Is Gmail the right email service for you? Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages listed below, and read our "bottom line" analysis, and then decide for yourself.
Gmail is free mail -- Most of the features in Gmail don't cost any money to use.
More than enough room for all of your stuff -- Gmail offers lots of computer memory with which to store all of your emails, more than most of its competitors. It also offers a lot of computer memory with which to create emails, so you can jam them full of stories, pictures, videos, or anything else that you need. You can pay to increase the amount of computer memory in your Gmail account, but the amount that you get for free is so large that you probably won't need to do this anyway.
An extra layer of defence -- Gmail's built-in anti-virus system is very effective, so the chance that something on Gmail will sneak onto your computer and wreck it is slim to none.
One account, all of Google -- Gmail connects to a lot of other services run by Google, almost all of which are free to use. This means that you can use the likes of Google Drive, Google Maps, and YouTube without needing to log into or out of them one-by-one. Just log into one of them, and you can fully access the rest of them.
Test drive homemade add-ons -- Gmail allows some of its more tech-savvy enthusiasts to create experimental new features, which Gmail users like you get to try out for free. We'll be going over a few of them in our tutorials, like how to cancel a sent email or create a standardized email that you can just call up and send whenever you need it.
The interface has a learning curve -- The ways in which Gmail organizes your emails, like "labels" and "conversations", are handy once you know how to use them. However, they might take a bit of work to learn and understand at first. This is especially true if you're used to using email services and other computer interfaces that rely on simple "folder" conventions with which to organize stuff. Gmail does allow you to use a "folders" convention if you want, but it's nowhere near as functional as Gmail's other organizational systems.
It's sometimes easy to lose your focus -- The windows in which you write new emails and replies to other emails are somewhat cramped. Gmail likely does this so that you can keep an eye on things in the background, like what the email you're replying to said, or if any new emails have come in. But this does sometimes make it hard to concentrate on an email that you're writing, much less tell it apart from anything else on the screen.
Ads might make you mad -- Though use of the service is free, Gmail will clutter up the screen with advertisements. Google has tried to make these ads as unobtrusive as possible, but they're still there, and they're still annoying. Also, the ads that you see are based on the content of emails that you send or receive, which is kind of unsettling in terms of privacy.
Gmail is a great email service. By far its biggest advantage is the amount of computer memory space that it affords you -- for free, no less -- for both storing and creating your emails. Its virus and junk email filtering, connectivity with other Google services, and availability of user-made add-ons are also some of its stronger points. Its main drawbacks are that its interface takes some getting used to (but is pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it), as well as that the advertising Gmail uses to support its "free-to-use" model cuts into its privacy and ease of use a little bit.
Learn how to use
Was something in this tutorial missing, confusing, or out of date? Or did it give you all the information you needed, and you just want to say "thanks"? We'd love to hear what you thought!