Gmail is Google's free web-based email service. Gmail says its email service offers better spam protection, lots of free mail storage (over 7400 megabytes free at last check) and access via mobile phones. The free version of Gmail also includes built-in chat capabilities.
The free version of Gmail is ad supported, so when you open an email message in Gmail, you're likely to see ads related to the topic of that message. If Google doesn't find any ads it considers related to that message, you may instead see ads related to the last message you opened.
Most users have high praise for Gmail, at least in two areas:
- Gmail allows them to set up a free email account they can use for special designated purposes - such as signing up for things or for handling client work - without worrying that their regular email account will become a spam target and without identifying themselves with their domain name.
- Many have praised its search capabilities in finding stored mail messages.
You don't need a Google account in order to set up Gmail. In fact, Gmail sign up requires just a valid existing email address and agreement to Google's terms and conditions. Then you can use your Gmail account to log into to other Google online services, such as AdSense, AdWords or Google Webmaster Tools.
Because Gmail is web-based, whether you like it or not will largely depend on the speed of your Internet connection. If you have broadband, Gmail can be a good way to handle all or just a portion of your email that will be stored online where you won't have to worry about losing your messages - as I did when my hard drive crashed. The other benefit of using online email services like Gmail offer is that you can access your email account from anywhere.