Gmail

Gmail is an effective tool that helps us keep in touch with the world

Oh, Gmail, I still remember when I first heard of you. I was still a young lad at the time, but I remember hoping for an invitation to join the service. It seemed like it was an invitation-only beta, or not open to the public, for such a long time. As I waited for my invitation to get an account, I watched numbers scroll upwards on a little ticker as Google made a point that it offered much more storage than Yahoo! and Hotmail, its biggest email competitors at the time.

The happy day finally did arrive. I got an invitation and opened up my Gmail account. Since then, I haven't really used any other email services. Gmail gets the job done for me, plus some. But what is it that makes Google's email service so great, and why should you use it? The following are just some of the reasons I use Gmail. I think you'll think a lot of the following things are pretty cool, too.

Plenty of storage

Like I mentioned earlier, Google has made it a point to include plenty of storage since Gmail's inception. You now have 15 free GB for email storage available for your enjoyment. That should last most of us a long while, especially if we manage it well.

Different tabs and sorting options

Gmail tabs

Speaking of managing emails, Google has given us plenty of options to help us do so.

For starters, we have different tabs at our disposal. Gmail uses tabs to automatically sort different types of emails. Primary (emails typically considered more important and person-to-person conversations), Social (where emails from social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook usually go) and Promotions (emails from retailers and some marketers) are the tabs that are enabled by default. You can also enable additional tabs, or you can just choose to get rid of tabs altogether and just have all your emails go to your inbox.

You can also manually sort messages into different labels that you can create yourself.

Gmail important and starred messages

Messages can also be marked as important with that tag you see above (the yellow one next to the one that says Phil and I are the participants in the conversation). Google's algorithms make it think that that message is important. You can manually mark messages as important by starring them. To star a message, just select the star icon you'll see next to or inside a message.

Threaded messages

Gmail threaded messages

I used a different email service before I got my first Gmail account. After I got my invite, I seem to remember being particularly impressed that Google's service had all the emails in a conversation grouped together, or in a "thread." Most smartphones have "threaded" messaging today. While it may not be such a big deal because threaded messaging is so commonplace now, it was certainly a big step in the right direction in Gmail's early days.

Solid app

The app does a good job at helping you take advantage of all the features listed above. It's also just pretty easy to use, plus I love being able to have the power of my inbox at my fingertips at all times. If you want to search for a specific email, just begin to type keywords into the search area (where the magnifying glass icon is). It'll comb through your mailbox. The Gmail app is just a seriously powerful tool.

Cool themes

Gmail themes

One feature not seen on the app is themes, or the ability to set a background and colors. I've been using a space theme for quite a while now, and it's great. The images can rotate. My theme rotates between the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, plus more.

You can also create your own themes and share them with other people. The ability to share themes started off as an April Fool's Day prank, but soon became a standard Gmail feature.

Chat, Google Hangouts, Google Drive integration

You can chat (instant message-style) with your friends from your inbox. You can also video chat with them through Google Hangouts. It's pretty convenient to have that right there while you're looking at your emails.

You can also insert files in emails using Google Drive. Maybe you've already been working on something in Google Docs anyway. This way, you wouldn't have to save it to your computer and email it as an attachment; sending it from Google Drive would be a more direct way of taking care of business. Using Google Drive is also a good way to bypass Gmail's 25 MB upload limit for attachments.

What do you think?

What do you all think? What do you all like about using Gmail? What could be done to improve the service? Let us know in the comments section!

 

Reader comments

Why you should use Gmail

144 Comments

I have had a Yahoo account since 1999, and it is full of spam, thousands of spam, I have literally harvested spam for a generation and it is still there.

I'm thinking of opening up my Yahoo mail account for the history museum of spam from 1999-present

I hardly get any spam on my Yahoo account, and it's what I use for most things I sign up to. Looking back I got one spam message on the 22nd and another on the 13th. I didn't bother looking back much further, but that's less than one spam message a week.

I only really use my Google account for signing into my Android devices.

Posted via Android Central App

I do not use it. Using my Outlook email address as my Google account. No mail for me. App disabled.

Posted via my Xperia

"Threaded messages" - Dear Google, please, please, PLEASE make this preference follow my web view (e.g., OFF!). Threaded messages mean if you want to dump all the back-and-forth minutia from your phone, you dump THE WHOLE THREAD. Please stop forcing this on me. It is really the only annoying thing about mobile GMail.

