.5 GB.

What follows is a long post about Google’s annoying ways, and I sympathize. But what I’m really curious about is the amount of space apparently used by Google mail. I just checked my mail directory, and it uses 3 GB of space for 110,000 emails (including the associated full-text index files). So either (a) Felix has nearly 300,000 emails in his archive or (b) Google uses a really inefficient storage algorithm for email.

Probably the former. Which is an impressive bucket of email. But I guess it’s not surprising. I’ve got eight years worth of email archived, but the fact is that I delete about 90% of the email I get these days because most of it is auto-generated press releases and so forth. If I didn’t bother doing that, I’d probably be well over 7.5 GB too and pushing half a million emails.

That’s….disturbing. In the past eight years I’ve received half a million emails. And I’m probably a piker compared to some. It’s amazing that we keep up at all, isn’t it?

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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