Choosing The Best Email Option For You
Email has been around for decades, but for most of that time, you were limited to one or two ways to make contact with your pals around the world.
Now, there are hundreds of email clients, each with the same basic features, so how can you tell which is right for you?
Gmail is, you guessed it, run by web search giant Google. That means, though, that like the rest of their suite, it is free and web based. You cancheck your Gmail email anytime, anywhere and even attach multiple accounts to one inbox while sorting them all with a robust system of folders and filters.
Gmail comes with a lot of other features: chat, the ability to send emails after one am on weekend nights, a brief window where you can retract an email before its read--but the biggest one that a lot of other email clients have adopted is threaded emails. That means all emails from one conversation will be automatically stored in the same thread, not as unique messages.
Outlook, part of the Microsoft Office suite of products ($399), is probably the most popular option for businesses. Outlook effortlessly transfers information between your inbox and Outlook calendar, making it great for businesses (you can share your calendar with others in your network, as well).
Outlook works with Windows Desktop Search which makes it easy to find what you are looking for buried in your inbox. Outlook is a desktop program, and whether or not you can check your email remotely often depends on the rules of your organization. One of the primary complaints about Outlook? No email threading, which means every reply comes as an independent email and your inbox is ripe for the cluttering.
Until recently, Sparrow was the little indie guy in a world of big bad email clients, though it has recently been acquired by Google. People love Sparrow for its intuitive design, fast processing speeds, and beautiful layouts.
This app is not free, but at $9.99, it is affordable to most. Sparrowaggregates your other email accounts into one minimal design. While your Gmail may have more features, Sparrow has cut out the extras and returned your inbox simplistically and elegantly wrapped up back to you.
Surprisingly, Yahoo is still the largest email provider in the United States hosting millions of free web accounts. While many of these accounts are undoubtedly weighed down by spam and long forgotten, the new Yahoo has made some serious improvements. One of them is a coolpictures application that allows you a stream of every picture in your emails lifetime.
Other overhauls include a cleaned up user interface and new optional themes. Unfortunately, Yahoo is still plagued by more spam than other email clients, and even their paid pro account ($19.95 per year) is not the best at filtering through the waste.
Maybe you noticed one day your Facebook email was magically changed to an email you never created: email@example.com. You may have switched back, but that email address goes directly to your Facebook inbox, the same place where your in-application messages are stored.
Most people find this move invasive and unnecessary, preferring their own personal emails over the one Facebook foisted on them, but it is worth knowing about so you can choose as necessary.
This is just a sampling of some popular email clients; of course, there are tons more email clients, both paid and free, web based and tethered to your computer. Knowing what features you want can help you muddle through the darkness and find the light in your own email bliss.