We love Gmail. Anyone who has been using email for a long time loves it. It is hard not to love when you compare it to what we had before. When I look at my Gmail account, the features seem downright unbelievable. Before the advent of Gmail it was normal for email services to give you 2mb of space. We remember when Hotmail upgraded from 2mb to 6mb – it felt amazing.
Now Hotmail doesn’t even exist – it has been rebranded as Outlook. What is even funnier is that when Google announced plans for Gmail everyone thought it was a joke. Google told people that it would give everyone 1gb of space for free. This in a time where you would have to pay to get 20mb email accounts. To add to the hilarity, Google announced Gmail on April 1st. Many people thought it was an April fool’s joke. Then people started making accounts and realized that it was for real.
One thing which has kept us in love with Gmail even after other email providers provided more space are the features. Gmail is chock full of features that will make your email experience better. There is only one complaint – it has so many features hidden away that most people don’t even know they exist. Often when we show people some of the features they ask “Can my Gmail account do that?”. The answer to that question is always yes.
Secret Features of My Gmail Account
There is a lot that your Gmail account can do for you that you may not realize. You may already know some of these functionalities. We have also written about a few of these previously. This is the collection of the most ignored Gmail features that deserve the spotlight. If you want to use Gmail is a better and more efficient manner, read on.
This is a feature which we all have wanted for a long time. This one applies to all of us who use Gmail for work related purposes. We all dread the huge email thread which goes on and on. Someone tags you in one email because you had to give input one time. Now you are a part of the thread and you will receive a hundred more emails in it. Emails that have nothing to dowith you and require no input. Worse were companywide emails that someone would reply to and start a chain reaction. All you can do is turn your phone on silent and just pray that the emails stop coming. If you have Gmail, you don’t have to worry about this anymore.
Simply click on the ‘more’ button above the email you have opened. There will be an option to mute the thread. Now you will not receive notifications about emails to that thread. You will still get all the emails and they will be available to you in your inbox. You will just not be bothered by any type of notification for the email. So now if you get caught in an annoying email thread simply mute it.
Find out who is leaking your email to advertisers
Gmail has one of the best antispam filters you will find online. However, you may have noticed that you get advertising emails still addressed directly to you. These aren’t the usual Nigerian prince scam emails or emails selling you enhancement pills. These emails were sent by people who clearly got your email address from somewhere. This means that some company you gave your email address to sold its database to an advertiser. This isn’t good and the worst part is that you don’t even know who leaked your data so you can avoid them in the future.
This is I think one of the best things I found out about my Gmail account. Gmail will ignore anything you add after putting a + sign in your email address. So you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will end up reaching email@example.com. How does this help? Well, this means that you can track who gives out your email address.
So, for example, if you sign up for Netflix you can give them firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address. Later on when you get an advertising email check who it was sent to. If it says that the email was sent to email@example.com, you will know that Netflix is the company selling your data. You don’t need to use this trick with Netflix or any other such trusted website. However you should use this trick when signing up for a website you don’t know much about. It is always good to know which companies are harvesting your data.
Check unread emails first
We have all lost track of an email because a new one came up, and eventually the old email was banished to the 2nd page of our inbox. Most people don’t know that you can change this. Normally Gmail will show you emails in the order that they came in. If you read an email, it stays there. However Gmail gives you many options here.
You can check Unread first, which is what I use for my Gmail account. When you select this option the unread emails will be shown first to you. Any email that you have read will be shown later, even if they are newer than the unread emails. If you are the type of person who ends up with hundreds of unread emails then this option is perfect for you. Delaying reading an email can mean it will be out of your sight as well, which means it may be out of your mind.
You can also set it to important first. In this option emails from the contacts you deem important will be shown first. Starred first means starred conversations will be shown first. Priority inbox workson Google’s own filter. It figures out which emails are high priority and shows them first. All of these are great option and change your inbox completely. We recommend testing a few of these out until you find the one that is perfect for you.
