Gmail is Google’s free email service. You can get your own email address, for example: [email protected]. You can use the gmail website to create, send, receive and manage your email from any Internet connected computer. Or, you can use your client-based email program, such as Outlook, to create, send, receive and manage your email. You can even have gmail fetch emails from other addresses.
There are other free email services that can do all this, but I trust Google products to work better than most. And, once you have a gmail account, you have access to all the other great free stuff that Google offers like the Calendar, Picasa Web Albums, and Blogger. I have been accused of being a Google evangelist, I just love their stuff. It seems all the seminars we teach revolve around one Google product or another. No, I don’t own Google stock! I just wish I did.
Signing up for a Gmail account is easy, just go to www.gmail.com and click on the link to ‘Sign up for Gmail.’ As soon as you’ve filled out the form, you have a gmail account. You can watch my short video on how to sign up for gmail.
Once you have the account, you instantly have an online inbox. You can tell people your new email address and start receiving and sending emails right away. It really is that simple.
In order to receive your gmail on your computer and be able to compose and read email offline, you have a little more work to do. This capability is called ‘POP’ access which I explained in last week’s blog post. Gmail also provides IMAP access, which is another, more sophisticatd way to get email on your computer. In either case, you must first turn the feature ON in Gmail. Just click on the menu option for ‘Settings’ then the tab for Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
You’re not done yet. Now you need to tell your computer’s email software about your gmail account. Your email client software, e.g. Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Eudora or Thunderbird, needs to know where to go on the Internet to find your gmail and what servers to use to send your email. It’s not hard, but you do need to follow the directions exactly. Gmail has help on doing this for each software.
When you’re done, you now can receive your email on your computer any time you are online. Then you can read it at your leisure offline, reply to whatever you want, and compose new email offline. The next time you are online, all the email you wrote will be sent.
If you find yourself in a situation where your computer can’t get online, but you have access to some other connected computer, you can go to gmail.com, log in to your account and read or send email there.