Thursday, March 18, 2010

Introduction to GMail

Many schools have or are thinking about moving away from corporate email systems such as Exchange to Google's free Google Apps for Education, which inclues GMail. Our school made this switch a few months ago. Thanks to the many tools available this switch went very smoothly, and many of the staff haven't had to make any changes as end-users. However, since the change, I have realized the power of GMail over Outlook. I have noticed however that many of the staff at my school haven't embraced the web-based GMail client. The video below shows some of the features of GMail, and gives an over view of how GMail works. Over the next few days I will have posts which demonstrate specific uses and tipcs regarding how to use GMail to more efficiently communicate online. So without further ado, here is the video:

Topics Covered:

  • Web-based: Because GMail lives in the cloud you can have access to it anywhere you have a web browser. Most mobile phones are able to easily connect and retrieve your email.
  • Conversation Threads: Instead of needing to search through individual emails to find previous parts of a conversation, GMail automatically groups individual emails together into a conversation so you can easily look back at the progression of a conversation.
  • Search vs. Organization: Desktop email solutions often required a great deal of orgainzation. Google's strength is search, so instead of needing to orgainze your mail in GMail, use it's powerful search feature to find what you're looking for more quickly.
  • Labels: Outlook, and many other email systems, use folders to organize emails. GMail uses Labels which is similar but a bit more powerful. You can use multiple labels on a single email, letting your email show up in multiple views.
  • Integrated: GMail is integrated with Google's other services such as chat, calendar, tasks and documents.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: Using keyboard shortcuts you can easily keep your inbox orgainzed

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