When it comes to selecting an email provider – your choices are nearly endless. With one quick Google search, I was directed to this article which highlights the Top 18 Free Email Services. That’s just the best of the free services – that doesn’t even include the email provided by your employer or by your Internet Service Provider. In many ways, they are all very similar…they provide you with more than enough storage, with decent spam filters, and with mobile access in addition to desktop access, just to name a few. So how do you differentiate between them; and furthermore, how do you choose? For us, it’s all about the add-ons and one provider stands out among the rest:
So what are add-ons anyway? Add-ons are small pieces of software that add features and/or functionality to your basic email account. Your email provider wants you to be happy. Instead of overwhelming you with features you don’t need and will never use – add-ons allow you to customize your email for the ultimate user experience. Here are a few of our favorite add-ons offered by Google:
Are you productive when you are waiting for an important email?
If you are like me, you try to be, but you are easily distracted. You start working on something else, but every time you hear your phone chime with an email alert, you have to check it. Yes, that is a surefire way to ensure to won’t miss that email. It also ensures that you will spend a good part of your day dealing with emails that were not urgent. Did you know it takes 4 minutes to get back on track after an email interruption?
With AwayFind, you can quit obsessing about your email. With just 1-click set-up in your google mail, you will be notified via voice message, text message, or through an iPhone or Android app alert when your predefined parameters are met.
Boomerang allows you to schedule messages in Gmail to send at a later time, to remind yourself to follow up on an important message, and to keep track of who responds.
- Send Later – The ‘send later’ button allows you send an email at a later date/time. It provides you a choice of common send times or you can select the specific date and time.
- Boomerang Reminders – The ‘Boomerang’ button archives a message and returns it to the top of your inbox on a specified date or after a certain amount of time. It provides you the email and reminds you to respond when the time is appropriate.
- Response Tracking – This feature places a sent message at the top of your inbox, if you haven’t received a response within a time frame you specify.
Here is how you can access Google Labs:
- Click on the Gear Symbol on the upper right hand side of your gmail.
- Hit Settings
- There will be blue tabs across the top of your screen – click on Labs
- When you find a lab you like, click enable.
Bear in mind, these are experimental new features in Gmail. Some things are here today, gone tomorrow. Some things become permanent features. We hope the following stick around because we find them really helpful:
This lab provides a list of, and details about, your upcoming events and activities found on your Google calendar. It is displayed to the left of your Gmail window.
This lab allows you to insert message into the body of your email. You can either upload and insert a file off of your computer or by URL.
When you highlight an email in your inbox, you will be able to read this email in a preview box located on the right of your inbox, instead of having to double-click and open each individual email. It allows you to tackle your inbox much faster. UNDO SEND
This feature adds about a 5-second delay between when you click ‘send’ and when Google actually delivers the email. This is really helpful for those moments when you fire off a quick response, hit send and then think better of it. If it takes you longer than five seconds to realize you went overboard….you’re out of luck.