Gmail now available for activists

I've been waiting for some time for Gmail to become more generally available. In its trial period it was restricted to a few internet stars and gurus -- but now you can sign on with Gmail -- that is so long as you have access to a mobile phone.(I used my daughter's).You need to receive a text message as part of the sign up process.

Gmail is, of course, Google Mail which has come with a lot of wind in its sails to replace Yahoo and sundries as your optional free email account perhaps. Until this moment I have been absolutely dedicated to Pegasus Mail. --and I'm an email junkie.

The features that may be relevant to us politicoes (at least those who have broadband or cable)are:

  • Google Mail lets you organise your contacts into Groups so that you can easily send messages to a number of people at once. (Great way to do a mailout)
  • Google Mail accounts are automatically enabled with chat features. You do not have to do anything special, it just works. See when your comrades are online and decide for yourself how you want to get in touch with them. (No more relying on Skype or PalTalk for that!)
  • With Google Mail's chat features you do not have to use another programme or switch between email and IM--it is all on the same interface. Just talk.
  • With 2000 megabytes of free storage, you never need to throw messages away.(Just think how long you can hang onto those circulars and email discussion group messages debating tactics!) And with a powerful built-in Google search engine, you no longer need to set up folders, file your mail, or remember where you stored your messages. Just search for what you want. You will not only find the message you have in mind, but all the other messages that are part of the same conversation – arranged in chronological order so you can easily put everything in context.
  • Optional automatic forwarding of a copy of incoming mail to a selected email address.
  • And of course, no matter where you are -- London, Paris, Blacktown, can access all your email messages and send off your share.
  • And for those with a RSS newsreader you can subscribe to your own inbox the same way you can subscribe to this discussion list.
It takes a little getting used to as the mail interface can accumulate a lot of messages in the one table but there's logic there so long as you keep checking with the help desk. So it's not like your desktop mailer programs. It is a lateral shift -- that in fact throws out a lot of the past protocols you may be used to. I'm still test driving the setup but the package is very engaging. The layout options a way beyond anything on offer terrestrially and the spell checker suits my poor spelling skills just so.

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