I have been using Gmail since 2004. I started using it back in the days while it was still in it’s beta testing and you had to get an invitation in order to sign up. But for the longest time I never really used it. Now I will never use another email system again. Their are so many advantages to using it, far more then I will probably even be able to talk about here.
With Gmail you aren’t tied to one computer to retrieve your email. You can access your Gmail account from any computer that has Internet access – and even your mobile phone! Yes I know that you can do that with Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail as well as many others. But I will point out other great features.
Keyboard Shortcuts: In Gmail to get through your email even faster. To turn these case-sensitive shortcuts on or off, click Settings, and then pick an option next to Keyboard shortcuts.
Conversations: You can organize your replies into conversations. Each message you SEND is grouped with all the responses you RECEIVE. As you receive more responses, the threaded conversation grows and keeps track of it all in chronological order. Next to the Labels feature this is another one of my favorites.
Labels: To help you organize, a conversations/emails can have several labels, so you’re not forced to choose one particular folder for messages. You can also create filters to automatically manage incoming mail. Starring messages is another way you can organize your inbox. This is one of my favorite features to help separate my clients. I have labels using their domain names. I started doing this after I would get a email from an older client and couldn’t remember what I had done for them in the past.
Space: You get TONS of space with Gmail. Instead of wasting time deleting old messages you can archive email which frees up even more space but is still searchable if you ever need it again. I save all my client email conversations so I can go back to them if ever needed.
Spam: Gmail has done a wonderful job with filtering out my spam. Every now and then one slips through, just click on the SPAM button and the spam filters will catch any further incoming mail from the sender BEFORE it ever reaches you.
Yourdomain.com: Instead of using your @gmail.com email address, you can have email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. I used to use the webmail feature with my hosting company, however since gmail handles spam so well I prefer to use gmail with my domain emails. To do this, either forward your other email addresses to your main Gmail account or route them there using Gmail’s Mail Fetcher, which downloads messages via POP from up to five other accounts. To set it up, visit the Account and Import tab under Settings. Not only can you retrieve emails using your domain email accounts. You can send using them too without having your return email address look like email@example.com. Once you set it up, you can choose the address you want to reply from while composing messages in the “From:” address drop down. This too is under Settings on the Account and Import tab.
Canned Responses: This is helpful for business reasons, when it comes to emailing for business, you’re probably used to answering the same questions from customers or colleagues multiple times. That’s where canned responses can save precious time: turn on this feature in Gmail Labs, compose your response once, save it, then use it over and over again. You can create several to use for various reasons.
All the above along with the calendar, document sharing, and chat features are the reasons I use and and love Gmail. Not to mention that most smart phones (my blackberry) have apps that integrate with gmail to sync your contacts and calender with your phone and your gmail account. So if you loose your phone or upgrade to a new one restoring your contacts and calendar to the new phone is a breeze.
Do you use Gmail? What are your thoughts on it? List your pros/cons with it…