Posted from my XT1080M

I missed (aka failed to notice and read) a few important messages because of threaded mode that you can't turn off. If you get a few messages since last read, Google collapses them in order that is chronological which is opposite of how most people reply. Maybe it's just me and too much exposure to MS Outlook at work, but I'd like to be able to turn threads on or off.

Dragan

Posted via Android Central App

No, you missed messages because you weren't paying attention. There's a difference.

Posted via Android Central App

There's also a difference between missing a message because you wasn't paying attention, and missing it because a 'feature' concealed that message.

I love Gmail, but I too have noticed that the threading seems to make it difficult sometimes to see previous messages in a thread - or even sometimes notice that you've had a reply and missed it because the threading has hidden it.

It shouldn't be my job to make extra effort to look for messages that the threading might have hidden - it's Gmail's job to bring them to MY attention.

Sorry, but I just had to point that out - your glib response was making excuses for Gmail on this point.

Never since I've been using Gmail Mobile has the threading collapsed an unread message.
Even while you are reading the thread it would show you a yellow sign that new messages arrived on such a thread.
There must be something really wrong with the way you are sorting out your important/not important labels.
If you have a really compulsive email sender in a thread that throws tidbits of useful data, you may need to create a rule to star him always. In that case NO message of him will get collapsed.

I don't have any customization or rules set on my gmail accounts as I am reading them on many different mail clients, some not supporting gmail labels.

While we are opening a can of worms, I also dislike that gmail ignores non-alpha characters in gmail addresses : john. smith == johnsmith == john_smith etc. That really surprised me when I started using gmail (in last century) as no other email provider was doing that.

That being said, I have about 10 gmail accounts and really like (most of) its features.

Dragan

Posted via Android Central App

That is completely false. This happens all the time. If an email with more than 2 people has one response to you alone, and one to the entire group, the responses are hopelessly buried. Tried to use Gmail for business and stopped after missing emails from clients. I don't care if you use it, but I and many others won't. Leave this an option to be turned OFF.

LOL, that's a ridiculous statement. He should be focussing on his phone, waiting for mail? I thought it was meant to be the other way round.

Gmail hides/loses so many mails I stopped using the mobile client ages ago. CloudMagic or Mailbox do a far better job.

These differences in the way we use e-mail is why they should give us a CHOICE, which is what I said. I can turn it off on my web view, why not mobile?

Posted from my XT1080M

I have threaded messages. Why can't we have a choice? I use Thunderbird for desktop w/O threads.

After having several email addys I now just use Gmail exclusively. The only gripe I have with the mobile app is that you can't empty the trash! Why is something so simple left out?????

Posted via Android Central App

Click the 3 dots on the top right while you're in your trash folder. EMPTY TRASH

Posted via Android Central App

I don't have the three dots on my screen..... however, I can go to trash folder and click the menu button to bring up "empty trash" option.

I only wish sliding would work in non-tabbed views! If you Archive by default but try to slide from the All Mail or search views, it always deletes instead :-(

Posted via the Android Central App

While in Gmail mobile.. and are in the trash folder, tap your phones menu button and you'll get a "empty trash" pop up to select. (OS 4.4.2) Gmail v4.9 (1271612)

Posted via Android Central App

You need to go to Settings (gear icon on top right, on your desktop Gmail view), click on Settings, choose Accounts and Import tab, and then, under Import Mail and Contacts, set up the source email systems with proper credentials to be able to retrieve your emails into Gmail. I have it set up for my Yahoo mail. There are other options in there as well - feel free to play around with those as well. Hope this helps.

wudnt mind using it except on my moto x, keeps having sync issues....reinstall , clear catch, all that crap never works....but on my iPad works fine...shame on u google...can't even get ur own app to work on KitKat

Posted via the Android Central App

well kiss my grits!!! gonna un-disable it again and see what happens....last time it lasted 3 weeks and then started doing the old cannot connect crap...hope it works this time.

Posted via the Android Central App

I have a Gmail account but I rather use Outlook. Matter of preference really, nothing against Gmail.

