Gmail, Google’s free web-based email service, is perhaps one of the most advanced email services available today. In addition to offering over 2.6 Gigabytes of storage (and growing), Gmail includes some handy unique features that make online communication fast, easy, and convenient.
With typical email services, organizing your email means creating folders and putting messages in them. The trouble with this system is that it allows you to file each email in only one folder.
Gmail’s label system, on the other hand, allows you to organize your email according to descriptors. You create your own descriptive labels and apply as many of them as you like to each message. So, for example, if you received an email from your friend Susan about places to visit in Europe, you might create one label for “Susan”, another label for “vacations”, and apply them both to the message. You could then later find the message by visiting either of the labels.
Gmail’s “starring” system is essentially a preset label that allows you to mark important messages with a star. Stars can be applied while your reading a message or from the inbox view. One a message is starred, it can later be easily retrieved by visiting the “starred” category.
If you have friends with Gmail accounts, their status will be displayed in your contacts list showing you whether or not they’re online. And if they are, you can click on their name and chat with them directly from within your web browser. No longer is there any need to download instant messaging software. Gmail will even save your chat sessions in your email account so you can go back and read them later.
4) Gmail Notifier
Gmail Notifier is a small piece of free software that alerts you whenever you receive a new email message by displaying an icon in your system tray. If you’re a Firefox user, there’s also a browser-based Gmail Notifier Add-on alternative to Google’s application.
5) Send mail as…
As the name implies, the “send mail as” feature allows you to send messages from your Gmail account using other email addresses. For example, if you have a hotmail address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, you can send mail from your Gmail account but have it appear as though you sent it from your hotmail address.
6) Get mail from other accounts
As long as your email accounts support POP, you can use Gmail to fetch and read email from up to five other email accounts using Mail Fetcher.
Tip: Combine Mail Fetcher with the “send mail as” feature and you can manage all your email accounts from one location.
Tip: If your other email accounts don’t support POP, or if you have more than 5 other accounts, you can still manage all your email accounts entirely from within Gmail. Here’s how it’s done. Simply set up each of your other email accounts to forward your messages to your Gmail address. And you can still use the “send mail as” feature to appear to send your messages from the other addresses.
If you’re a Twitterer, Gmail makes it easy to do your daily twittering. You can add Twitter as a Gmail contact. Twitter will appear “online” in your contact list. You can then send instant messages from within Gmail to Twitter and have your messages automatically posted to your Twitter page. You can even set up Twitter to remind you via Gmail chat at an interval you specify to post to your Twitter page.
Gmail is indeed one of the most advanced email services available today. A Gmail account allows you to easily conduct, manage, organize, and find all of your online communication from a single location. And of course, as with almost everything “Google,” it’s free.