Emma’s Tech Tip – Gmail

You may have heard about a little company named Google. If you’re thinking, oh yeah I know them. They’re the guys that make that search engine, right? Then you get a C- for your answer. It turns out, that Google does a whole lot more than just search. Sure, their lightning fast search engine got them on the map and created enviable brand recognition, but to say all Google does is “search” is profoundly inadequate. Google creates a host of freely available software and web-based applications. Why should you care? Because sooner or later you will be using them anyway. That’s right! You heard it here first. Google is taking over. Just like you use Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, Outlook etc. and don’t know why you chose those applications in the first place, Google is creeping-up on you unsuspectingly in a similar fashion. While today you use their search tool, Google is working diligently to build applications that will make you forget you ever relied on Microsoft for anything other than their OS. Why? Because the applications they are developing are MS Office compatible, web-based, and free. That’s the holy-trinity right there. As the capabilities of the internet expand, and the literacy of its users mature, the needs of computer users have changed. Working and storing your information online is an important feature for many moblie web users and Google has positioned itself to be the company many rely on to deliver such services.

Here is a short list of some of the benefits to using Gmail:

1) Setting up an account is free
2) You can receive emails from multiple sites all in your GMail account.
3) You can access your email remotely from any web connected computer with a browser.
4) You are given 4.5 gigs of space for your account and can ask for more if needed.
5) You can “Google search” your email which means you don’t have to delete or organize anything (in fact they discourage it). Use the power of search to locate emails instantly.
6) Emails in your inbox are presented in what they refer to as “conversations”. That is, all the messages that are in a particular thread are automatically grouped together. So if you send a message, get a response, reply to that response, and get another response, a single line item appears in your inbox with a count of “4”. You can expand and review the whole history of that thread instantly. No more sending copies of email to yourself and then struggling to find them later.
7) Because Google has so many users and has such tremendous search capabilities, SPAM is squelched big time. I use to get at least 4 spam emails a day. After switching to this solution my inbox has been quite lonely because Google can detect spam quite efficiently.
8) GMail can be configured to send email as though it is coming from a different email address. This is called spoofing. A term that has earned a negative reputation over the years. Of course their is good spoofing and bad spoofing. You will be employing the former. Spoofing in this case allows you to sent email from an existing account so that you don’t have to disseminate your new email address information. So say all your friends, family, and business contacts have your Comcast email address and you would rather not tell everyone to update their address books with your new Gmail address (especially not while you are trying this thing out). Gmail can be easily configured to send email from your Comcast address so that from the recipients perspective, your email address has not changed. Spoofing can be done with any email program but I would suspect that most computer users don’t know that.

Anyway, there are a ton of other things that GMail can do for you, I’ve only scratched the surface. But that list should be enough to get you salivating. Do yourself a favor and check out: http://mail.google.com.

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