8 reasons why I like Gmail

Around a year ago, Google launched it web email service, Gmail. Since I started using it, I haven’t looked back. All my mail goes to my Gmail account, including all university and professional mail.

  • You can redirect email arriving at gmail elsewhere. You even have POP access to your gmail account! They are definitively not “locking you down”.
  • You can receive tons of large word and excel attachments. There are two limitations:
    1. They don’t allow messages (incoming or outgoing) larger than 10 MB.
    2. Irrespective of MIME-type, executables are forbidden, even when they are in a compressed file (gmail knows about .zip, .tar, .tgz, .taz, .z, .gz).

    I have had no trouble with attachments, and I have received and sent word/java/xml/excel files. What it doesn’t support are uuencoded attachments, but those have gone out of fashion a long time ago. Note that you can still process an uuencoded attachment… you just click on “show original”, you copy and paste the message in a text document, then run “uudecode” on it. If you have no idea what a uuencoded attachment is, you probably will never learn about them. Only old geeks like me worry about such things.

  • It groups discussions in “threads” and keeps them that way. It takes some doing to get used to it. But it is the right way to manage your emails, at least with a web client.
  • The spam filter is excellent. Best I have ever seen.
  • They have a nice spell checker.
  • Currently, I have 2554 MB of storage and I’m using only 844 MB. That’s 844 MB with the spam removed, so about a year and half of emails. Notice that Google increases your storage as time goes by though I don’t know what algorithm they are using.
  • Their search engine is very powerful and very fast.
  • You can’t send an email to more than 100 people. That’s actually a feature since it means spammers can’t use Gmail easily.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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