I'm completely the opposite!!! Use msn for anything I know will produce spam and marketing emails, and anything I know will be annoying. I use Gmail for personal friends, family, and anything I think is important. lol!!

All email service providers keep tabs on you. :) google isnt special...

Posted via Android Central App

technically I guess I do too, dont know the email address for it though, never have logged on to it either...

After too many years on email service, brand Y, I moved everything over to Gmail. Haven't looked back. It works so well with my phone, tablet, and my Pebble and Gear 2 watches.

I migrated all my mail from Crapcast to Gmail about a year ago, and love every minute of it. Two reasons primarily: If I ever ditched Crapcast, which let's face it, who wouldn't love to if there were other viable choices, I would lose all communication instantly. And Gmail makes managing email much easier across devices and platforms than Crapcast. That and I really hate Crapcast!

Y mail and Crapcast are just backup/spam accounts. Gmail FTW!!!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk ATT

I have been using Gmail since February of 2007 and have been satisfied by the great email service Google provides. From that time on Gmail has become my primary email account and over the years the service has just improved and got better.

Great, another Google commercial by AC. :-(

Better to do an (another) in-depth comparison between the major email services; and even add in some of the lesser knowns.

Let Google advertise on its own...

Posted via Android Central App

its called Android Central for a reason...

if they didn't talk about things google offered, then it would probably be a pretty shitty site.

Glad someone here said it. Every article doesn't have to be about some new phone or watch. It's services like gmail from Google that make Android as great as it is in my opinion.

Posted via Android Central App

Good point. Mobile Nations has to look at this generally. Windows Phone Central has also put out pieces that could be viewed as advertisements.

I would use gmail if the web interface weren't a nightmare. Hate the web interface. I use a Mac based IMAP client and pull mail from gmail and a commercial paid email service. The gmail service itself is fine, its just the UI that I don't like. I use the contacts and calender and they work great. Calendar interface is fine, always update contacts either from my Mac or my Android phone.

I don't use gmail because it doesn't have the option of selecting multiple messages for deletion.

Posted via Android Central App

How do you select multiple messages as a group in the gmail mobile app? I have had to painfully select each message one by one.

Posted via Android Central App

The OPS missed the high level of integration it provides with Google Now and Google Calendar.

Posted via Android Central App

agreed, its so nice to receive an email about something being scheduled (such as a conference call at work or a friends birthday party) and have it automatically add the time and date into my calendar

then anytime i get an email with a tracking number, all i have to do is open up google now and i can check the status of my package!

even if everything else about gmail was shit (which its not) these two things would cause me to still use it as my primary.

Gmail has the best spam filtering that I've seen. Yahoo lets EVERYTHING through, even if you've gone out of your way to label it spam.

I want better (decent) filters and inbuilt email snoozing. The first company that does snooze and Gmail compatible (labels etc) is the one I'll be using.

I use Gmail, but it could be better. No native unread counts, no quick message option, and no way to incorporate my aol & vzn emails into the Gmail app. Maybe they'll improve it...in a galaxy far, far away.

These two mentioned are the sole reason I don't use Gmail and use Outlook as my main account.....Folders and the ability to sort by sender.!

You have to ask yourself why you want to sort by sender. When I used Outlook, the only reason I did this was to find a message when the only thing I knew about the message was who sent it. In Gmail, you just type from:Joe in search and it will show you everything from Joe and exclude everything else. No need to enforce alphabetization to facilitate scrolling through a list; simply ask for what you want.

This is the fundamental philosophy of Gmail that I think escapes Outlook users. Outlook is like a grocery store that is well organized and also one you have been going to for years, so you know where everything is. This makes it really easy to take your list of groceries and make your way through the store.

Gmail is a completely different kind of grocery store. You don't go in it, you simply hand your list to the clerk (search box) and it goes and gets your groceries. If you ignore the clerk, and try to find your way around the store, you will have a hard time.

If you are not practicing Inbox Zero (or near zero), conversations, labels, archiving, and search will make little sense to you. Gmail is designed to facilitate Inbox Zero. I practice Inbox Zero, so being able to sort by sender makes no sense to me because there is nothing to sort. When I want to see all the messages from a person, I just ask the clerk for all the messages from that person and I get them. Same thing for if I want to see all the messages with a particular subject string. Outlook tricks you into equating visibility with accessibility. With Gmail, I don't need to see messages to know they are accessible to me. The same way I don't need to see a list of every webpage to trust a Google web search.

