Monday, March 22, 2010

Gmail

Featured: Gmail

Gmail has to be one of the most powerful tools on the web to date. I would strongly suggest to anyone out there that does not have an account to make one, even just to take it for a test drive. I am sure most of you already know and love gmail, so I will skip over most of the basics; lets just dive into my favorite features!

Favorite Lab Features:
  • SuperStars - Tired of handing out Gold Stars? Add Variety!
  • Right-Side Chat - Easy concept, VERY useful!
  • Mark as Read - Handy if you like to make several messages as read at once.
  • Send & Archive - For those messages you want to reply to and never see again.
  • Undo Send - Forgot to mention something? Can specify time interval in the "Settings->General" page
  • Title Tweaks - Shows your new message count first! Great for tabbed browsing!
  • Google Calendar Gadget - A quick way to see what is on your plate for the day.

Tips and Tricks:
  • Aliases: With gmail, it is easy to create aliases, or another name, for your own email address. To create an alias, simply add a '+' to the end of your email address along with a descriptive word or phrase, like this: '[email protected]'. You will still receive these emails like usual in your inbox, but they will be addressed to your alias address. Here are some of the advantages & uses that I have discovered:
    • More Secure Credentials: If you use an alias to make a login name for a website, malicious individuals would need to know your email, the added word or phrase, AND your password!
    • Easier to track emails: Be able to track who is sharing your email address with customized phrases, like these examples: '[email protected]', or 'mailaddress+websitename', which would tell you if a website shared your email address, or if you were introduced to someone who had your "school" address.
    • Filtering Emails: This can also help you make filters for incoming messages based simply on who they are addressed to. For example, say you created an alias for spam: '[email protected]', you could simply make a filter to send any emails addressed to that address to the trash.
    • Multiple Usernames, One Email Address: Sometimes I have had the desire to make multiple user accounts with a specific site, but don't want to create a new email account just for that new account. Well, here is another alias application! On websites that will allow the '+' character, simply make your email address "unique" by adding the '+' followed by a new word or phrase, even something as simple as adding a number!
  • The '.' Alias: Did you know, that if you have a '.' in your email address, like '[email protected]', you can login in to your google account with: '[email protected]'? You guessed it... another alias! There are some sites that do not permit the '+' symbol thus making the above tips useless. But virtually every site allows the '.'! Though not as powerful, you can still use it to take advantage of the ideas above.
    • More Secure Credentials: '[email protected]' or any other combination of '.'!
    • Tracking and Filtering: Just like the above example, you could make a spam alias by sticking with a convention like: [email protected], or share your email address with an individual or organization you wish to track with one or more '.' strategically placed in your email address.

Other Useful tid-bits:
  • Shortcut Keys: Activate these in the "Settings -> General" page. For helpful list of shortcut keys, press "?" (They also correlate well with other Google Products.)
  • Force HTTPS: This option should be enable by default for all users now, but check just in case ;) "Settings -> General".

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