Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Email and big attachments

yesterday I tweeted a link to a Google blog post about why sending big attachments was bad.

Well inefficient, not bad. The post makes the very good point that sending the same big attachment to a group of people is highly inefficient of bandwidth, and would be better using embedded links to reference the same document from a webserver or what ever. If nothing else it save on local mail storage.

True, and if they can convince marketing departments we'll all be a lot happier.

But point to point sending of attachments - I doubt it. For a start it's not a an ideal use case for a webserver, and the I send you a link and you download it type services detract from the immediacy of email, and while they save a little bandwidth and storage probably, the efficiency losses probably more than offset this.

And of course there's digital faxing - which of course isn't faxing, it's scanning a document to pdf and emailing it straight from a copier to an individual - exactly as the original HP digital senders did ten or so years ago - which is a much underated trick. Contracts, delivery notes, signed tax submissions, all can be sent via email, saving the desperate hunt for a fax machine, which seems to be something that increasingly only banks and telcos seem to use.

And as they're usually pdf's as graphic images these attachments are reasonably large. Not massive, but large. But I doubt if they're any less efficient than a fax machine, and the aggregate costs are mor than maintaining a special device and an analog phone line ...

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