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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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