NYT Columnist Explains Why He 'Euthanized' His Gmail

Ezra Klein killed off his Google email account due to the overwhelming amount of content
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2024 6:40 PM CDT
NYT Columnist Explains Why He 'Euthanized' His Gmail
This Aug. 29, 2018, photo shows three Gmail automated response options for an email on an iPhone in New York.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

Ezra Klein remembers feeling "chosen" two decades ago when he scored a coveted invite to join Google's new Gmail service, which promised much more storage in users' inboxes and robust search capabilities. He now admits he's no longer a Gmail devotee, as of a few months ago: "I euthanized that Gmail account," Klein writes in his latest column for the New York Times, noting he had more than a million unread messages by the time he nixed it. And that's one of Klein's biggest beefs with the service, and with the online world in general—the sheer amount of storage, leaving him with an overwhelmingly unmanageable trove of emails, texts, photos, music, and other content. "Our digital lives have become one shame closet after another," he writes. "I have stored everything and saved nothing."

By "shame closet," Klein means "that spot in your home where you cram the stuff that has nowhere else to go." He says that Gmail had become his online version of that, noting it eventually became impossible for him to filter through all of his emails to find the ones he wanted to find, despite Google's search tools. Klein has been playing around instead with a new email service called Hey, which he admits has its own flaws—e.g., a weak sorting system, trouble keeping long threads intact—but that offers the promise of a cleaner, easier-to-manage interface, and that "takes a very different view of how email should work." "I don't want my digital life to be one shame closet after another," Klein writes. "A new metaphor has taken hold for me: I want it to be a garden I tend, snipping back the weeds and nourishing the plants." More from him here. (More Gmail stories.)

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