Uh Oh, Gmail Just Got Perfect

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Daily Crunch: Not the First Squid in Space Edition

Google quietly added a small feature to Gmail this week called Mail Fetcher. When that feature launched, Gmail became perfect.

Mail Fetcher allows users to access non-Gmail email accounts from within the Gmail interface. If you have a Yahoo email account, and a work email account, etc., you can simply access that email from within Gmail, using POP settings. Gmail will now work in a very similar way as Outlook does on the PC desktop.

This is something I have criticized Gmail for in the past. I went on and on about this issue here when discussing the new Mac web mail product. It was the one feature that Gmail lacked that, in my opinion, kept it from being the perfect webmail application.

Every other webmail service is now inferior to Gmail. Gmail offers more storage than any other free service. They offer free POP access to Gmail from other email applications like Outlook (Yahoo and Microsoft charge for that). They offer access to other email accounts within Gmail (only Yahoo offers that). Gmail’s mobile client is killer (although not yet available for most phones). And only Gmail allows tagging of emails for categorization under multiple topics (I just wish it was a quicker feature).

I am seriously considering switching from using my desktop email client to Gmail. Since I work from multiple computers, using web mail eliminates the syncing problem. If Google implements an offline version of Gmail, in a similar way as Scrybe or via Adobe’s Apollo platform, it will become even more compelling.

Kudos to Google for finally implementing this. It’s just awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh_Ferguson/12800783 Josh Ferguson

    There’s a big difference between these guys and MySQL. the AGPLv2 doesn’t allow commercial applications at all. Their commercial sales cycle is the traditional “email us and we’ll try and figure out how much we think we want to charge you based on all kinds of metrics you probably have no clue about”.

    If you’re a startup, forget about this. Mysql gained most of its traction from 10s of thousands of startups and mid-range companies adopting their technologies due to its incredibly low adoption barriers and liberal licensing, not because other GPL’d products could use it and distribute it for non-commercial use.

    It’s also a little off putting that they’ll let the entire open source community contribute portions of code back into their products, but then won’t let anyone in the community use that for their own commercial ventures. Is that an ethical business model? I’m not sure.

  • http://neo4j.org Emil Eifrem

    Hey Josh,

    Thanks for your comment. So the way it works is that if your software is open source, you can use Neo4j at no cost. In addition, our entry level commercial product is free as in beer (i.e. $0) for use cases up to 1 million primitives. (A primitive in our lingo is either a node, or a relationship or a property.)

    So if you want to use Neo4j in a proprietary setting or for whatever reason don’t want to open up your source code and you have a dataset with less than 1 million primitives, you can contact us at http://neotechnology.com and get a commercial entry license for free.

    Basically our thinking is something along these lines: if you write open source software, awesome, please use Neo4j at no cost. If you write proprietary software, you’re not unlikely to be making money off of it and then we think it’s fair to ask you to purchase a commercial license. It’s not perfect but we believe it’s a good approximation to fair and ethical as well as commercially viable.

    Emil Eifrem

    • Pierre

      “If you write proprietary software, you’re not unlikely to be making money off of it”

      Not necessarily. Lots of hobby web apps don’t make any money but still grow to be very big. MySQL allows for this use case but as I understand it, you don’t.

  • Larry

    Doesn’t Oracle Spatial already do this? Neo either has some bullocks of steal or no clue who he is competing with. Why oh why didn’t I take the blue pill?

    • http://neo4j.org Emil Eifrem

      Hi Larry,

      Yea, you’re correct that in some relational systems you can get some benefits by using either datatype extensions (like Oracle Spatial) or non-standardized (or at least seldomly-implemented) SQL syntax (such as Oracle’s CONNECT BY).

      The problem with that is typically that many times it’s little more than syntactic sugar. Sure, you get some minor improvements (for example by eliminating a network roundtrip) but at the end of the day you still have to do expensive joins. So the performance gains aren’t in the same ballpark as if you use a true graph database.

      Furthermore, features like that only address one side of the table anyway. Even if the performance was acceptable, you’re still stuck with a non-intuitive and cumbersome programming model if you have a graph/network oriented dataset.

      Emil Eifrem

    • http://manyphpsites tim

      exactly Larry

      Would you rather be blissfully ignorant?

      I’ii answer for you

      Ya sometimes

  • http://orensol.com Oren

    There’s also an experimental graph computation engine for MySQL by OpenQuery called OQGRAPH. Documentation can be found in http://openquery.com/graph/doc.

  • http://riazbilawal.110mb.com/tech/?p=3350 Tech Answers » Neo Technology Commercializes Next Generation Graph Based Database (TechCrunch)

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  • Parag

    Can someone please compare graph based database with object oriented database, aren’t both non relational database ?

    • http://crunchbase.com/person/nik-cubrilovic Nik Cubrilovic

      there are many, many forms of non-relational and there are many points of comparison. upcoming post will cover it

      • Parag Parandkar

        Grt, looking forward for it.

  • http://vauman.com atombul

    Sounds very interesting.

  • Eddy

    Is there any current data comparing these graph engines mentioned above and including Direct Edge?

    I’ve bee using the standard Modified Preordered and Recursive tree traversal methods for a while now and I had no idea this stuff was out there – so I’m definitely interested!

    • Eddy

      Sorry, ignore Directed Edge. It isn’t what I thought it was for a second…

    • http://blog.directededge.com/ Scott Wheeler

      Our (Directed Edge’s) graph database is just in-house and not really designed for general purpose use. There’s no way to do any sort of structured query on the graph, for example. It supports the feature set we need for doing fast recommendations and pretty much nothing more.

      Congrats to the neo4j guys on pulling the round together!

  • http://blogs.neotechnology.com/emil/2009/10/lets-go.html Emil's Neo Thoughts

    Let’s go…

    So TechCrunch spilled the beans with a nice writeup and the genie is officially out of the bottle: Two weeks ago today, we closed a $2.5M seed stage investment with kickass VC firms Sunstone Capital and Conor Venture Partners. As our friends and family…

  • http://www.theblogismine.com TheBlogIsMine

    Sounds very interesting. And i didn’t think that MySQl is 1billion dollar wost?! Awesome!

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  • Junaid

    Can this be used as a RDF store?

    • Carl Garland

      I would assume the answer is yes since there was a session on neo4j yesterday at the 2009 ISWC right before Tim Berners Lee talk. I am surprised I have seen no mention of this semantic web conference since there seems to be so much recent traction in this area. When I first dabbled in semantic technologies 7 years ago it seemed to be only academic/research but lately it seems there are actually a lot of vendors and *web 3.0* firms that are receiving funding and building products for use in the next wave.

      • http://www.neo4j.org Peter Neubauer

        Neo4j can be used as a SAIL-compatible Triple Store where it actually builds a graph of the triples and translates SPARQL into real graph traversals as opposed to set operations on triple sets in a relational setup, see http://components.neo4j.org/neo-rdf-sail/

        However, we believe the usefulness of graphs in general is a much wider field than the SemWeb community and RDF. Therefore think of a Triple Store rather as a derivative setup of a high performance generic graph engine if you choose to model the information that way.

        Disclaimer: I am part of the Neo4j team.

  • http://www.ashwinjayaprakash.com/ Ashwin Jayaprakash

    This is good news. Good luck to you guys!

    I just hope you can Hadoop/Grid enable it and then add some distributed Graph analysis algos to it. That would make this a really cool platform.


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