Gmail, why sucketh thee?

Since Gmail released a new version a month or so ago, it crashes several times every day for me.

There’s some interface brush-up and improvements, and it’s supposed to be speedier. But for me it freezes each and every day and I have to force quit it. Not sure if this is because of Firefox or Gmail, but Gmail is the only service which doesn’t work.

Looking around, apparently I’m not alone with this problem. In Gmail Update Draws Gripes and So what is the deal with the new gmail crashing my Firefox (or stalling it) you can read more about it. One suggestion is to disable Firebug, which I have, to no avail.

I definitely agree with Julien’s reflection in What happened to Gmail? that it does indeed make you wonder about the QA procedure they have. The thing is, they’ve implemented a link at the top right, choosing to use the old version, which is fine. But it does annoy me as I see even more new features pop up in the new version, whilst the crashing just continues to be there.

Gmail used to be great! Please go back to that.


  • Quinn says:

    Hi, I guess I wasn’t the only one. I recently realized Gmail crashes Mac/FF on certain actions while it doesn’t on Camino. I thought it was strange..

  • Eric says:

    HOW THE FUCK can they make a site thats slowed down by firebug? Thats braindead! That red warning blob makes me sooo angry

  • JMG says:

    It must have something to do with one (or more) Firefox extensions you installed. Did you try with a fresh profile (with no extensions) for instance?

    I'm using Firefox just for development, I prefer another Gecko based browser (Epiphany on Ubuntu) for browsing. I never experienced any difficulties with the new Gmail.

  • Dave says:

    GMail works fine on my Firefox profile with no extensions, but crashes with my development profile, even with Firebug disabled.

    Could be any of these extensions: Adblock Plus, Delicious, Download statusbar, Google toolbar (unlikely), HTML Validator, Live HHTP Headers, PageStyle2Tab, SEO for Firefox, Server Switcher, Web Developer, YSlow

  • Martin S. says:

    I've always had problems with gmail crashing every now and then. Most of the times I've got a confirmation window (after ~ 30 secs – 1 min) which asks me if I want to continue run script on this site or not.

    I wish you could choose to use the non-javascript gmail version even if you have javascript activated.

  • OJ says:

    @Eric: Firebug will slow down every site. It's just more obvious on sites that are big or have a lot going on behind the scenes. It's not "braindead", it's the nature of debugging utilities, information comes at a performance cost. Turn Firebug off for Gmail it won't slow it down at all!

  • Deborah says:

    I am so frustrated with gmail! It's more like 8-10 times a day that gmail crashes on me in Firefox.

    Lately I've switched to Opera to open gmail, and I haven't encountered any issues yet. Robert, thanks for sharing the info about the link to the old version of gmail; I had not seen it.

  • stilist says:

    Yes, why are you sucking GMail?

  • micke says:

    I have the same problem. I changed the language from US English to UK English, which forces gmail to use the old version.. It now works great, but I also really would like to use the newer version πŸ˜›

  • wtf says:

    did you notice it says OLDER VERSION in the top right nav?

  • Jules says:

    I use FF and Opera on WinXPro with no significant problems in either.

  • I've been having the exact same problem with using the new version of Gmail in Firefox on both Mac & PC, even with Firebug disabled. Luckily, you can skip having to always click the "Older Version" link and login directly to the older version at and go back to crash-free Gmail goodness.

  • Diane says:

    Gmail just kills my Firefox as well, and I'm not inclined to disable nearly 20 extensions just to find out what Gmail is choking on. I don't mind changing the settings on Firebug, I'm not going to debug Gmail anyway.

    Gmail, so far, only hangs up/crashes when I try to open the Spam folder to clean it out. Very aggravating.

  • Adam Patten says:

    I was having the same issues with FF on the Mac even with Firebug disabled for I went through the whole disabling all my addons thing and found it was definitely Firebug causing the crashes. I ended up disabling Firebug for all of and it seemed to fix the problem for me. Hope this works for others since switching browsers and losing Firebug is no fun.

  • Eugene says:

    Same here, crashing a lot lately, very frustrating!

    At least I learned something today…. I did NOT notice the link on the top right to the older version. (I hope it defaults to that now).

    Maybe y'all should share your Gmail Story πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:

    So, apparently I'm far from alone with problems. Firebug is, as said, disabled for Gmail in my Firefox, but there might still be some other add-on causing the problem. I agree with Diane, though, that I don't have the time to test around with my add-ons to match Gmail's ultimate setup.

    Still, though, Gmail is the only web site where I have problems, so either they use some fantastic code which the add-ons can't cope with, or there's something wrong with it.

    Good tip, Euguene, we should share our story! πŸ™‚

  • bruce says:


    I've noticed for the last month that Firefox crashes repeatedly (on Win XP and Win2K). It even crashed when I to ready the comments from your front page, Nymiebaby.

    I've stopped using it for general surfing now, as it aggravates me so much. Opera doesn't fall over.

