Not everybody likes Gmail. We get that. But if you hadn’t previously considered switching over to one of the biggest giants in the tech world, have a read of the points below and see if your current email client lives up to what Google can offer.
Free of Charge
Who doesn’t love things that are free? Though there are a lot of email clients out there that are free of charge, this reason is just the tip of the iceberg with Gmail. Not having to worry about signing up and getting slapped with a bill 6 months down the line is just one of the ways Google says you time, money and stress. Though it should be noted that this excludes business accounts and personal domain emails.
One of the elements of Gmail that has saved me a boat load of time is its advanced search feature. There is a simple search bar that allowing you to look for email by subject, content and who sent it – great for when you are looking for something in a rush. But when you really need to find that specific email in your collection of thousands, Google allows you to search all of your labels, groups and circles for things such as “has attachments”, “does not contain”, the size of the email and date search.
If you’re anything like me, you’re slightly (only very slightly) disorganised. But don’t worry! Help has arrived in the form of Gmail labels. Google allows you to label every email you receive with whatever labels are relevant. You can create your own or use the ones that are built in. There is also the ability to colour code your labels – for example, emails that fall under my “personal” bracket are labelled in green. Therefore, when I’ve read the email and go back at a later date I can quickly scroll through and detect the colour green so I know it’s a personal email. There is also the ability to assign multiple labels to an email, allowing you to view all emails in a particular group by using the navigation on the left hand side.
Not too much of a worry for myself, but if you deal a lot with attachments or you email like there is no tomorrow, this will probably be a big positive for you. Right now I have used 2.97gb of 15gb total. I try to clean up my emails regularly but even when I don’t, I have no worry of hitting the threshold due to it being so high! Google have also recently slashed their prices for storage space on Drive. A whole 1TB has jumped from $49.99 a month to $9.99. Google has said the new 1TB tier will allow you to "to take a selfie twice a day for the next 200 years and still have room left over."
This one is for the creative mind, or just people who likes to make things pretty! Themes allow you to customise Gmail to your liking. Simply access from the settings button at the top right, and you’re able to choose from a selection of colour schemes, photo themes and classics.
One Account All of Google
It took me a while to get used to this feature of Gmail. Once you’ve signed up for a Google Mail account you seem to appear signed in everywhere; YouTube, Analytics, Google+. You name it and the chances are you will be there. But as time went on I found this to be an incredibly powerful time saver. I no longer have to remember passwords for different sites and apps. Since everything for me is tied in through Chrome, I just open up what I want to see and away I go. I would definitely consider moving over for this reason alone.
Have up to 5 Email Addresses
A fantastic addition to the Gmail platform is that you can use Google Mail and all of its features for you own email or business (firstname.lastname@example.org) – meaning you can use everything on offer and still have your own email address. This ability starts at $5.00 per month, per user and you get access to all of Google’s apps for your business.
Web Based Platform
Having Gmail as a web based platform is perfect for those who travel a lot or who don’t always have access to their own laptop or computer. Programs such as Outlook are stored on your computer meaning emails are stored locally as opposed to online. This can take up a lot of space and slow your PC down. As Gmail is web based you are able to access your email account no matter where you are (providing you have an internet connection).
If you're already using Google Analytics, you may be interested in finding out how you can track asynchronous website events with the new Google Universal Analytics.
Strong Spam Filter
Google’s spam filter is one of the best that I have come across. If you are trying to escape the claws of spam emails, try Gmail. You can flag spam emails and Google’s intelligence makes sure that you will never see another like that again.
Forgotten Attachment Detector
Everyone has come across this at one point or another. Sending an email and saying “I’ve attached…” and never attaching it; only to send another straight after saying “Oops!”. Gmail picks up on this phrase in your email and alerts you if you say “I’ve attached” without actually attaching anything. A lifesaver for me!
This point sort of falls in line with the labelling one earlier in the article, but I thought I’d touch on it anyway. My Gmail is split into the four default tabs of “primary”, “social”, “promotion” and “updates”. I know that if I get a new email in either primary or updates, I should check it relatively soon. Social and promotion can be left for a later date. Another time saving tactic from Google means it is great for splitting emails in to what you need to see and prioritising them in the order of when you need to see them.
Your email conversations are no longer sprawled through your inbox over a period of days or weeks as Gmail threads all emails with the same subject title into one, easy to read, conversation format. This definitely helps when you have been discussing with a client for a number of weeks and you need to refer to an email sent at the start of your interaction.
So there we have it. These are my top 12 features of Gmail and how they can help you and your business. Of course there are many, many more and there are many other email clients out there that function just as well – perhaps even better than Google. But personally for me, Gmail is the best all round email client and you should definitely consider moving over if you hadn’t previously. You won’t regret it!