But Outlook is simply awful, at least for e-mail.
Searches are excruciating. The thing crashes frequently or hangs up. And there are a limited number of ways that I've found to customize the program--and many of them cost a bunch of money and make the thing even more crash-prone.
As says in a recent Slate piece:
If you're still tied to a desktop app—whether Outlook, the Mac's Mail program, or anything else that sees your local hard drive, rather than a Web server, as its brain—then you're doing it wrong. (LINK)You are. You're doing it wrong. And I would also sweep into that coffin other online mail systems too, like Windows Live or Yahoo Mail, and even Thunderbird for all you open source aficionados. Two reasons, and now Google has added a third, the final nail.
1. GMail uses tagging, not folders. You don't place a piece of e-mail into a folder to categorize it. You tag it. Which effectively means that any e-mail can be in an infinite number of folders. How can you live with that old way of organizing e-mail, the way that Outlook, Yahoo, every other program that I know uses? And in part because of this tagging, searches for mail have the beauty, speed and simplicity of a Google web search.
2. GMail threads your mail, always, all the time. What's great about that? You see all your mail, both the incoming mail and your responses, as part of a beautifully presented, threaded conversation. And that's what e-mail should be. It's not "messages". It's a conversation, asynchronous to be sure, but still a conversation. Once you've embraced that new reality, any other mail program feels like using a typewriter.
3. The final nail: offline. Google has just announced this week its offline feature, in which you can take your GMail offline from the Web and use it anywhere without an Internet connection, within a browser, just as you would if you were using a program like Outlook or Thunderbird.
The only use I have now for Outlook or Thunderbird--and I use Thunderbird for these purposes--is to backup Google's GMail servers. I am one of perhaps 17 people in the world who actually pay Google $50 a year for the privilege of having an ad-free GMail and with that they have a special up-time guarantee. But still, it makes me nervous that there is no GMail backup and so from time-to-time I'll download a copy of my GMail to Thunderbird so it sits on my computer. But with this final nail in the coffin, I'll probably remember to do that less and less.
PS: I do still use Outlook as a conduit out to my BlackBerry for contacts and calendar, but that's because I have a BlackBerry Enterprise Server that makes such over-the-air sync easy. The only thing that Outlook-BES really provides that can't be found elsewhere is contacts sync from Salesforce through Outlook and out to my BlackBerry. If Google/Salesforce filled that hole with a relatively low-cost option, I'd never have to use Outlook again.