Since 1996 I have been using Microsoftâ€™s hotmail for my emailing fun. I was satisified and content with hotmail. I then progressed to Outlook utilizing the power of MS word for spell check and synonyms. However, last week my contentment changed, I was shown the light. I was given the gift of Gmail.
While outlook & hotmail confine you to folders, date, & time Gmail transcends all of that gibberish and gives you relationships. Yes thatâ€™s right a relational archiving free email web application. Here are the benefits of Gmail:
Relationship #1: Email Conversations
Using Gmail emails are stored in layered conversations, utilizing the power of reply. Thus making it easier to continue a conversation; instead of having to search through all your email subscription newsletters and the advertisements being thrown at you in order to find the important emails.
Gmail (click to enlarge)
Outlook & Hotmail (click to enlarge)
Now if thatâ€™s not enough for you, it was for me, but it might not be for you. There is more.
Relationship #2: Labels
Labels are the ultimate relationship. Lets say you work with you brother at a large firm. He often sends you work and family related information in the same email. So the using outlook you are left to with three options:
1. File it in a folder which you think it most pertains too
2. File it in two folders somehow making a duplicate, (this can get messy)
3. Ask him to stop mixing family & work subjects in the same email after which he still does because he thinks its fun
Now using Gmail you can use multiple labels for each conversation and you can name labels your self. For example I have coworkers who are also my friends who send me jokes, invitations to parties via my Gmail, and some company information regarding his/her email conversation with me. I just label the conversation â€œFriends, Work, Success Stories, etc.â€ then archive it to clear my inbox. I can then archive the conversation which may contain 16 to 4 to 87 emails for retrieval later. When I want to retrieve it I just click on the correct label I am looking for weather its Friends or Work.
Relationship #3: Instant Messaging Conversations
Instant messaging and email are basically the same thing, conversations. Gmail saves all your conversations via Gtalk. If you want to relive your MSN Messenger conversations you have to save them on your hard drive forcing you to look for conversations in an entirely different place than would seem natural to you.
Drawbacks of Gmail
I strongly suggest switching to Gmail. However, it does have its draw backs, you can only write email online, this is the same with hotmail but if you buy MS Outlook you can write email offline and send it when the internet becomes available. Second is that while Gmail has a sophisticated spell check I have yet to find a synonyms suggestion option, hotmail doesnâ€™t have this but Outlook does so long as you use MS word in tandem with it.
So while I keep comparing apples to oranges I still think Gmail kills both Hotmail and Outlook when it comes to optimizing communication through email conversations.
Jimmy, mentioned to me today in the office that I could use outlook with Gmail. While this is a valid option to utilize the MS word synonyms and write offline with automatic upload, I do feel that I would loose the communication advantage of Gmail.
There would be no labels only folders, there would be no conversations only single emails. I warmly welcome any comments regarding Outlook and Gmail; especially comments telling me how to carry conversations and labels over to Outlook.