Why I use Gmail

Maybe you’ve heard of Gmail, maybe you haven’t. Of course I have an edu email address at my college, but I only use it for “official college business” … communication with administrators and students.

For all other communications, including Listserves, newsletters, and personal communication, I use my Gmail account (which is also free). Why?

Reason #1: The most convincing reason can be seen in the image below. When someone asks a question or posts a topic on a Listserve, I see every response to the original message “stacked” in conversation-style. Rather than getting every email disjointedly separated from the others, new responses to the same topic always come collected with ALL other responses in this thread (including my own sent messages). This is done automatically for every conversation you have via email. I probably can’t convince you just how powerful this feature is, but now that I have it on my Gmail account, my school account drives me nuts.

Reason #2: GMail gives you over 5 GB of storage space. Just to give you an idea of how much space that is, I have a 1 GB thumb drive which holds all of my book files with room to spare.

Reason #3: 20MB attachments. Need to send a camtasia video to someone? Or send it to yourself to pick up at another location? You can’t do large file attachments like this in most email programs.

Reason #4: You can search Gmail with the same speed that you can search the Internet with Google. This eliminates the need for a complicated filing system for your emails. When I want to find an email from John, I just type “John” into my Gmail search and I instantly have ALL communication to and from John that exists anywhere in my Gmail including any emails that have John in the subject line or the text of the email. If I want to find an item from some emailed newsletter that was about audacity, I type “audacity” in the Gmail search and Gmail instantly finds all emails with audacity in the subject line, to line, from line, or text of the email.

Reason #5: Gmail actually effectively filters spam. Enough said.

Reason #6: You can have Gmail pick up all your other email and send responses from the other email address. I haven’t done this with my college email (yet) because we get so much spam at the college.

Reason #7: Did I mention Gmail is free?

UPDATE: After complaining to a friend about our school email this afternoon, I decided to take the plunge and have all my edu email sent to my gmail account because… you can set up the account so that when it receives email sent from an outside address, it replies from that address too. So even though I am using gmail, it will look like the replies and composed emails are sent from my edu address. Now I can only check one email and … bonus… it’s impossible to check our school email easily from a smart phone, but easy to check gmail.

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  1. Dan says:

    Regarding the use of gmail to pick-up and reply to other email accounts — it is a great concept, but….
    I have found that when I send a message in gmail which is “from” a different address (eg. jdoe@other.com) to a user who receives the message in Outlook, their message shows “From: JohnDoe@gmail.com on behalf of John Doe [jdoe@other.com]“. (This is not seen in gmail web viewer). When the addressee replies to this message (outlook or gmail web view), it is addressed to the gmail address, not the desired “other” address.

    I would like to use my personal gmail account to handle my work email, personal email, and a disposable email address I use for junk mail. Picking up email from other addresses works great, but unfortunately sending does not truly work as it appears.

    If anyone has any suggestions to get around this “on behalf” issue, I would love to hear your ideas.

    Dan A

  2. Maria H. Andersen says:

    There IS a solution to this! You’re in luck!

    1) In your gmail account, under settings, Accounts, you first need to add all addresses in the Send mail as… feature.

    2) Also in settings, then Accounts.

    Turn on the feature “When I return a message sent to one of my other addresses… Reply from the same address.”

    That should do the trick. Good luck!

  3. Dan says:

    My addresses and settings were set as you suggest, and I verified the problem within the past hour. Are there any other settings I am missing, or is my gmail account just “flukey”?

  4. Maria H. Andersen says:

    Are you using POP3 pickup? Or forwards? When I was using forwards I think it did the “on behalf of …” thing. Now that I use POP3 pickup, it doesn’t.

    Also, which accounts is it happening on? All? Or just one or two?

  5. Dan says:

    Here is my latest testing. Email was composed in gmail (in FireFox), sent “from” work address “to” junkmail address.

    Gmail is set to “get mail” from junkmail address (no forwarding).
    -received message in gmail web view
    -from work address (ok)
    -to junkmail address (ok)
    -reply results
    -from junkmail (ok)
    -to junkmail (should be work)

    Outlook is set to pick up emails from all addresses, leaving copy on server.
    -received message
    -from gmail on behalf of work
    -to junkmail (ok)
    -reply results
    -from gmail (should be junkmail)
    -to work (ok)

    These results are similar across 2 gmail accounts and 5 home/work email accounts. Any ideas?

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