www.gmail.com - Get the Most from Your gmail.com Account
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Tips for your Gmail Account
Google's free to consumers email account is one of the most popular email services today. But many consumers are using only the basic features. Here's a look at some tips that can help you squeeze more from your Gmail account.
Below are some videos from Google on the use of Gmail. The first video highlights four features that they consider to be strengths of gmail: 1) Spam blocking before it gets to your mailbox; 2) grouping of related emails into conversations (also known as threading) to avoid the confusion of simple chronological listings; 3) search capabilities - using their search technologies, you don't have to take as much care to file emails where you can find them, just search and it will be more effective than most email client search functions; and, 4) built in chat client. Sometimes chat is more functional than email since it's real time.
Now some of the features only work when using the web based client. If you are using an offline reader like Mail on a Mac then any threading you choose to do will be handled by the client.
Of course one of the favorite features of Gmail is that they give you what for many people is effectively unlimited storage. Currently it's over 5G of storage, which is huge unless you are storing videos and large photos or files.
IMAP - If you use only one computer, or you only use the web based email at www.gmail.com then you may not have any need for IMAP. Not to go into a lot of detail, but historically email was stored on a POP3 server, which was difficult to synchronize between multiple clients. IMAP is different because the mail is stored on the server (and a copy can be stored on your computer as well). So if you delete an email on one computer, it gets deleted on the other as well. Same holds if you move it to another folder. This is particularly powerful if you are using a mobile device like the iPhone with www.gmail.com as you main mail server. Here's a video that shows how to set your gmail.com account to use IMAP, and to sync it with your iPhone.
Enable IMAP in the Gmail preferences, and then add the Gmail account as an IMAP account.
Gmail on the Android Phone
Outlook Express and Thunderbird
Two of the more popular email clients are Outlook Express and the Thunderbird client that is part of the Mozilla (FIrefox) suite. Here's an overview of how to set those clients up to use IMAP.
Now you can use IMAP and an offline client like Mail for the Mac but if you want to keep the web browser client look that you may be accustomed to, then a relatively recent addition is the use of Google Gears. This downloads some files that reside on the computer and keeps them from continually being fetched from the web server. Originally designed to help speed web based clients, Google is now making it possible to fetch your mail information and work offline without connecting to www.gmail.com The process is described in this video.
This discussion focused on individual use of Gmail. Of course they are making a push into the corporate space and have a paid version available to buy, but we don't attempt to cover that here.
Finally, you can get all the up-to-date information of the changes and improvements being made at www.gmail.com by tracking their blog entries.