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Gmail Reviewed !!

July 6, 2004

At last I have forced myself to sit down and write a review of Gmail … I have been using it for more than a month now and have found out some really innovative features. But all its innovative features revolve round better mail management. Till now you never had enought space in your inbox for keeping those jokes and fwd mails( dont tell me that you prefer webmail to local hard disk to store all bank statements and other important client mails !! ) Enter google’s Gmail and you will have enough space to store all that Junk!! Read ahead to know more about gmail’s innovative and powerful techniques like archiving, labling etc to make it easier to dig out that first mail from your girl friend. In the world of gmail you need not delete mails. You are happy coz you get 1GB of storage space and will never ever have to delete the mails, but did ya know that not by not deleting mails you are helping google too, how? We all know advertisements are the main revenue source of google and other webmails, and we all have seen the sponsored ads in search result page of google (the ones that appear on the right hand and match with the text you searched), you have similar ad mechanism in gmail too thus the ads in gmail are unobtrusive, text and in sync with the text of message. Now this ad sense technology of google works on powerful algorithms and processors that search for the ad word and display the ads accordingly, so whats the bottom line, more messages you have in your mail box better will the algorithm work, no wonder whenever you empty your trash folder you are find a message :
No conversations in the trash. Who needs to delete when you have 1000 MB of storage?!> Lets get down on the track and check out unique features of Gmail:

New Mail Notification
new mail notification in google mail .. i have been using it since a month and believe me google has really effective new mail notification feature: new mails are shown as a number in title of the web browser and also in the task bar not only this gmail gets auto updated periodically hence the number also gets updated if u have new mails !!

Plus Addressing

Gmail supports plus addressing scheme .. what is it ?? read ahead if u dont know In this addressing scheme you can add words to your account name preceded by a plus ‘+’ e.g. if your account name is name@gmail.com. Now while registring for some site or mailing list you can give your email id as name+list@gmail.com ( it can be any word as u wish but should be followed by a +). Hey man why would I do this ?? well it lets you manage ur messages, this word after plus can be thought of as keyword while searching mails and
can also act as the keywords for setting up filters. It sounds simple but uses are enormous, you can also use it for tracking spam to some extent, say if you registered at somesite.com wid email id name+somesite@gmail.com then if you get a mail either from somesite.com or from a third party who purchased ur id from somesite.com it will be addressed to name+somesite.com@gmail.com.

Folders Vs Labels

Previously I argued that label scheme of google is as good as the folder in other mails, but nay after some use i can bet lable scheme is really good and innovative, the catch is that you can apply multiple labels to a message and this makes life really easy while searching for a particular messages, Let us take an example first come to the world of folders say you have different folders for mails from friends and business proposals .. now suppose one of your friend sent you a proposal, where will you keep it .. in which folder ?? Here comes labels, just assign two labels to it one friend and other proposal ..and search for the message with BOTH friend AND proposal labels !! One last word, folders Folder can be thought of as a container to hold a group of mails. While label can be thought of as some mark or a label on a mail to distinguish it while searching, so the inbox ( which is a container of all incoming mails ) can have mails with different labels, which can be sorted out by clicking on a particular label link. So even if you filter out some mail to a particular label it will still be present in the inbox, which is not the case when you filter mails to a particular folder.wat say …Labels are mightier than folders !!
A word about ‘star’ star is nothing but a sort of label, when you star a message it gets grouped under starred mails that is to say its another way of grouping those really important mails!

Flexible email id!!

In gmail world your email id is really flexible!! didnt get it ?? its flexible in the sense that it is not case sensitive, this is not it ..many of you might have registered as name1.name2@gmail.com, but it doesnt matter, for gmail its all same name1name2@gmail.com or with a period or Name1.NAme2@gmail.com are all treated as same. So dont panic if you inadvertently left the caps key pressed ..( mind it password is case sensitive 😉

Advanced Search

Gmail gives you advanced search option that is to say it has operators or Query words that let you search better, it let you exclude or include some messages, some of the operators it has are .. label: , from: etc. for example if you want to search mail with label friend and from deepak, you will do it as from:deepak label friend in: anywhere. Other key words of google like OR, (), hyphen etc also works, you can have detailed description of same at link “How do I use advanced search? at help page(you need to have a gmail account to access this page)

HTTPS access

you can also access you mail box using secure https://gmail.com

Store it

Archiving is one of the innovation that google talks about, you archive a mail and you simply remove it from the inbox and thus clean up your inbox, say you receive an email into your inbox what do ya do with it: read, reply, forward it or label it etc etc. but its still there in your inbox, until you delete it or Archive it, thus to remove a mail from inbox you either delete it or archive it, in deleting it you loose it while archive it and it will be available to you in future under All mails link.

Conversation Mode
Another useful and intutive feature is conversation mode, here in all the mails replied to a particular mail are clubbed together and you can actually see them in same browser window while replying.

Shortcuts
Simply awesome!! gmail has shortcuts like press g followed by i to reach inbox from any screen, press c to open the compose window, there are others also, check them out in help menu !!

Other noteable features include a spell check, auto complete of email addresses and other simple yet effective features like only need to write the username for gmail ids, open in a new window which lets you open “only the conversation in new window” and placement of reply window below the message itself.

But it looses points …

Archaic Text Editor

As for now in beta Gmail has simple plain archaic text editor, it looses points here as rich text and HTML editors are mundane these days and

provided by almost all of the popular webmails.

Prosaic Address Book

Its there but its just a prosaic contact list that lets you add name, email address and a short note. You cant add phone no, address, bdays etc. I

personally dont need all these frills in a webmail service but people will look for it in final release, so i hope google is planning to enhance it.

Forward or Backward

While forwarding rich text and HTML, gmail converts all formatting, links etc to plain text, i need not tell you what it will look like, google should fix this and allow immutated forwarding of messages.

Where are those buttons

Oh here they are in the drop down list, everytime i wish to delete a mail, I need to select it from the drop down menu, cant i have an easily accessible button for the same and other actions. (Delete button might be hidden coz of the fact that you need not delete mails when you have 1000MB!!)

Well thats it, in a nutshell gmail is simple webmail service, with little innovation here and there but misses out on advanced text editor, limited address book and an issue while forwarding mails, it also needs little tweaks on interface front too ( buttons like delete and other actions should be easy to find and access). It will be great idea to synchronise gmail with google toolbar for one click access to mail and new mail notifications. Presently gmail is in its nascent stage. Hope to see these enhancements in final version !! No wonder it will rule the roost!!

Well guys after this post I wont be coming online much often, as only few hundered days are left to the D day, so its high time to get on to the prep in mission mode !! But you deepak and sachin keep posting whenever you get time and keep the things moving slow and steady.. I will also be posting but not this frequently…I am really finding it hard to concentrate and get my speed up … need to wrk real hard

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