Many of our customers are still using Internet Service Provider email accounts. These can be problematic for a few reasons. Firstly, they tie you in to that particular ISP. Sure, you can switch, but it is a hassle. Also, there is no guarantee that they will keep your email account active if you move to another ISP for your Internet access. Another issue is that the spam and virus detection that some ISPs employee is not up there with the best available today.
With Gmail, you get an email address that is not associated with an ISP. This means, that when you switch from say Bigpond to say iiNet, you do not need to tell all your friends to update their address book. Gmail also provide heaps of free storage, the best search capabilities, and really effective spam control.
Create an account
- Head on over to www.gmail.com
- Click on the "Create an account »" button
- Fill in the details here to create an account. Usually a name that is close to your real name is a good idea.
Create bookmarks and shortcuts
You will be accessing your email quite often. It is probably a good idea to create some shortcuts. If you are using Google Chrome, then click on the tool menu and select "Create application shortcut". This will place an icon for Gmail on your desktop. In Firefox and Internet Explorer you should be able to drag the Gmail mini icon from the address bar, to either the bookmarks bar, or even your desktop.
Send your first email
Make sure you are logged in to Gmail. You should see a "Compose mail" button on the left hand side. Click on it. Now send a test email to someone.
Conversations versus Messages
Gmail relies on the concept of conversations. When someone sends you an email, you will notice a text input area beneath the message. You can click in here and start typing your reply right away.
When the other person responds, you will see the conversation marked as unread at the top of your Inbox. When you open the conversation, you will be able to see the response, but you will also be able to see all the other messages in the conversation as well.
Receiving Your Old Email
Now, you want this transition to be as smooth as possible. You really don't want to be checking two or more email accounts. Fortunately, Gmail lets you receive email from other accounts and deliver them to your Gmail Inbox.
- While logged in to Gmail, click on Settings in the top right corner
- Click on the "Accounts and Import" tab
- Under the section "Check mail using POP3", click on the "Add POP3 email account" button
- Enter the email address of the account you wish to collect and click next
- On the next page, you will need to enter you email account log in details as provided by your ISP. These vary depending on the ISP, but you can always give them a call to find out. It is a good idea to tick the "Label incoming messages" option. This will label messages that come in through your ISP account. This gives you a chance to ask people still sending email to that account to update your email address to the new Gmail one.
- Click on Add Account and go through the remaining steps