Now there are plenty of reasons to use Outlook, but I don't think it's ability to manage e-mail is actually one of them.

No 'Mark all as read' in the Gmail app is seriously annoying. Especially when all the other more manual methods are unavailable too, e.g. can't 'select all unread', can't manually select messages and then 'mark as read', etc.

I use GMail because it provided (and still provides) POP3 access. I don't care much for webmail, because I prefer using a mail client. On my Sony Android phone, I access it with the email app (not GMail App) cause it supports S/MIME signatures and encryption.

I love the Gmail app but it would be perfect for me if there was a button to select multiple emails at once to delete without having to click each email individually.

Posted via Android Central App

well instead of tapping something to select each email, you just swipe each email you want to delete... pretty much the same action, equally as quick.

I always disable the Gmail app and use CloudMagic since I have 3 other email account from yahoo, apple, and Microsoft. Really like the app but it needs printing support

Posted via Android Central App on 1+1

I always disable the Gmail app and use CloudMagic since I have 3 other email account from yahoo, apple, and Microsoft. Really like the app but it needs printing support

Posted via Android Central App on 1+1

First thing I do with every Android device is root and junk all the bloatware and 'Google bloatware" (IE Gmail, Movies, Books, ETC..) I have had my own domain and email since my first computer and I have no use for adware.. This article does make a lovely advertisement though...

It's about the same as any other email to me. Only reason I use this over my older hotmail account is because I use android.

One thing I despise is gmail is the only email app on android that won't let you turn off conversation view which I think is worthless and inconsistent with their desktop client. Google is never consistent across platforms and products though.

Love Gmail, but recently wished it would do something that apparently it can't on Android..... send an email to an entire contact group.
I coach soccer and loaded all the parents into a Google Contact Group. When I have to cancel a practice or send out a group communication from my phone, this feature would be a huge time saver.

Posted via Android Central App

Other than integration with other Google services, everything you say is an advantage of Gmail is available in other mail services. Gmail works fine, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of email, and head and shoulders above anything else. It's a good email service, no more, no less.

And the Android client is missing one key feature that makes it nearly useless for business. It doesn't know what to do with Outlook meeting invites. It just simply ignores them. Being able to add a meeting invitation to your calendar is a basic requirement for business email, and Gmail on Android completely fails. In fact, I think there's no ability to integrate with Outlook email at all. Gmail is not business-ready in the slightest.

I want to love gmail unconditionally, but have to go through Outlook to be sure the formatting is right for business correspondence. Fonts change, sizes change, layout and formatting are unreliable in the body of the message. There are endless rants in Google boards about this. Nothing is perfect, but if this were fixed I could step away from Outlook and never look back.

Posted via Android Central App

Would be awesome if Gmail worked with my phones air view and air browse. That said I only use Gmail. My first email was through AOL then went to Gmail and don't plan on switching.

Posted via Android Central App on GS5

Gmail is ok but aol mail way better then anything out there. Glad im still paying my 9.99 a month for it.

Posted via Android Central App

Gmail is nice and solid but I think Hotmail is pretty good too.
The feature I absolutely LOVE in Hotmail is the Sweep. I know you can define some filters which would mimic that in Gmail but not easy and not as smooth.
Junk filter is better in Gmail but Hotmail one is pretty powerful too.

My 2c

Posted via the Android Central App

I love the way it marks messages important and puts them in priority inbox EXCEPT when I miss a message because it wasn't in my priority inbox

I use Outlook. Personal preference, I just like the service more, Google got me upset when they tried forcing everyone over to Google+. Sure there are security concerns with both providers, but honestly I'm not interesting enough for my email to be watched.

I used to use Gmail, but I now use outlook. I find it far better than what Gmail ever was. I don't think I'll ever go back to Gmail after using Outlook.

Brought to you by the Samsung Galaxy S5

I have also used Gmail since it was invitation only. I actually received an invite from a friend of mine, and invited three of my other friends. I love gmail's great organization tools. Every email I receive is categorized which makes finding the specific email you are looking for much easier. The app is amazing it has come a long way since the Android 2.1 days.

Gmail paired with 1tb of storage on Google Drive makes for a very powerful communication tool.

