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What's So Great About Gmail?

Features and Benefits of Gmail

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 2.5 Star Rating (10 Reviews)

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What's So Great About Gmail?

Space, Space, and More Space.

Gmail gives each user more than 2 gigs of storage space. That's a lot of space and more than most other web based email services. In fact, some third party software developers have created ways to use Gmail's storage for more than storing email and chat messages. The average user will never have to delete old messages to make room for new.

Free POP and IMAP

POP is the Internet protocol that most desktop mail readers use to retrieve mail messages. That means you can use programs like Outlook or Apple Mail to check your Gmail account.Similar mail services from Google competitors either charge for POP access or do not offer it.

Google also provides free IMAP access. IMAP is the preferred protocol for people who use more than one computer or device to check their email.

Search

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You can search through saved email and Talk transcripts with Google as if you were searching for web pages. Google automatically skips searching through spam and trash folders, so you have results that are more likely to be relevant.

Gmail Labs and To-Do Lists

Gmail introduces experimental add-ons and features through Gmail Labs. This lets you decide which features you'd like to use while they're still being developed.
How to Turn on Gmail Labs Features

Part of those Gmail Labs features is a to-do list. This is a feature that was sorely needed for users who want to replace their traditional email account with Gmail.
How to Create a Gmail To-Do List

Offline Access


If you download Google Gears, a browser extension, you can access your Gmail account from your browser window even when your computer is not connected. New messages will be received and sent when your computer is connected again.
Lean More About Google Gears

Other Features

You can check your Gmail through your mobile phone, or you can get notifications of new messages on your desktop. You can set up filters and labels to organize your mail. You can archive your mail for easier searches. You can subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds and receive feed summaries as if they were mail messages, and you can flag special messages with a gold star.

What's Not to Love?

Gmail has exploded in popularity, which means that there are occasional server slow downs and down times. Although Gmail lets you keep your mail archived on their server, don't count on it being the only backup for important data, just as you wouldn't leave important data on only one hard drive.

The Bottom Line

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Gmail is one of the best, if not the best free email service out there. It is good enough that many users rely on their Gmail account as a primary email address. Gmail offers an amazing amount of options and features and the ads are barely noticeable compared to the intrusion of ads in some other free services. If you don't have a Gmail account, it is time to get one.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
Select All, Member thedogzoo

My biggest suggestion for Gmail is to add a 'Select All' tab to their Gmail toolbar so when you have a bunch of email you want to delete you dont have to click on each email to checkmark it. I'd be able to keep my email box a lot cleaner if that an option in the toolbar. My Spam box is terrible. I see stuff in there that makes me wonder how they got my email address when I've never done any business with them or visited their sites!

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