Use your email address multiple times to sign up
Most of us only have one Gmail account, and we don’t use any other email service. This becomes very annoying if you have to make multiple accounts on another website. Most websites only allow you to make one account based on one email address. So to make an account on that website you will have to create a new email address as well. Not only that – you will also need to remember the password of the new email address in case you ever need to retrieve the password of the account on the new website. This isn’t ideal at all.
You don’t have to make multiple email accounts if you have a Gmail account. This is another interesting feature I found in my Gmail account which will be very useful for you. Many of us have a period in our email address. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org is very common. The funny thing about Gmail is that the dot doesn’t really matter. You can send an email to email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you send it to e.x.a.m.p.l.e.@gmail.com guess where it goes – to email@example.com!
That’s right, Gmail will just ignore the dots and send the email to the inbox. So if you want to sign up for a website another time, just add a dot to your email address. Most websites will treat it like a new email address. You will however still get all emails associated with the account in your original inbox. This is one of the many small features which makes Gmail so great. You can sense that Gmail was designed by people who use email a lot. It takes away most of the pain of managing email inboxes in a way others just don’t.
Did you know that you can add extensions and apps to your Gmail account? This is probably the least known Gmail feature. People know about apps that can access Gmail, but most people do not know that there are apps for Gmail itself too. These are called add-ons and they allow you to add a lot of functionality to Gmail. There are add-ons that allow you to integrate your Gmail with various other apps. If you use Trello or Asana in office, you can use their add-ons to make your life easier.
Then there are add-ons which add functionality to Gmail. One of our favorite such add-ons is Boomerang. Boomerang does a very simple thing – you can schedule messages with it. You can schedule a message to be sent later. That’s not all – you can even schedule a message to be received later. You can set it up so you don’t get any emails or email notifications while you are asleep. When you wake up you can ask for all the emails and they come to you fresh. There are many other add-ons available as well, make sure you check them all out and install the ones that are useful for you.
Use Gmail for all your email inboxes
Using Gmail spoils you. If you have had the thought “I wish all my email accounts were like my Gmail account” then we have good news for you. You can use Gmail as your singular inbox. This is a problem that is mostly faced by people who have old email addresses from other services. Hundreds of millions of people already had emails when Gmail launched. If you have an old email address that you don’t’ want to use but cannot abandon, this solution is perfect. You can set up Gmail so that it will retrieve emails from your other inboxes.
This means that you will only need to open your Gmail inbox to check all your emails. That’s not all – one thing we love about this feature is that you get to use Gmail’s spam filter everywhere. As every Gmail user known Gmail has one of the best spam filters on the market. Email used to be really bad before Gmail. The 2mb inbox wasn’t the only problem – you also got a lot of spam. Often this spam would fill up your inbox and you would end up losing important emails. When Gmail launched it had the best spam filter, so much that we aren’t even worried anymore about spam. We barely ever get any spam in our inbox. When you use Gmail to check all your inboxes the same filter is run through all your emails.
There are many other Gmail features which are still lying out there, waiting for you to discover them. A great place to discover many of them is the labs option in settings. Labs is where Google is supposed to put their experimental things not ready for the limelight. We use the word supposed because there are great features which have been in labs for more than 5 years now. We don’t know if they will ever leave Labs, but you can still make use of them.
If you want a better Gmail experience on your phone we would highly recommend installing Inbox by Google. It is an alternate to the Gmail app for Android made by Google. Inbox is made by Google as well but it has loads of additional features. My Gmail account looks completely different in Inbox than it does in the default Gmail app. We are sure you will have a similar experience as you try it out.
Google also keeps adding features to Gmail. Gmail has an official blog which you should visit. They post any new feature they add to this blog which makes it a great resource for Gmail power users. You should also install the Gmail Chrome extension if you use Chrome. It makes Gmail much faster and also gives you better notifications. Gmail is easily the best email provider out there, and the more you dive into it the better it gets.
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