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What Is Gmail? Google’s Own Competing Email Service

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Gmail is increasingly becoming one of the most popular email clients on the market. Image credit: ProfileTree

Google’s Gmail is one of the world’s leading email providers. It competes with the likes of Microsoft’s Outlook and Yahoo’s Yahoo Mail, as well as countless others. Gmail can be configured for personal, professional and enterprise level users.

Today, Gmail is one of the most widely used email clients around the world, with almost a third of the market share:

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Gmail is the second most popular email client around the world. Image credit: Statista

Gmail has been around for almost two decades, having launched in 2004 and was initially seen as a joke due to being announced on April 1st 2004. This led to the service being announced by major players of Google the same day to clarify that Gmail wasn’t a hoax.

So how can you describe the amazing success and popularity of Google’s in-house email client? Some of the biggest reasons include the fact that it’s free to use, and accessible from any computer or device with a web browser.

However, that’s just scratching the surface. Let’s look in a little more detail at everything Gmail has to offer.

Great Features of Gmail

Gmail has many great features, some of which you may already know about if you’re a frequent user of Gmail or other email clients. In fact, one of its biggest selling points is that you can access all the features of an advanced email inbox, in a free and user friendly package.

Some of the features link to other Google GSuite apps such as the Google Calendar, Drive, Docs and Sheets, which makes a user’s Gmail account a full platform filled with opportunities.

This may sound minor, but it offers some massive concrete benefits. Let’s look at how.

Connected to your Google Account and Other Google Apps

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Gsuite includes a wide range of different tools and apps. Image credit: Google

As said above, users Gmail can connect many different Google Apps. This allows users to keep on top of their life easily and all in the same place. One of the apps that can connect to Gmail is Google Calendar.

From within gmail users can then add events to their schedule easily without needing to access a separate app. Users can then set up emails to remind themselves of events within their life.

Driving tests, weddings and much more will never be forgotten again, once a user gets a grip of making events within Gmail. Gmail also automatically populates some appointments from your inbox into your calendar.

Users can also connect Google Keep to their Gmail. If you have never used Keep before, it is a great place to keep a record of notes. It is more or less a sticky note app. One of the great features of Keep, is users can keep notes, lists, photos and even audio within Keep.

This is something you can’t do within sticky notes.

There is also a place to create tasks within Gmail. With all the three features (Calendar, Keep and Tasks), users will get notified within their emails about deadlines from notes and tasks and about events from their calendar.

Different Folders and Categories

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Gmail allows you to create files and folders to organise your emails. Image credit: Google

Another great feature of Gmail is the different folders and categories, all your emails can be added and moved between folders. Overall there are three categories emails can go into. These are the Primary, Social and Promotions categories.

They help to filter emails, making it easier to find and prioritise emails. With the only possible changes being the name of the categories. For instance within Outlook instead of the three categories there are two, a ‘focused’ and an ‘other’ category.

Within Gmail you can add your own folders. Adding folders can be one of the most helpful features of an email. Having different folders for different types of email or for emails from a certain address can be very helpful.

This allows for users to filter different content within their email. For instance if a user gets emailed their payslips, they could then make a folder named ‘Pay’. This could then be a folder the user can move all their payslip emails into.

Similarly if a user is subscribed to a newsletter, they could create a folder for each of the newsletters.

Being able to create folders and having categories is the most helpful feature of any email system. It helps to filter content a lot more, making finding emails easier and keeping your email tidy and clean. Especially if your emails are filled.

Search Function in Gmail

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It's also easy to search for your files in Gmail. Image credit: Google

Within almost every email client, you will find a search bar. Again it is a very helpful feature. If you’re anything like each one of us at ProfileTree, your emails are probably filled. Not that it’s filled with important emails because you’ll find more and more emails could be considered spam.

To help with this, always have a backup email you use to help filter emails even more and your main inbox isn’t littered with random emails.

With the search bar, users can then search their thousands of emails for one specific email using a keyword. For instance a user could search for ‘Payslip’. If the user has their payslips within a separate folder, all the payslip emails will be shown separately.

The only problem would be any email featuring the word payslip will show also. Although it is still a good way of filtering emails to find a certain email easier.

Drafts and Trash

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You can access and edit your draft emails in Gmail. Image credit: Google

Other great features of Gmail are the draft and trash features. They’re more than likely features you have heard about, but let’s take a look at them in a little bit more detail. Very much like Microsoft Word and other office features, there is a draft feature.

It is an ideal feature for anyone who likes to loom over details before sending. It can also be used to write up an email before adding any material that is needed such as documents. As they might not be ready to send just yet.

The trash feature is another great feature. Some might think how is a trash feature a great feature? Well one of the best parts of a trash feature is that once you trash an email, it doesn’t get deleted.

So, if you accidentally trash an important email, you can get it back quite easily, unless you delete your trash. Always double and triple check your trash!

Starred Feature

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Gmail allows you to start particularly important emails. Image credit: Google

Having a starring feature is also very ideal. It allows users to prioritise their emails within the folders and categories. The best part of being able to star emails, is that Gmail has a folder for starred content.

Having a separate folder for starred emails means finding prioritised emails is very easy, otherwise there would’ve been no point in starring the email. This is one of the features on Gmail, that can save a user time when searching for specific emails.

It works brilliantly alongside the folders and category features.

Mass Select

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You can select your emails en-masse to carry out bulk actions. Image credit: Google

Most of us like to keep our email inboxes tidy. This can create a fair amount of admin throughout your working day, especially when it comes to deleting emails, or moving them into various folders.

Selecting emails en-masse allows you to perform these actions all at once, rather than doing them for individual emails. On the one hand, you can select all of your emails to perform a total wipe.

Alternatively, you can use the search function or manually sift through your emails and identify candidates for bulk deletion or sorting. This can potentially save you vital hours of admin time.

Gmail Plugins, Add-Ons and Marketplace

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There is a wide range of plug-in available for Gmail. Image credit: Google

One of the other major selling points of Gmail is the wide array of integrations, add-ons and plugins which you can easily install and make use of. These are essentially small pieces of software which bring extra functionality to your email inbox.

Some of these are aimed at organisation, productivity and time management. Others are used for more specific sales and marketing purposes, for example integrating your inbox with an email automation platform or CRM.

Gmail plugins can be found through the Google Play Store, as well as directly from the websites of your favourite SaaS brands.

How does Gmail Compare to Other Email Providers

To a large extent, this comes down to personal preference. This means that people often prefer the email client that they’ve become used to. However, Gmail has a number of huge advantages over other email providers.

For one thing, it’s probably the best free email client out there, in terms of functionality. Additionally, the enterprise level Gmail configurations remain considerably more affordable than their top competitors, like Outlook.

Additionally, Gmail’s UI is more focused around being user friendly, and attractive to interact with. By contrast, Outlook’s UI is designed to match up with the rest of the family of Microsoft Office products.

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