Software Spotlight: GMail

While not as traditional a piece of software, GMail is a piece of web-based software which I use probably more than any other service or software that comes across my plate.

Before there was GMail in my life, I was using Hotmail as my main email account. If you’ve ever used Hotmail, you probably won’t have to stretch your mind too far to see why I made the switch to the speed, ease of use and giant storage capacity that GMail offers.

When GMail was on an invite-only basis during its early beta phase, I was lucky enough to find an online friend who extended me an invite. In those days, GMail had a storage capacity of 1Gb, which was outrageous, as Hotmail only offered a few hundred Mb.

When I began using GMail, I had no idea how far it would become ingrained in my everyday life. I currently use 12 email addresses (hosted sites, professional addresses, etc.) and GMail takes care of receiving and sending from each of those addresses with ease. Not only is GMail a service for a new email address, but it is also a fully featured email client, offering support for remote email addresses through IMAP, POP3 and forwarding.

The best thing that I’ve found about email, aside from the near-perfect spam filtering, is that I never have to delete anything. I have email ranging all the way back from my initial creation of my account, and I am still only using 5% of the 7.2Gb of available storage.

Along with never having to delete anything, there is instant search. As fast as you can type in a keyword and hit “Search Mail” you have results from the thousands of emails right at your fingertips. This makes finding that one email with the login information for that obscure site you signed up for 6 months ago and forgot the password to as easy as possible.

With features like labels, which apply a folder-like structure to emails according to criteria which you set (both past and future emails), you can use this for every piece of your online life.

I truly could not get anything done without my GMail accounts. If you have never made the leap to using GMail, I invite you now to give it a go. Signing up for a GMail account gives you access to all of Google’s wonderful web-based software suites, such as Notebook, Calendar, Docs, and so much more.