Dark patterns in the Gmail web app


Recently, my Google Pixel 3a phone started to have a faulty USB-C port. Luckily the device is also able to charge wirelessly (in fact, it’s the first Google phone that does that!) but it’s still rather inconvenient.

My employer provided me with an iPhone SE which I think is a rather great little device.

I’m also trying to get rid of depending a lot on Google and their ‘free’ services; I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for almost 10 years now as my main search engine and that’s working fine for me.

I’m using their Gmail service since 2004, when it was still invite-only, and you’d get a mind-blowing 1GB of free storage space with it. That’s 18 years ago, it’s been a long time! But I’ve also got my own domain and have not switched fully to using that for my email because of the hassle involved. So now I decided it was time for me to grow up and ditch the Gmail. But after 18 years of use, many of my accounts with other services are using the Gmail address.

So on my new phone, I’m using the Mail app with my own address and I decided not to install the Gmail app but rather use their web-app when I’d need it.

However, if you go to mail.gmail.com on your mobile phone, you’ll get this page: the big blue button at the bottom links to the App store.

Only if you slide the page down, you’ll see the ‘I am not interested’ link that takes me to the web app! I really think this qualifies as a ‘dark pattern’; I hate it how Google wants to nudge me to installing their app and not using their, rather functional, web app.

For me it’s one more reason to continue to ‘un-google’ myself.