Chapter 5. Gmail: Email Google-Style

When Google introduced Gmail in 2004, it set the Internet buzzing about its revolutionary approach to Web-based email. What’s so different about Gmail?

  • Massive amounts of storage—for free. Back in 2004, most Web-based email programs offered maybe a couple of megabytes of storage. (If you wanted more, you could buy it.) Gmail roared onto the scene with a full gigabyte of storage—that’s 1,000 megabytes (enough space to store 500,000 pages of email)—and it didn’t cost a cent. And Google keeps adding more space. As of early 2008, Gmail was offering over six gigabytes of free storage.

  • A new way of organizing your messages. Most email programs use folders to organize your email. This works pretty well—until you’re trying to find a particular message and you can’t remember which folder you stuck it in. Instead of folders, Google has introduced two innovations for organizing your email: labels and conversations. Labels are colored identifiers you can add to email messages to make them easy to find. You can sort by labels, create a filter to label messages automatically, and even stick more than one label on a message. Gmail also keeps back-and-forth email replies together in conversations, making it easy to find a particular email within the context of a larger dialog.

  • Excellent searching ability. Google applied its searching expertise to email, making it a snap to zero in on any email you’ve ever sent or received—fast. You can even fine-tune your search ...

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