by Dave Goebel www.clevelandpress.com/gmail
I have enjoyed using the new gmail service as my personal email account. The user interface is easy to understand and very intuitive. Google has done a fabulous job in usability and functionality. If the intent is to pick up where the other free email services stop then Google has another hit on its hands. The features of gmail make it the new industry standard.
These features include:
• Search: Built on Google search technology, gmail enables people to quickly search every email they've ever sent or received. Using keywords or advanced search features, gmail users can find what they need, when they need it.
• Storage: Google believes people should be able to hold onto their mail forever. That's why gmail comes with 1,000 megabytes (1 gigabyte) of free storage – more than 100 times what most other free webmail services offer.
• Speed: gmail makes using email faster and more efficient by eliminating the need to file messages into folders, and by automatically organizing individual emails into meaningful "conversations" that show messages in the context of all the replies sent in response to them. And it turns annoying spam e-mail messages into the equivalent of canned meat.
The features of gmail raise the bar for free email.
The productivity improvements of finding emails quickly will save most gmail users a few hours a week. This feature alone shows how forward thinking the Google engineers are.
As far as the privacy issues, users need to know that there is no such thing as private email and that all email can be read by your Internet Service Provider, unless it is encrypted. gmail is an opt-in service, so if a user is really concerned about someone reading their email then they can choose not to use it. In my opinion the privacy advocates should be more concerned with free email services like www.mailinator.com that allow anyone to read all emails.
The ads that show up in the right side of the emails are non-intrusive and are hardly noticeable. As a Google adwords customer I welcome the opportunity to show ads in more places.
gmail is still in beta so there are a few things that could be added, like searching on contact descriptions to find contacts based on context or relationship to other contacts or emails.
The price is right and the features are outstanding. I would recommend it to all.