Wednesday, June 09, 2004

GMail: Frequently asked questions.


My first posting about GMail had a comment from a certain person asking me whether GMail was free. It is free my fellow earthling and much more. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about GMail :-

1. What makes Gmail different?

Gmail uses Google search technology to automatically organize and find messages. And because Gmail includes 1,000 megabytes of storage, a typical user won't ever have to worry about deleting mail. Everything just gets archived so it can be found again if needed.

There are other differences in the way Gmail provides access to your email. For example, Gmail automatically groups an email and the replies to it as a conversation. That means you always see a message in its proper context. And there are no pop-ups or banner ads in Gmail, just relevant text ads and links to related pages. Gmail's other distinctive features include a labeling system, a spam reporter and a system for filtering your mail as it comes into your inbox.

2. How much does Gmail cost?

Gmail is a free service and includes 1,000 megabytes of storage with each account. However, Gmail is still in preview mode as tests are being conducted to work out the kinks. So for now, it's not generally available.

3. How do I sign up? When can I get a Gmail account?

Google is currently only offering Gmail as part of a preview release and limited test. I don't have details on when Gmail will be made more widely available, as that depends in part on the results of the test.

4. Is Gmail available in other languages?

During this testing period, the Gmail interface is only available in English. However, Google is committed to making Gmail available to as many people in as many languages as possible. And Gmail accounts can already be used to read and send email in most languages (even Klingon).

5. What are Gmail's system requirements?

Gmail currently supports the following browsers:

Microsoft IE 5.5 and newer (Windows)
Netscape 7.1 and newer (Windows, Macintosh, Linux)
Mozilla 1.4 and newer (Windows, Macintosh, Linux)
Mozilla Firefox 0.8 and newer (Windows, Macintosh, Linux)
Regardless of the browser used, you must have JavaScript and cookies enabled. Google hopes to expand this list of supported browsers in the near future.

6. Does Gmail support automatic forwarding and POP3 access?

Not at the moment, but they're working on it. Google believes in helping people access information whenever and however they want to do so. Your email should never be held hostage by a service provider. In the future you'll be able to access Gmail messages from non-Gmail accounts at no charge.

7. What about spam?

Google is committed to keeping unwanted messages out of your Inbox. Gmail includes a sophisticated spam filter that we're continuing to improve. The Report Spam link in Gmail is a way for users to help with this effort. It removes spam from the Inbox and sends valuable data to the Gmail team working on spam blocking.

8. Are there ads in Gmail?

There are no pop-ups or banner ads in Gmail. Gmail does include relevant text ads that are similar to the ads appearing on the right side of Google search results pages. The matching of ads to content is a completely automated process performed by computers using the same technology that powers the Google AdSense program. This technology already places targeted ads on thousands of sites across the web by quickly analyzing the content of pages and determining which ads are most relevant to them. No humans read your email to target the ads, and no email content or other personally identifiable information is ever provided to advertisers.

9. What is Gmail's privacy policy?

Google is committed to keeping your personal information private and our policy reflects that. You should know that Google:

Collects only limited account information and stores and maintains your account and email messages on secure servers.
Never rents, sells or shares information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission.
Respects your privacy. No humans ever read your email to target ads or related information to you. Gmail serves highly relevant ads and other information using completely automated technology.

10. Why is Google offering email? I thought they were a search company.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible. For many people, email contains valuable information that can be difficult to retrieve. We believe we can help with that.

Gmail uses Google search technology to find messages so users don't have to create folders and file their individual emails. Many of Gmail's other features also incorporate search technology to improve their effectiveness. Used this way, search enhances the efficiency of email, so we believe it's a natural area for Google to offer a service.

Really Utopia isnt it. What do u say people ?

APIC: A big hoax!!!


The Chennai landscape like that of any other city is filled with numerous hoardings. They are fast becoming or maybe it is proper to say already become a part & parcel of our lives. Whether it is while traveling over the Anna fly-over or overlooking the busy traffic signal at Kathipara junction, hoardings are here to stay.

Well that is not exactly what I have in mind. I have no objection to MNCs putting up hoardings all over the city. I would just like to refer to one particular hoarding that grabbed my attention a couple of months back. “Indiatimes e-mail. With APIC advantage, for the first time in India.”, screamed the hoarding with models in trendy clothes to drive home the point. I was intrigued. I went to the Indiatimes site & registered for the free mail account they were offering. It comes with the normal 6 MB of free storage space. The logging in time I found was much faster than any of my other accounts. Thus I assumed that the acronym APIC had something to do with increasing the server throughput. Why hadn’t anyone else thought of this before? Guess nobody was smart enough. But one should never assume or guess with technology.

Recently a fellow blogger brought to my attention the expansion of this much hyped APIC & I was left astounded. APIC, my friends, stands for Auto Phrasing & Instant Chatting. These are features provided by almost all of the free e-mail services. Hotmail provides an excellent but at times irritating Auto Complete feature. Again with Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger & ICQ which have a flourishing user community backed by excellent user interfaces who needs Instant Chatting.

The audacity of Indiatimes to take us for a ride by using aggressive advertising tactics is quite shocking. Who are they trying to fool? Just by wrapping a candy of inferior quality in a colorful wrapper they can sell it to hundreds maybe thousands of people but soon the word is going to be out. The speed just attributes to the fact that there are very few people currently using their mail service compared to the giants Hotmail & Yahoo. With the amount of traffic flowing in and out of their servers it is amazing that we can connect at the speeds that we do.

So people, my sincere advise,(from this particular experience). is that you shouldn’t let the ads fool you. If you find a term that you don’t understand then look it up in Google. Just remember, “Technology can be a real double-edged sword.”

Happy surfing people.

GMail: Jumbo Size Storage & More


How many times have you seen your email server revolting against you and telling you to throw your precious mails into magnetic oblivion. Imagine throwing out the first (maybe the first and the last) email from your first love, or maybe the letter inviting you to join your dream job, a mail filled with love from your mother in a distant land, a mail telling you that you have become a father. Believe you me, this list is endless and I could go on for pages about all the things your account has made you do. But you might say that this guy is full of crap, we can just save our best letters on our hard disk if we value them so much. Well go ahead and do so, but dont lament the day your disk crashes for it will be of no use my friend.

Now, my friends let me tell you about GMail (those of you who already know, it wont hurt to read along.). It is an experiment by the famous search engine Google (we have all used it one time or the other for some purpose ). They provide you with a whopping 1000 MB of storage space(much more than you will ever need). But hold your horses people before you go out and type and prepare to register there is one problem. As I said earlier this is just an experimental concept. It has not been tested completely till now and is in the Beta stage (membership by invitation from Google only). Beta testing is carried out by a closed group usually but right now Google is picking and choosing at random (you may be the next one). This system is, right now as you read this, being tested by hundreds maybe thousands of people selected randomly by Google and will soon be going live. I will now list out it's features as given by Google:-

Search, don't sort.
Use Google search to find the exact message you want, no matter when it was sent or received.

Don't throw anything away.
1000 megabytes of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.

Keep it all in context.
Each message is grouped with all its replies and displayed as a conversation.

No pop-up ads. No untargeted banners.
You see only relevant text ads and links to related web pages of interest.

Cool right. Well stay tuned folks the giant may come alive anytime. Hey and do check your mails regularly. Maybe Google wants you to test their system for them. Till then folks HAPPY DELETING....................................