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On one side, you download 70MB of thunderbird once and update it every once in a while without losing access to your emails while it's updating. On the other side, you have to download 25 MB of Gmail more frequently because cache is invalidated at a higher rate than thunderbird updates and you have to wait for your browser to download most of the page before you gain access to your emails.

Don't get me wrong, I use webmail all the time with protonmail, Gmail, outlook and purelymail, because it abstracts installation and updates, but your argument doesn't seem to be valid.

It's not just that the cache is invalidated, I also suspect Google changes the JS code fairly frequently enough that the browser needs to download a fresh copy (even if the cache it has is not that old and could otherwise have been reused). Compiled apps on the other hand are much more static.

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