I have been asked a lot lately about Gmail and why it is the preferred email program for myself and lots of other people. Read on if you want to know why it is such a big success.
It’s ready for you
While technically still in Beta stage^1^, Google’s “Gmail” is ready for everyone. It is by far the best free web-based email program available. It beats most paid webmail services and outshines common desktop email programs such as Outlook Express and Eudora.
Why is Gmail so cool? It’s fast, easy to use, and free. Google also incorporates the power of their web searching technology into your mail archives so that you can search easily and powerfully. And, with 2GB plus of storage you won’t be running out of space anytime soon.
Email from anywhere
Since Gmail is web-based, you can access your email from anywhere. If you want to read and write your work or school email you can do so with email forwarding and address aliasing. For example, the alias feature allows me to write an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org” even though my Gmail address is really “email@example.com”.
Gmail’s approach to handling folders and message saving is perhaps one of it’s most beneficial features. Instead of the typical folder structure, Gmail simply allows you to archive everything in on big folder called “All Mail”. From there you can use the powerful search function, or else highlight (“star”) or label any number of messages or combinations of messages/conversations. Gmail uses this mixture of filters, labels, and highlighting functions to help you organize the bulk of your past email messages with very little effort.
Lots of nice features
Other notable features include auto-save drafts, time-saving shortcut keys, and a fantastic spam-catching system. I also like the intuitive conversation views which provide a straightforward way of message threading so that you only see quoted text and new responses instead of scrolling through lines and lines of old conversations.
PCWorld gives kudos to Gmail
There is a reason Gmail won 2nd place out of the Top 100 products of the year from PCWorld magazine (they were second only to the amazing Firefox web browser). PCWorld’s review says:
Google Gmail: (Free) Fast, simple, and with 2GB of storage, it has the elements of a paid service, delivering messages sans pesky graphical ads.
Just to be fair, there are some minor concerns about Gmail:
- Content-based ads: Ads are small, text-based but based on your email content. Google’s software scans your emails for search terms and then inserts ads based on those works. Google claims that no humans read them so you are safe from prying eyes.
- Storage on Google: Some people don’t like having their data stored on Google’s servers rather than on their own.
Try it, you’ll like it!
If you haven’t tried Gmail, send me a note and I can send you the link to sign up. The switch is worth it, in my opinion, just for the spam catching and the ease of use. My Gmail experience has made my email communication more efficient and frankly…more enjoyable!
: In software development, Beta means that the progam that is still somewhat in development. Alpha is the first release, Beta follows, and usually after that is the true public release.
[Updated 01/10/2006 to reformat markup.]