Gmail Sync Performance
With so many people on Gmail, we wanted to see how the new Outlook ran with it. For the most part, we saw significant speed improvements — 2x or more — for Outlook 2016 over Outlook 2011.
We should pause here to note that testing and working with Gmail was more than a little challenge. Google regularly throttles performance, and does so at low enough usage levels that impact power email users using any external client. This is why migrating to Gmail with a lot of folders is so hard, and time consuming. The following tests are the best-case scenario we found with Gmail, when (we believe) that Google was not throttling our accounts.
Furthermore, Gmail’s implementation of IMAP is non-standard. And, regardless of email client, you may find that Gmail won’t always show you the correct counts for mail messages. This is not the fault of the email client, but Gmail’s implementation of IMAP.
When you have so many different examples running side by side, you see things from a different perspective — sometimes quite clearly. While it was not part of our goals in this article, and it’s not benchmarking at all, we can tell you that hands down, the experience with Office 365 hosted exchange accounts was far more reliable, consistent, and predictable than the experience with Gmail performance with non-standard IMAP, performance throttling, and sync inconsistencies. We don’t believe these issues appear in Gmail’s web interface, but they do apply to any email application sending and receiving through a Gmail account.
Figure 14: Sync Performance — Gmail Account
(shorter is faster)
- Page 1: Intro
- Page 2: Overview
- Page 3: Top-Level Results
- Page 4: Test Environment
- Page 5: Specific Testing
- Page 6: App Launch and Quit
- Page 7: Operations
- Page 8: Searching
- Page 9: CPU and Memory Footprint
- Page 10: Energy Footprint
- Page 11: User Interface Performance
- Page 12: Sending, Receiving, and Notification Performance
- Page 13: Sync Performance
- Page 14: Exchange vs. IMAP
- Page 15: Local Exchange Sync Performance
- Page 16: Local IMAP Sync Performance
- Page 17: Office 365 Sync Performance
- Page 18: Gmail Sync Performance
- Page 19: What about Mail.app?
- Page 20: From the Server Perspective
- Page 21: Conclusion