If you are unhappy with your present e-mail provider, I suggest that you read this article closely. If your present e-mail address is provided by your Internet provider (Verizon, Comcast, Charter, or whomever you pay for cable, DSL, or dial-up service), you will also probably want to read this article. If your present e-mail provider is deleting legitimate e-mail messages in their so-called "spam filters," you will want to read this article. If your present e-mail provider deletes old messages, this article will describe a better service that is designed to store old messages. If your in-box is full and you cannot store any more messages, this article also will be of interest to you.
Gmail is a free mail service provided by Google. Most people who have compared the various free e-mail services (Gmail, Yahoo, MSN Hotmail, AIM Mail, etc.) agree that Gmail outshines all the rest. It offers the best spam filtering service of all, much better than even most of the "for-pay" mail services. For instance, it works much, much better than AOL Mail.
Gmail now offers nearly three gigabytes of free storage, so you'll never need to delete another message. You can also keep messages for years. You can easily read your inbox messages on a desktop, laptop, or handheld computer.
It even works on many cell phones. I like the fact that I do not even have to check my in-box manually on my cell phone. Gmail automatically sends messages to my cell phone where they pop up automatically without any action on my part. I do shut the cell phone off when I go to bed. All messages that are received overnight appear in the morning a minute or two after I turn the cell phone on. All day long, new messages appear on my cell phone automatically. I can read them directly on the cell phone or in the standard method on my desktop or laptop computer. I can read e-mail messages in a web browser or in a normal e-mail program, such as Thunderbird, Eudora or Microsoft Outlook.
Finally, Gmail has a search mechanism that is unmatched on any other mail service, free or not. You can save tens of thousands of e-mail messages in Gmail. When you are looking for a message you received months ago about that genealogy research effort in East Podunk, you can find the message within seconds by using Gmail search, software that is based on Google's search engine.
In short, Gmail is one of the best mail services I have ever seen. It is better than any other free service I know of and even better than most mail services that charge money.
In the past, Gmail has been available only by invitation. That is, the only method of obtaining a Gmail account was to have a present Gmail user send you an invitation to sign up. This was implemented because Google did not want to be overwhelmed with new subscribers; the company wanted to grow the service in a controlled manner. It appears that the service is now ready for everyone. Google recently eliminated the invitation-only sign-up process. Now Gmail is available to everyone; no invitation is required. If you want to use the best free e-mail service, simply go to http://www.gmail.com and sign up.
I suggest that everyone should have two e-mail accounts. The first one should be a private address that you guard closely and only give out to trusted senders (family, friends, etc.). The second address should be a free mail account that you use for everything else. You can use the second address for online purchases, auction sites, posting to newsgroups, responding to advertisements, and other such purposes.
This will limit the amount of junk that inevitably builds up for anyone that uses the same e-mail address for a long period of time. Most of the junk will get sent to the free account instead of your primary "sacred" account.
Once the free account gets overrun with junk, you can simply discontinue using it and sign up for another free account, using a completely new address on the same system. Gmail is a great service to use for either your private or public e-mail address.
Next, you may be "locked in" today by use of an e-mail address provided by your present Internet provider. If you obtain your Internet service from Comcast, you probably have an e-mail address ending in "comcast.net." That's fine for now, but what do you do when you move or perhaps when another Internet provider offers a better service for less money? Moving your e-mail address from your Internet provider's mail servers to another service may be frustrating for you and your correspondents. You don't want to be locked in to a second-rate mail service because of difficulties in informing all your correspondents of a change in e-mail address.
I would suggest that you obtain a second e-mail address right now. This should be an address that you can access from anyplace in the world, not just from your Internet provider. It also should be independent from any Internet provider, an address that you can keep for years or else throw away at any time, regardless of where you obtain your Internet service. You can use any of the free, web-based e-mail providers for that purpose. Next, start informing your correspondents that you are switching e-mail addresses. However, keep checking both your new and old e-mail addresses for six months or even longer, if necessary. Eventually, the in-box at your old address will dry up; everyone will be using your new address. This is an easy and painless method of switching e-mail addresses.
NOTE: Gmail will even pull the messages from your old address and display them in your Gmail in-box so that you can read all your messages in one place. Optionally, you can send all your replies using your new Gmail address. You can even use Gmail's "signature file" option to add a line of text onto the end of every message you send: "Please note my new e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org" or something similar. Eventually, everyone will start using your new address.
To read messages from your old mail service in your new Gmail account:
- Log in to your Gmail account at mail.google.com.
- Click 'Settings' at the top of any Gmail page.
- Open the 'Accounts' tab, and click 'Add another email address.'
- Enter your other email address in the text box, and click 'Next Step.'
- Click 'Send Verification.' An email will be sent to your old account to verify that you entered the correct email address.
- Follow the instructions in the verification email, and start using your Gmail account to manage all of your email addresses. Gmail will even handle three, four, or more other e-mail accounts simultaneously.
Finally, Gmail has the best spam filters that I have seen. No spam filter is perfect; all of them let a few spam messages through and also will delete wanted messages occasionally. However, Gmail's filters make very few mistakes.
Every week I receive several messages from newsletter readers saying, "I didn't receive the newsletter in my in-box." More than 90% of the time, the reason turns out to be the fact that the person's mail provider deleted the newsletter message under the assumption it was spam. I find it interesting that I never receive such messages from Gmail users. It seems that Gmail always allows this newsletter through.
Gmail does place all messages that it recognizes as spam into a "spam folder." You can search this folder for wanted messages, if necessary. However, it is rare that I find a legitimate e-mail message in my spam folder on Gmail.
Gmail has a long list of other features. It automatically detects and removes viruses. It can forward all your Gmail addresses to another address. It can display messages on your cell phone. It can read RSS newsfeeds. Your friends can leave you a voicemail using Google Talk; the voice message is sent to your Gmail account as an audio file that you can download or play right from your inbox. You can read your messages in any web browser or by using a standard e-mail program, such as Eudora, Thunderbird, Outlook, Macintosh Mail, and others.
When viewed in a web browser, Gmail does display small advertising messages on the screen. These are smaller and less obtrusive than the other free web e-mail services. If you use a standard e-mail program to read e-mail, you never see ads from Gmail.
All in all, Gmail is a great service. Even better, it is available free of charge. If you want to either change your e-mail service or add a second address, Gmail is for you.
If you have had problems receiving this newsletter or other e-mail messages that you want to receive, a Gmail account will solve the problem. If all newsletter subscribers used Gmail, the number of "I didn't receive the newsletter" messages that I receive would drop to zero.
To sign up for your free Gmail account right now, go to http://www.gmail.com.