Why use Gmail? Deliverability, spam controls, labels, storage , aliases, multiple email addresses, filters – AND it’s free or very cheap.
At time of writing, I have 63,704 messages totalling 1.79GB and I pay all of $5 a year for an extra 20GB which gives me 36GB total storage for all my Google activities. My oldest message in one of my oldest accounts (I have several) is dated July 2006 (older messages were deleted) and reminds me that I bought a Nokia E70 cell phone (mobile) – which was state-of-the-art at the time. Ah, such memories. All sitting there for over 8 years! An even older email account goes back to 2001.
So, let’s take a look at five good reasons for using Gmail – or you can use it’s full name of Googlemail if you prefer – both work eg email@example.com is inter changeable with firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Deliverability. By this I mean your messages getting out to people and also you getting theirs. As with all email systems, you still need to frequently check your spam box for ‘false-positives’, but most e-newsletters will accept Gmail accounts without question, whereas Hotmail, Yahoo and especially AOL may be banned from most simply because they all bounce too many messages. This was happening 10 years ago too, when I ran a company newsletter – we had to stop people signing up with AOL accounts.
2. Collect messages from any number of your other accounts and have them all come into one. Use a filter on the other ones – which can be your own domain, another free account or other Gmail accounts. Have them all come into one central email reader. Gmail let’s you set it up so that when you reply it says it’s from the same account the sender wrote to. Very clever and saves a lots of time!
3. Labels are folders, but all in one place. When you want to keep messages of a certain subject, or from a certain person or company, all in one place, you used to have to set up folders and filters. Then go through each folder to read them. Well, Gmail is a bit more clever. You can set up a label on an open message, then set up a filter for other messages to have that label as well. In your main inbox and All Mail box you will see the label at the top of the message, but you can also go directly to the folder of the same name to see them all. If you want to remove a message from that folder, just remove the label. I find this works very well if there are several members of staff who need to see a particular message, or it has information or questions which need answering by more than one of us. Add a label for each person. They see all their messages in one folder and when they have done their bit, they simply delete their label. Simple.
4. Inexpensive storage space. $5 for 20GB of extra storage space is brilliant. No need to worry about running out of room. The downside is that we all tend to forget to delete messages! My 63000+ can probably be cut down to several thousand if I took the time to go through them all. But it’s quite an historic record of my activities, so I think I’ll keep them there!
5. Integration with your Smartphone/cell phone. To get the most benefit on your Android device, you need to Register with a Gmail/Google account. This has several benefits. Firstly, it’s a continuous backup for your contacts – so no need to worry about transferring them all when you change phones. Register with Google Wallet and you can instantly by app upgrades without too much fuss. It’s great for looking after important documents, photos, music e-books too. In fact, the whole Google experience is a whole book in itself – and not the purpose of this blog post.
There are lots of things which having a Google account can do for you, but eMail is probably the first thing which comes to mind.
There have been reports of Google suddenly closing down accounts without warning. No idea why, but it happens from time to time. I use an email client (Thunderbird) on my pc and all my messages come down to that – as well as on my mobile. It’s a form of backup, so I shouldn’t lose everything if there is a hiccup but it’s also because I work in different ways depending what piece of equipment I’m using.
I’ll be looking at other aspects of email in my next post, but for now, let’s just say that I’m very happy with my 10 Gmail accounts and can’t imagine life without them.
Until next time.