  • bruce says:

    Wouldn't you know? It just crashed when I submitted the last comment.

  • Eugene says:

    Yes, Gmail is the only site that tackles my FireFox too. Coincidence…. but Gmail started choking when I started using an extra Gmail account. Anyone have that same experience or is it just me?

    I still think it's got something to do with the add-ons (maybe it's the Gmail notifier add on, don't know). But I expect better from Gmail, since it's the only web site causing troubles, I simply conclude it's Gmail πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:


    If it crashes here, it just has to be your fault. πŸ™‚

    Seriously, though, that implies that the problem just might lie in Firefox and not Gmail. But how come Gmail is basically the only web site having the problems then (except for you, that is).


    I only use one account, so for i don't think it's related.

  • NICCAI says:

    There WAS a lack of focus bug on the message area that was killing me. Think it's fixed…

  • peder says:

    note: you can still use the old version! it's a little bit of a pain, but sign up for Google Apps, point mail.yourdomain.xx to gmails CNAME and voila – an old version of gmail!

    they are working on renewing this into the "improved" version as well, but if you're lucky they might straighten out the bugs before this happens.

  • sachmo says:

    Hi Robert,

    I just read somewhere that one of the problematic extensions was the HTML Validator, causing Gmail to hang and crashing Firefox. Since I disabled it for things seem to work better.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Interesting! Thanks for the tip!

  • alvin says:

    i had the same gmail crashing problem.

    It went away after i uhm re-allowed firebug to run on

    just ignore the red message about firebug, at least that's what worked for me :).

  • Ceriak says:

    When I first read your post, I had no problems. Then I upgraded to Gutsy, and things went wrong…

    Firebug was already disabled, now I try to disable HTML Validator for – we’ll see.

  • Glad im not the only one πŸ™‚

    Im on dail up at the moment and quite often, it defaults to the html version due to all the extra aditions.

    I also notice that the label colouring is not noticable and does not stand out much either, poor colour contrast imo.

  • Robert Nyman says:




    Hmm, interesting.


    Yes, the level of contrast overall seems to have gone down.

  • Ado says:

    I hate to be a nitpicker (no really) about language, especially since you write English so well and it isn't even your first language. But shouldn't that be – 'Why sucketh thou?' 'Thee' is accusative case, like 'dich' in German. 'Thou' is the nominative, like 'du'. So 'Why sucketh thee?' implies there is something or someone else that is sucking Gmail.

    BTW – I love thine DOMassistant. Thou rocketh.

  • Ado says:

    whoops, should read – I love **thy** DOMassistant.

    'Thine', at least in early Modern English, was only used before vowels (eg 'thine eyes)

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Ha ha! πŸ™‚

    You make me hesitate… Reading about thou on Wikipedia, it refers to thee as the objective form, which I guess makes it correct. Not sure, though, and honestly, I love that you point this out!

    Oh, and I'm very glad that you like DOMAssistant!

  • Ado says:

    Whoops again. I should have written – thou rockest (he/she rocketh)

    also – Gmail, why suckest thou?

    thou is definitely not objective – Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou… (God) how great thou art etc etc

    actually that article you referenced says: "Thou is the nominative form; the oblique/objective form is thee"

    BTW – it was your ultimate getElementsByClassName function that goaded me to create a set of utility functions for our website. I'm indebted to you.


  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, I said: "…it refers to thee as the objective form…". πŸ™‚

  • Ado says:

    You did say that. Sorry. I must have misunderstood.

    So the meaning of your title was not 'Gmail, why do you suck?" but "Gmail, why should one (we) suck you?"

    So it's sort of related to the expression "suck it and see". Only in the case of Gmail, don't suck it and see, 'cause it's running like a dog now?

    Was that the idea?

    Gmail, thou runnest like a dog. We will not suck thee any longer. πŸ™‚


  • Robert Nyman says:


    No, I nterpreted Gmail as an object, instead of a person, therefore using thee (which might be wrong). πŸ™‚

  • Ado Hall says:

    Hi Rob,

    I wish I'd written just one post and that it went something like this:

    Great post. I've also been having serious issues with Firefox lately.

    BTW, take it from me, a native English speaker who sat through daily readings from the King James Bibles (which is full of 'thou' and 'thee') at school, that the correct early Modern English form of "Gmail, why do you suck?" is "Gmail, why suckest thou?"

    Google "Thou suckest" – you'll get a surprising number of results.

    Also – I love thy DOMassistant. Thou rockest! πŸ™‚

    Ado Hall

  • Ado Hall says:

    Objective case applies to a person or a thing which follows a verb.

    In "I follow thee", 'thee' is in the objective (or accusative) case because it is the object of the verb.

    In "Thou followest me", ''thou' is in the subjective (or nominative) case because it is the subject of the verb.

    Ado πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:


    If thou say so. πŸ™‚

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