I use Google’s Gmail because I think it is better than any email system I have ever used. Gmail is not perfect and it works differently in many ways from most other email systems but the benefits continue to provide additional value to me. I’ve already made my argument for using an Internet based email in a previous post: “cut the strings”.
I have used Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail, email.com (now out of business), and Lotus Notes systems. As a matter of fact I considered myself a Microsoft Outlook die hard. When I started using Gmail I was a little reluctant at first but have come to really appreciate the additional benefits. Gmail thinks of email very differently. For example, all other email systems put email in an “in-box”. Gmail uses an “in-box” label along with other labels (the star label, custom named labels, draft label, trash label, etc.).
Gmail increases my productivity. With one sign-on I have access to a myriad of additional functions, and systems run by Google. I would use these systems anyway and I easy to access within each other’s programs.
- World wide access. Because Gmail is Internet based, I can access it from anywhere in the world. I can also sign on from any smartphone, tablet, notebook, or personal computer. I can pretty much access from almost any device with an Internet connection.
- My email content is better organized.
- Google labs. Google labs are additional features and functions that are not standard but complement Gmail. You have control if you want each of these labs turned on or off. Some of my favorite labs include:
- Google maps preview in mail. This lab finds any text that looks like an address in your email and provides a small window map at the bottom of the message.
- Google voice player. An additional system you can sign up for is Google Voice. If you receive a message with your Google Voice account, you can play it from within the your email notification (without having to open your Google Voice account).
- Inbox preview. While Google launches your Gmail it displays a preview list of your email on the screen that is otherwise blank.
- Send & Archive. After composing a reply or forwarded email, this additional button at the top of the message not only sends your email but also automatically removes the in-box label. A small time saver but a time saver.
- Undo Send. I don’t know why this isn’t a standard part of Gmail yet, but this lab lets you undo an email after you hit send. I can’t tell you how much clarity I get about an email I just after I hit send. You can adjust the delayed send time from 5 to 30 seconds after enabling this lab.
- With your Gmail account, you have automatic access to a variety of additional Google systems if you choose to use them. Google Calendar account is automatically created with your Gmail account. Did I mention that like Gmail these are also free. Some of my favorite Google systems include:
- Google Chat is a instant message system embedded in Gmail. Google Talk is a separate application that mostly increases functions available in Google Chat.
- Google Docs is an office publication suite. Included is a word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, and forms (which is a survey program). All these are organized in “collections” which is like an on-line file manager.
- Google Voice is a phone number that is assigned to you. People can call your Google Voice number to reach you. It can replace your home, office, and cell phone number because you can control where the phone rings. It also is a voice messaging system with advanced features like custom answering machine to contacts that you select.
- iGoogle is a personalized custom search engine that can deliver your custom content to your search screen. Many of the other Google systems can be displayed in your iGoogle page in a small window. This is designed for at-a-glance views of the information most interesting to you.
- There are several other systems available. Google plus is coming and is supposed to be a social network/Facebook killer. Google history is another system that can help you find previous Google searches
If you are looking for ways to become more productive on-line and are not already using Gmail, why not give it a try. If you have trouble or questions, let me know. If you already have everything you need on-line, you probably haven’t made it to this paragraph.
If you are not using Gmail, what is it that you like about your current email provider? If you already use Gmail or any of the other Google system, what is your favorite feature of function?