October 29, 2014

Gmail: The super-duper email tool

37  comments

Right now I’m writing about All Things Google in book #3, and I just got through the Gmail section.

Oh boy. What can I say about Gmail – or rather, what can’t I say about Gmail? In my humble opinion, it’s the strongest tool in my Google toolbox, followed closely by Calendar. I could write a whole book about Gmail functions, and with the addition of the new Gmail Inbox, it gets even better.

By the way… I have THREE Gmail Inbox invites! Leave a comment below, and I will do a drawing at COB on Halloween 2014 for three lucky Gmail addicts.

google-gmail-logo

Five Things to Know about Gmail

  1. Gmail is a cloud-based email system from the powerhouse that is Google.
  2. You get a Gmail address when you register with Google, but you can also import your other email addresses into the reader. Each email address can have its own signature, and you can choose which email to reply from no matter the source of the email.
  3. Gmail’s spam filter helps keep your inbox clean, and its classification system for promotions, updates, important emails and more helps keep you organized.
  4. About a kabillion third-party apps integrate with Gmail to make it better (see below for my favorites).
  5. Google works very hard to make email management better and better. Last week, they released a new tool called Inbox, which makes it easier to organize your inbox and get things done faster and easier. And because the system analyzes your email, you’ll see quick links to track packages when you get a postal mailing confirmation, or check your travel schedule when it sees a flight registration.

Here are a few of my favorite Gmail connections:

  1. Boomerang
    Use Boomerang to schedule an email to pop back into your inbox at a certain time. This helps you remember to follow up with clients, write back to your mom and more.
  2. Unroll.me
    If your Gmail inbox (or Yahoo! or AOL or more) overflows with subscriptions, promotions and just plain old junk, Unroll.me can help. It analyzes and categorizes your email, making it darn easy to unsubscribe or organize. You can gather all the regular updates you get into one digest and get rid of all the rest.
  3. Cirrus Insight
    I pay $5 a month for the basic level of Salesforce (it’s really hard to find… go here) so I can keep track of conversations without having to save everything in my inbox. But it was a pain to go back and forth from Gmail to Salesforce to log information. Cirrus Insight charges me $19 a month to connect my Gmail to Salesforce with a menu that sits to the right of the inbox. Every time someone writes, I can enter them into Salesforce without leaving Gmail, and I can save all the correspondence with a click. Another handy tool is a little creepy – Cirrus Insight tracks my outgoing mail and lets me know when and where it’s opened. Another tool called Yesware has tracking as well with a free version.
  4. Discoverly
    Wouldn’t it be helpful to see critical info about your contacts without having to leave your inbox? Discoverly pulls in social media profiles and other info into a panel right near your contact’s name as you’re corresponding. You also get bonus info when you visit your social media sites, like the box below my buddy Bruce Turkel’s Twitter profile (Bruce is kinda famous and completely awesome).

 

Bruce Turkel Discover.ly


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  • I am an even bigger Google fan today than I was a month ago, as I just completed a comprehensive MOOC course called Google Ninja (generously hosted by http://www.canvas.net). In that course, I learned all about Google programs, including gmail, calendaring, video conferencing, chat, spreadsheets, word processing, slide presentations, drawing, survey forms, drive storage, photo editing, blogging, etc. The whole Google platform is simply amazing and I am doubly glad to know that Nerdy Best Friend is also promoting its awesomeness, as it reinforces what I have just learned. Thanks for the tip of the hat to gmail, Beth! Google has opened a whole new world to me.

    • Anne–
      I just finished Google Ninja also! It really surprised me how much was available. I just might be moving from my hotmail account…

  • I am just starting to use Google more. I have resisted using gmail much as I like the organizational ability of Outlook with its rules and folders. I am nterested to see if Inbox helps gmail organize things better.

  • Love gmail and Google…I remember that it took some getting used to (from Outlook) but it was so long ago it’s now just a distant memory. I love the fact that I can add a contact in on my laptop and watch it pop up on my phone. Everything I need is available no matter what type of electronics I am using!

  • Love Gmail. Have multiple personal addresses on it, and I host my company email on it for the apps and more. Cirrus insight looks like my next sign-up – anything that seamlessly integrates with other platforms is always good in my book!

  • I’m a Google & Gmail fan too.

    I have to say, I’m surprised you didn’t share your Halloweenify pic made by Google’s AutoAwesome. today. (That’s ok, I still enjoyed this week’s newsletter).

  • Hi Beth, if you still have an email invite for Inbox, I would LOVE it. I’ve asked Google twice and still haven’t seen it.

  • I recently learned this tip “One trick you may or may not have picked up about Gmail is that you can add in periods anywhere in the front part of your address and it makes no difference whatsoever: john.smith@gmail.com works just the same as johnsmith@gmail.com. What’s more, you can add a plus sign and any word before the @ sign (e.g. johnsmith+hello@gmail.com) and messages will still reach you. If these tweaks make no difference, then why use them? One major reason: filters.” from http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/how-to-use-the-infinite-number-of-email-addresses-gmail-1609458192/+whitsongordon

    PS Love the new look to the weekly emails and website!

  • I use outlook and also have a gmail account that I set up but have not done much with it. All sounds like a switch may be in the process. Would love to hall my emails going to one email account.
    Beth, as usual thanks for more exceptional tips. Happy Halloween!

  • Like others here, I have been using Hotmail/Outlook and find it very user friendly. Have had a dormant Gmail address for a long time. Just dusted it off to use Google Hangouts for the IM feature at the office. May have to take a closer look at Gmail. Is it easy to migrate existing contacts into Gmail?

  • I would love to have an invitation for inbox. I’ve been eagerly awaiting one I requested from google since I read about it a week ago.

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