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Maximizing the Gmail Experience

When I first was given an invitation to Gmail back in 2004, I was an avid Hotmail and Yahoo user. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to add a third personal email address, and I was quite comfortable with Hotmail as my primary email account. It was a slow transition, but intriguing features such as 1GB storage was unheard of and the conversation format was attractive. It wasn’t until 2005 when I fully embraced Gmail as my primary account, and I have never looked back.

And with the launch of Google Apps, my personal Gmail experience became a professional one as well. I converted my first school to Google Apps for Education back in 2008 and Gmail has been the backbone to school-wide conversions. Today, Gmail offers a wide variety of features beyond the traditional email web-based client of the past. Although I do not have to convince many about how powerful Gmail is as a communication platform, I still felt compelled to finally compile a list of features why Gmail trumps all.

My Gmail Key Features:

  • Communication tools have evolved to include chat, group chat, video chat, SMS texting, status boards, Buzz, Google Talk, and Google Voice. Calling from your browser Nationally for free is awesome!
  • Google Apps migration tools allows for migration from Microsoft Exchange environments. Even Outlook stalwarts can appreciate this feature.
  • Organization features provide users many ways to control their email. Labels (sublabels) and the ability to create filters directly into labels is quite valuable. The new Priority Inbox is offering Google intelligence to email filtering and color-coded starring of email has always been handy.
  • Using Google search engine to find email has always been a key differentiator.
  • Full integration with other Google Apps provides a comprehensive communication, collaborative and document sharing platform.
  • Product roadmap and company sustainability is strong with Google launching updated versions of Gmail and continued partnerships with third party applications.
  • Multiple-Sign In capabilities allows users to link personal Gmail addresses with Google Apps domains.
  • 7GB of storage and counting has always been industry leading. (Of course MSFT responds with 25GB email storage with MSFT Office 365)
  • Google mobile apps provide seamless transition from computer to mobile device.

To add to the Gmail experience, I also wanted to ask my PLN what their top 3 tools/features are in using Gmail? Here are their responses:

  • @mcarrib7 PLN Help: Priority Inbox, filters, stars
  • @jasonschmidt123 Top 3 for me: Priority Inbox, Filters, Search
  • @cbell619 1-filters to apply labels 2 incoming mail 2-boomerang (reminders) 3-superstars
  • @wmchamberlain not a power gmail user but I love labels and search
  • @warrena Top 3 reasons I use Gmail: free, searchable, massive storage(7gb?) #eduit (but all the Google account bonus features help too.)
  • @billselak (from a Google Buzz friend) 1) Best spam filter. 2) Uses labels vs. folders 3) Keyboard shortcuts Bonus) 2-Step User Verification
  • @billselak Gmail is easy to use, it archives everything, & labels make it easy to organize. It integrates with everything (aka my iPhone).
  • @franze98 no worries of shortage of storage space, top line spam defense, & a product that is constantly upgrading. #eduIT#ga4e
  • @jasontbedell Speed, reliability, easy maintenance, and easy access from anywhere. Plus, Exchange is just awful.
  • @peterscampbell Seamless mgmt via labels + filters; Usable search; integrated inbox (I feed all other email to gmail account).
  • @turrean top 3 gmail features: labels, assigning custom colors to labels, and all the different color stars! Love organization tools 🙂
  • @mrbadura groups, chat feature, folder colors
  • @audreywatters I don’t know if this counts, but I love @rapportive
  • @epaopao 3 gmail tools i use r 1.multiple inbox- to do list & priority 2.custom label colors-lots of labels 3.chat-quick correspondence
  • @nathansudds Some good ones mentioned already but a few more tools are @cldmgc @IntegratedGmail @activeinbox @strube‘s Wav player for #Gmail
  • @mswanson In order; collaboration, storage, easy management
  • @idarknight how about add ons like Active Inbox?
  • @techforschools I’m a huge fan of canned responses

There are probably a hundred other features that Gmail provides to make your life a little easier, would love to hear about it! Leave comments or @socratech to contribute to the growing list. Thanks!

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