Tip No 5: Managing volumes of emails
Group such as fcnext debating the future of free recycling and free recycling group that has many members share one thing – they both generate a large amount of emails for you to potentially wade through each day, hour or even minute. Keeping on top of these is key to being aware when something comes into your inbox that is critical to your needs and that a prompt response to is essential to you somehow.
On these Vista forums I just read of one person’s woes in trying to manage their inbox. Right now I am not a Vista user so perhaps I am not qualified to answer this problem directly. But the sad thing is that some people put up with inferior tools that just are not up to the mark of dealing with high-volume emails. Every individual on this planet has a momentum in their actions and the tools they use, preferring the tools they have used for many years rather than learning new tools and techniques.
I have banged on about Google email before, about how good it is. One great feature for example is how it deals with spam. You can train it to understand what is spam for you as new emails come in. Actually this anti-spam feature is becoming quite common and if you are not using a n easily trainable anti-spam feature then that is one reason to consider change.
Another is how Google Email classifies emails. In the Microsoft Outlook that I have used over the years you can put messages into different folders, perhaps one folder for this project and another folder for that project etc. This technique is not the best since some messages will inevitably cross over into two or more projects and ideally you want the message in both folders. Google email allows this since any message can be tagged with as many “folder” labels as you like.
Another disadvantage of desktop email clients is the speed and ease of searching for ad-hoc emails with a given keyword. Again, my experience of MS outlook was always frustrating, without exception. Finding emails on given keywords quickly turned into a joke. The (much researched) answer of using a desktop search tool (including Google Desktop) was, for me, not an option since this always slowed my computer to a halt as my disk filled with indexes. The speed at which I can search through my Google email is blinding. Not only that the ease of search is great since normal web searching rules apply, with a few extra ones thrown in for good measure.
But what really makes Google Email work for me is its thread management. It is not perfect but I really get the sense of new messages on an old subject being collected together and “me” being in control of reading what I want and need to read, when I want to do it.
Now to wrap this up some people complain about Yahoo’s adverts. Well I am sorry but if you will use the Yahoo Email and Yahoo Groups website then you only have yourself to blame. Google Email is largely advertising free, though you can configure it to add a news feed and also context sensitive ads do appear. But these are text based and a discreetly placed and contain no pictures. In fact any email with pictures, by default Google Email prevents the pictures from being displayed. This makes for super-efficient bandwidth control for people on dial-up modem.
Finally if you sign up to Google Email then you get free access to their Google Docs which are Excel and Word “look-alikes”. And of course there are other features of Google Email such as on-line presence stuff and a very useful chat that records what you chat directly into your email inbox.
I will just end this sales-pitch saying that although what Google Email delivers is, to my mind, very much state of the art that also technology is leapfrogging. Yahoo Webmail was revamped recently and is going down a similar route. The trick is to try it out and see if it works for you.
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