I signed up for a Gmail account as fast as I could track down an invitation back in 2004, and I have never looked back. Gone were the days of having a desktop client and downloading my messages locally. What a colossal and inefficient waste of time that was. Gmail’s “Conversation View” revolutionized the way I approached email, making me much more efficient and strategic about how I communicated online. I’ve never had to look in a “Sent” folder since. The threaded conversation view just clicked for me, and I could not fathom going back to the standard, maddening inbox clutter of individual messages for every reply and forward sent or received. As with any technological advancement or new idea, there will be luddites who bitch and moan about wishing everything always be the same no matter what. My attitude has always been, if you don’t like the conversation view in Gmail, don’t use Gmail. And I respected Google’s balls in backing up its philosophical approach to email by not appeasing the whiners with an alternative. Well, that age has ended, as Google has announced it is finally making its “Conversation View” optional. Ugh. At first I assumed it was some sort of Google prank, thinking surely Google wouldn’t cave on such a principled front. The “Conversation View” is what gives Gmail its Gmail-ness, what makes it stand out. Giving users the option to turn Gmail into a generic web-client makes Gmail’s uniqueness obsolete. But the dumbing down has begun. Congratulations, troglodytes.