Everybody loves Google (at least that’s what I think), and what if you add all the best Google has into an email account? You’ve got one great email account named Googlemail, or in simple words Gmail. Gmail was first launched on 31 of March, 2004. At its launch Gmail was running in beta mode and you can have account only if you have invitation from existing user. I was invited by a friend and I keep the ball rolling. I got 50 invites when I have my account and I run out of them in very quick succession. These days its free and anyone can have it in quick and easy steps like 1, 2, 3. Gmail was the first in providing 1 GB free space for email, at that time both Hotmail and yahoo were offering 10 MB or so for free accounts. Gmail got some really great features and one should know it all to enjoy Gmail at its best. I will try my level best to explain as much as I can about Gmail from my personal experience and hope that this article will may help you to use Gmail more efficiently.
I have been using Gmail for over 4 years now and I am definitely in love with it. I used to have multiple accounts on Yahoo and Hotmail before I switched from them to Gmail and believe it or not I never went back. Why? Because Gmail got some great features that make me fall in love with it. Few features I loved most are spam, fast, clear and user friendly interface, built-in chat, built-in spell checker and automatic draft saving. Gmail got excellent spam coverage and I hardly get spam email in my inbox. Gmail utilizes AJAX dynamic contents for fast upgrades. I have listed down some features and their usage in detail below.
First let’s have a look at Gmail’s Labels. Labels are used to classify an email. It is kind of subset of folders, that means Labels got everything that web based folder can have, plus it got something special too. You can assign your own defined Labels either manually or by Filters (to see how filter works Click Link3 below). When you have Labels assigned you can see them on left side of Gmail under Gmail’s default links in labels column, and when you click on specific Label, Gmail displays emails those under that Label.
If you ever have experienced with managing emails in folder you knew that email can be in only one folder at a time. So what can you do if you want one email to be placed in two or more folders? Gmail has solution for it, let’s say you have two Labels one is “College mates” and other is “co-workers”, now you got a mail from somebody who is your co-worker as well as your college mate, then you can assign both labels on same email and access that particular email under each of those Labels.
Right now you might not find it very useful and existing, but in long run you will see how this could be helpful, especially if you are dealing with large number of emails.
Filters are one of the coolest and one of my favorite features that Gmail has to offer. If you setup Filters properly, they can provide real ease in email management. Filters help you saving time and space when it comes to unwanted emails in your inbox, and introduce you to multi-functionality of Gmail. For more details on Filters feature click link3 below.
Gmail provides you one greater feature that is chat with your friends using Gmail. Now Google announced that Gmail chat will work with AOL’s chat service AIM. So now Gmail users can login into their AIM accounts via Gmail chat. Gmail chat let u send message even when the contact is offline and those messages will appear in your inbox as a message. You can make yourself online/offline anytime with just single click. Your AIM contacts get an AIM icon in chat window so you can distinguish between Gmail friends and friends from AIM.
I personally love to work with shortcut keys whether I am working on my design job (Photoshop, flash etc) or just doing simple operating system work, I like to do with shortcut keys. No doubt shortcut keys increase efficiency of the user and increase productivity by saving lots of time that you have to spend doing same things manually.
Gmail have that amazing feature of keyboard shortcuts, to make it work first you have to enable it. Click on the Settings link at the top right of the webpage, General tab will open. Look for Keyboard Shortcuts, and then click on the Keyboard Shortcuts on radio button. Now keyboard shortcuts are enabled and you can use them instantly. For more details on keyboard shortcuts clicks here.
Forwarding and POP/IMAP
This option is for those who like to forward their mails from Gmail to another system, like Yahoo or Hotmail or may be even to another Gmail account. To forward your email, find the Forwarding section and click the radio button next to “Forward a copy of incoming mail. To “Make sure to add the email address you want the email be forwarded to”, Then, you have to decide if you’d like to keep a copy in your Gmail system or delete them from Gmail. Once you’ve made your selection, click “Save Changes” and you are done.
If you want to download your Google mails using Outlook or Thunderbird, you need to enable POP. Select either Enable POP for all mail or just Enable POP for all mail from now on. Then, you have to decide if you’d like to keep a copy in your Gmail system or delete them from Gmail. Instructions on how to set up your email client (like Outlook or Thunderbird) can be found in detail by clicking “Configuration instructions” and choosing which email client you have. Once you’ve made your selection, click “Save Changes” and you are done.
The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is one of the most prevalent Internet standard protocols for e-mail retrieval. All modern e-mail clients and mail servers support this protocol as a mean of transferring e-mail messages from a server. To enable an IMAP connection, you need to enable IMAP. Instructions on how to set up your email client (like Outlook or Thunderbird) can be found in detail by clicking “Configuration instructions” and choosing which email client you have. Once you’ve made your selection, click “Save Changes” and you are done.
Web clips are an one-line summary of custom RSS feeds. You can use one or more of the RSS information that Google has in its little directory. You can choose your favorite stuff from available categories on lower left. The available categories are.
What if you want to add you own RSS feeds? Simple write your RSS feed into text box and click Search. Click on “Add” and now, when you go back to your regular Gmail pages, you’ll see along the top the latest news from the site or sites you’ve configured, including my Hubpage.
Gmail labs are a place where you can find very cool little add-ons. Few of them are created by Google engineer(s) and few created on popular demand from Gmail users. These features are experimental; they are here because they aren’t ready for proper release right now. For that reason anyone of that feature can be changed, stop working or simply disappear from lab anytime. If you are using any feature listed here and for some reason it’s not working you might going to face problem loading your inbox. As per Google advice there is an escape hatch that you can see when you go to lab page.
Theme is color scheme. You can choose from any given theme or you can even create you own. Go ahead and try this, its pretty simple and can make Gmail better looking instantly.
That’s all for now, but this is not the end. It’s always a fun to explore new features and stuff Gmail is offering. Keep in touch in near future I going to right some very useful tips and tricks and optimization for Gmail, meanwhile you can check my existing articles. Profile.