What is Gmail

You may be wondering exactly what is Gmail. Maybe you've seen "gmail" at the end of an email address and wanted to learn more. Perhaps you know a little more, that Gmail is associated with Google, and you you'd like to find out about the benefits and detriments of having a Gmail account.

Gmail is a free webmail service that "combines the best features of traditional email with Google's search technology," according to Gmail's website. This means that in addition to being able to read and send email from Gmail as you would with any other type of email account, you also have the ability to easily search through your inbox. The search-oriented feature distinguishes it from other email providers and makes it popular with users.

With Gmail you can access your email offline and chat with other users via SMS messaging. Email is read in a "conversation view," separating it from providers like yahoo and hotmail.

Another benefit of Gmail is its storage space. Gmail boasts one of the largest amounts of storage space of any email provider, and it is constantly growing. If the going amount of storage space isn't enough for you, you can purchase more (the price varies on how much more storage space you'd like to buy).

Perhaps the biggest complaint with Gmail is its lack of privacy. Google scans all emails to direct advertising toward its users. This is a problem not only for Gmail subscribers, but also for those who are communicating with Gmail users but never agreed to their terms.

Originally Gmail was designed for Google employees only. Then it was opened to others outside the company, but it could be joined by invite only. A current Gmail user had to send an invitation to allow a new user access to the provider. Since 2007 though, Gmail has been open to anyone.

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