Posted via Android Central App on the Moto X

Like others here, I use Outlook as my primary email address and only use gmail for my google services. I much prefer the Outlook web interface over gmail. Looks much, much cleaner. Plus, I got into the gmail/android game only about 3 years ago and couldn't get the gmail email address I wanted, but was able to with Outlook since I signed up right when it went into beta. Kinda petty, I know, but I'd much rather give out an email address I actually like.

Outlook is infinitely more customizable. And has no crapware bloat (Google -) being shoved at me. And I can sort by sender, subject or date, important to me.

Posted via the Android Central App

i use tasks a lot, synced with phone and displayed as a widget. very comfy to edit them via desktop browser or via mobile. they do need an overhaul but tasks are excellent addon to gmail.

Posted via the Android Central App

I wish that Google would add the create new labels feature for the Gmail app for Android. Besides that I love Gmail

Posted via the Android Central App

Before I got I'm invite to Gmail a long time ago I was using yahoo the spam was ridiculous I starting using Gmail as primary and spam is nearly nonexistent.

Posted via the Android Central App

I just love how people think nothing ever changes. Yahoo had tons of spam "a long time ago" so I "know" it has lots of spam today.

I use a Yahoo account for commercial sites where I'm forced to register, and don't want to use my primary account. Yahoo is absolutely as good as Gmail in terms of fighting spam.

Could you make a post like this but tailored to business use? I have been and will continue to try to convince my company to go Google Apps.

Sorry, but unless your business exists in a vacuum, and never interacts with other businesses, Google Apps sucks for business use. It handles calendar invitations from Outlook (which is what 99% of your partners will use) poorly, and while it handles basic word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations adequately, its apps can't handle complex Word, Excel or Powerpoint files.

As much as I hate to give Microsoft credit for doing something right, their Office 365 subscription service for small businesses is a much better option.

I know where you're coming from regarding the security concern. Unfortunately, I think it's a problem across the board with free services. People don't want to pay for anything on the Internet. What they don't seem to understand is that their data serves as currency instead of real dollars.

Outlook is as good as Gmail. All it comes down to is which company are you supporting. I use a Windows Phone, therefore Outlook is a natural choice. If you use an Android device, Gmail is a natural choice.

When was you account created? Mine was created 02/09/05. Pretty cool, I would do something for my upcoming 10 year anniversary with Gmail.

You can check you creation date in the settings. The following link will show you how

Not sure how AOL does it, but yes, Gmail can notify you on your phone and on your desktop when you get new email.

I use CloudMagic now since the Gmail app delays pushing emails to all my devices for some reason.

Sent from my Nexus 5 via the Android Central App

Gmail is great, I have been using it for years. Why can't Google improve the hangouts app, it can't be used if the other person doesn't use it.

Posted via Android Central App

I slowly moved away from Gmail and Google Drive over time. I find Outlook's web UI cleaner, Onedrive integration with my PC helpful, and web-based version of Office really stands out.

Posted via Android Central App on BlackBerry Z30

The one thing I can't stand about Gmail is how it groups emails together...for instance when I send a MailChimp email out and get responses, each response should be a different Thread, not bundled up all together...

This is how I've lost messages...

I've been using Gmail ever since I've been using Android, and that's been since Android was first announced. It does everything zip want, and it's easy to use. I think where they could improve it is by allowing users to setup multiple email providers. For the last couple of weeks I've been looking for a different email app, one that will allow me to setup a Gmail account, a Google Apps account, and a Hotmail account, but I haven't been successful in doing so. I've found plenty of apps that provide this, but most of them have some features I can't figure out which makes the app useless to me.

For example, I love the Sol Calendar, which I've very been using, but their email app, which works well, has a couple of features that I don't like or can't figure out how to stop it. For example, whenever I send an email, the notifications always show I have an unread email, but it's the email I just sent, which is sitting in my Sent folder unread. If Gmail added functionality for multiple email accounts, it would be much easier to be able to check my emails all at the same time.

Posted from my Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

I just wish I could turn off threaded messages on my phone. I would rather be able to treat each email separately like I can on my PC. I don't know Google can't give us this option like it does on the PC version of Gmail.

You can make Gmail fetch email from non-Gmail accounts under Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Check mail from other accounts (using POP3):