Gmail, a free email service hosted by Google, provides you with much more than an email address and the ability to send and receive messages. Your Gmail account includes spam filtering, POP3 and IMAP support and 5GB of free cloud storage. In addition, Gmail integrates social media, video chat and secure protection. These are just a few reasons Gmail is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner.
Gmail is at the head of the class when it comes to features and services. One of the best, most unique features of Gmail is the integrated video chat application called Hangout. With Hangout, you can chat with up to nine people at once, share videos while chatting and use fun video overlays like pirate hats, halos or crowns. Hangout is available with anyone in your contact list – as long as it is set up on their computer and they have a webcam. Other great social applications are available on Google+.
You can also make phone calls and send instant messages right from your inbox. Gmail is one of the few free email services that does not require an additional download to use their instant messenger. You can use Gmail on any internet-enabled device mobile device or computer. An app is available for iOS and Android phones so you can navigate your Gmail account easier while you are on the go. There is an available notifier for your computer that you can download. This app lets you know when a new message has arrived and is very useful if you need to get away from your computer for a while, but still want to know when a message is delivered.
Thanks to Gmail's expansion of themes, you can customize your homepage with your favorite picture or choose from over 35 high definition themes. Gmail's biggest focus is you. You can customize folders, backgrounds, colors, labels and more to suit your individual tastes and needs. Unfortunately, Google Reader is no longer supported so if you enjoy having an RSS feed, you will need to use a different service.
Gmail gives you up to 10GB of inbox storage, which is more than plenty, and an additional 5GB of cloud storage using Google Drive, for free. Google Docs is still present, but has been merged with Google Drive. When you upload a text-based document or spreadsheet to Google Drive, you can access and edit it in Google Docs. This feature is great for group projects at school or work, where all members of the team can access the same material. Gmail is also available in dozens of languages from Arabic to Vietnamese.
Gmail provides some of the best email organization on the internet. Their pride and joy is the “conversation” interface. Instead of having a list of back and forth emails between you and a friend or co–worker, all replies and sent messages are filtered into one line of inbox with a corresponding number of messages in that conversation. If you and your contacts have a picture uploaded as a headshot, it will display in the conversation, helping you easily identify who is saying what. Additionally, you can create custom filters and have all your messages sorted by “from,” “to,” “subject,” “has the words” and “doesn’t have.” Messages can be places into folders, given color-coded labels, starred, deleted or forwarded.
Gmail does not include graphic ads on their pages; however, they do place subtle ads based on the text of your emails on the right side of the page. Computer bots scan your messages and place ads that might be relevant to you. We are impressed with the variety of features available in Gmail, and the possibilities are endless if you decide to expand your email and social experience even more thanks to a myriad of apps available in Google+.
Gmail’s security includes spam, virus and phishing protection. All spam you receive is filtered into a spam folder that allows you to separate the good from the bad, and you can mark any message you receive as spam or not. All incoming and outgoing messages are scanned for known viruses, and suspicious messages that look like phishing scams are flagged with a big red banner across the top of the message. Additionally, you can report both spam and phishing attempts to Google to help prevent future messages.
Gmail also restricts downloads from automatically starting, just in case you open an infected email, and images are blocked until you allow them to be seen. Although we found Gmail’s spam protection to be top-notch, we are slightly disappointed that we could not adjust the strength of the spam filters from low, medium or exclusive.
Gmail uses HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) to keep your online accounts safe from prying eyes with authenticated and encrypted communication. HTTPS is the same technology banks and credit card companies use to keep their transactions secure. By using HTTPS, Gmail ensures your mail is safe and secure as it transfers between their servers and your browser.
Gmail offers multiple support options including user forums and FAQs. In the unlikely event you are unable to unearth an answer for your particular question, you can submit an email to the Gmail support team. We would like to see a way to contact a service representative by phone or live chat, but fortunately, most questions are answered in the forums or FAQS.
Gmail is a strong leader in the web-based email arena. It’s a secure, easy-to-use program that places the world at your fingertips. Gmail is one of the few free email services we reviewed with exceptionally strong anti-phishing protection and intuitive sorting and spam blocking. We are also impressed with the Google+ social connectivity and the Google Drive feature. With Google integrating so many useful extras, our only real complaint about Gmail is simply that we end up using it too much.
Gmail offers strong, efficient security features, custom HD themes and integrated video chat.
You cannot create any aliases and Google has discontinued their RSS support.
Gmail is one of the most secure and user-friendly email services you will ever use and includes many extras to make your email experience superb.