In honor of my 200th post here at Nerdlets, I am introducing a couple of new segments. The first, Multitasking Mondays, will feature posts designed to help you use technology to get things done. The second, Security Saturdays, will feature posts that help protect and secure your data. You will have to wait a couple of days for the latter, of course, but today marks the first Multitasking Monday here at Nerdlets, and I thought we would spend some time talking about Gmail.
If your not familiar with Gmail, read the next section, otherwise, skip to the New Multitasking features below.
Gmail is bar-none the best email solution out there. Now I know what you’re thinking—”I already have an email address (or two/three/etc), I don’t need another!” Well that’s one great feature about gmail. You can forward mail from your regular addresses straight to Gmail, or if your service provider does not allow forwarding (shame on them), you can set Gmail to download your messages via POP. You can even set up Gmail to send mail via your other email addresses. No one ever has to know your Gmail address if you don’t want them to—Gmail can just be your email “Hub” where you can manage multiple online identities. Or you can take the full plunge, there are many easy tools that can help you migrate to Gmail.
There are a whole host of reasons for taking the time to set all this up. (1) Gmail gives you a huge amount of storage, so you never have to delete an email again. (2) Gmail allows you to archive and easily search for old emails. Never loose an email, even if you received it 5 years ago! (3) Gmail has the best spam filters around. (4) Gmail allows you to use IMAP instead of POP to get your mail, which means your Gmail account is always in-sync no matter how you access your email (for an intro to IMAP, go here; once you set it up, you won’t know how you went without it!). (5) Gmail is always accessible from the web and works with almost any device (6) Gmail will easily interface with your existing Email software, like Thunderbird, Outlook, or whatever you Mac people use. (7) And that’s just the beginning.
A full explanation and guide to Gmail is in the works (subscribe today!), but the real point of this post is to notify you of three wonderful productivity features that have recently been added to Gmail.
Three Important New Features
Google has been hard at work providing excellent new features to Gmail. Three are worthy of notice for those wanting to use Gmail to multitask and get things done.
(1) Gmail Offline. It used to be that you needed Internet access to interact with Gmail. This meant that if you wanted/had to work offline you needed a Desktop applications (like Thunderbird or Outlook) to read/write/file your emails, which would sync with Gmail once you were back online. No longer! All of this is now possible in Gmail itself through Google Gears. This was announced on the Gmail Blog, and you can find a guide to setting things up here.
(2) Gmail labels/folders. It is now easier to label and file your email. For details, check out this post. As an addendum I will mention this: the folks at Gmail recommend archiving or filing your old email, rather than deleting them. Archiving email removes the email from your Inbox but leaves it in a special Archive folder just in case. The email will never be deleted. In addition, if you labeled the archived email (say, for example, with the label “Travel”), those labels will not be removed, so you can always view archived email by label at a later time. None of this is true if you “Delete” the email. It will be eradicated from the system in 30 days.
(3) Multiple Inboxes. A new Labs feature allows you to have multiple Inboxes on your Gmail homepage. Read about that here. Some background: Gmail allows you to filter incoming emails into specialized folders/labels. You can, for example, create a filter with the email addresses of all your family members and tell Gmail to send all incoming mail from those addresses to the “Family” folder. The new labs feature allows you to view this label on your homepage. You can also set this up for multiple Gmail accounts.
There a number of other handy features available to Gmail users. Check out this helpful list.