26 November, 2008

Using GMail instead of One's ISP's Email

Periodically people ask me why I use GMail.  I have posted here before, with tips about how to set up one's emailer application to use it, but I haven't posted much about why to use it instead of one's ISP's email account.  Below are some thoughts, taken from my other writings.

Email Account - Another Change - Tips from an opinionated S.O.B. (to my niece, May 19, 2008)

To me, your question is two-fold, Melissa.  I'll deal with the "How do I change the email address associated with the Yahoo! group?" question second, as the first question, the core question, really is more important.  That is, "What email address should I switch to using?".  I know you didn't ask that, but you should have.  Why?  Because you said it yourself:  "... What a pain, I hate it when people change their emails".

Free Email (GoogleMail, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail, MSN Mail, etc.) versus ISP (ATT, Road Runner, Charter, whatever)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a blanket statement; no one should ever distribute their ISP-given address for use in their friends' address books.  Instead, one should use a non ISP-based address that one can have for life, such as G(oogle)Mail  (best), Yahoo! (second best), or MSN, AOL, or Hotmail (crap, crap, crap).  If you do that, you a) never have to publish an address book change, and b) have access to your online email cache anywhere, at any time.

Gmail has free POP access (Yahoo! charges for theirs).  This means you can tie your email application (Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, WindowsMail...whatever) to it and send and receive messages to your heart's content.  Or, simply use the web interface with the free 1 GB storage.

For my blog posting about how to configure your email application, for GMail, see http://waukeshawestside.blogspot.com/2007/03/googlemail-gmail-configuring-pop-email.html.  For a quick note about Gmail and BACN  (which is spam one actually WANTS), see http://waukeshawestside.blogspot.com/2007/09/official-gmail-blog-gmail-eats-your.html.

Note that having a GMail account is not just having an email account.  Like Yahoo! Mail, it also plugs you into their system.  But with Google, there's more fun stuff, like the ability to create Word docs, Excel files, and other files, in the system, and work on them out on your account...and then choose to share them with others.  It's a very neat way to collaborate on documents among friends and colleagues, all for free.

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