Yesterday a clean install was performed on my computer. The process refered to as a “clean install” means all your data is going to be wiped off your computer and your computer is going to be as clean as it was the day you purchased it, maybe cleaner.
In my case my clean install was prompted by the need to reinstall an operating system as my Windows 7 beta was going to expire and needed to be updated to Windows 7 Release Candidate 1. Other reasons to do a clean install might be to clean out the cobwebs and improve performance. Viruses and harddrive crashes as well as other hardware failures may also force a clean install.
The warnings to back up and then back up some more generally fall on deaf ears. When the question is posed to a group of people about their data backup strategy the room quickly divides.
In the first group you have your smug fellows who do backup their files, second you have your optimistic group who are sure such a catastophe will never befall them or they have this pragmatic confidence that while this could happen to them they will certainly have gotten their back up act together by then and will be prepared, the third group have lost data, they know the damage it can do and yet they know they do not have a backup and their heads hang in shame and maybe a little bit of fear.
But there is another group. A group that “Lives on the Cloud”, meaning the information in stored on the internet and not on your harddrive. Life on the cloud is “hardware independent” because your harddrive will die and you don’t want it to take out your data with it. Let me give you a taste of how this can work.
How My Gmail Account has Changed the Reinstall Forever
By using gmail for your domain my email and all the related attachments can be accessed on any computer with a username and password. So after a clean install has been performed I log in to my gmail account and there are all of my emails just as I left them.
Log into my gmail account and access all my email.
Reinstall my programs by searching gmail for program name to find activation code and download most recent version of the internet.
My documents are all saved as Google Doc and are available upon sign in
My iGoogle Page has my bookmarks to frequented sites and important information which I reference often.
And I am back working at my clean computer and I know that I have my data. Do you?
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This will be a quick post today, coming to you from Dan, via Judy Helfand in Tucson. Dan is visiting in Maine and wrote up his weekly Sunday post, but did not save it in blogger. This morning he is in Montville, walking up Hogback Mountain to see his friends. No internet connectivety in this little section. So here is an up close and personal view from Hogback Mountain. More later in the week.
Dan used his iPhone to send this photo via gMail.
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Today is the 65th Anniversary of D-Day and this past Monday Americans waited to hear the news of General Motors’ bankruptcy. Yes, the same GM whose industrial power helped our country be on the winning side in WWII. The news of this bankruptcy was startling, even though we have had so many shocking economical events in the past nine months, I feel this news hits a part of us that is not just about the economy, but our life’s memories.
If you read my Saturday post regularly, you know I am not an economist, and I do not have an MBA. I have, although, worked for major US corporations, mainly banks, and in my day was quite proficient in the automobile financing world. But today’s post is not about economics, albeit I am heartsick for all those workers impacted by this latest chapter in the American automobile industry. No, today’s blog is about my memories of GM. And so I say: Good Night GM…Que sera, sera.
For the record, my life’s memories as they relate to automobiles are not just about General Motors’ products. For example, I do remember fondly my mother learning to drive in late 1953. We had what I believe was a very used Plymouth. Then one evening in 1954 I remember my father coming home from work. When he came through the door I ran to him and grilled him, as little ones do, what had he brought us? I expected ice cream, but to my surprise, he smiled and said: “I brought you a new car!” Outside sat a brand new 1954 Plymouth sedan. It was two toned, dark brown and beige. And it was in that car in 1956 that we (our the family of six) traveled from San Diego to Great Falls, Montana, to show off our new baby brother. It was during this trip(I was 6.5 years old) that the magical car radio repeatedly played “Que Sera, Sera,” (the 1957 Academy Award winning song from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much.)
By the time we reached Montana I had memorized this wonderful song and my father happily had me sing it for his brothers and sisters! Memories.
My days and nights with General Motors began in 1959. My father traded in the 1954 Plymouth and purchased a 1959 Chevrolet Impala. It was two toned (green and white), no accounting for taste. I never cared for the color, but it seemed so fancy. In 1964 my father traded up for the latest Chevrolet Impala, four door, a really big engine, and a pale blue(Purchase price about $3800). He was beside himself. Following the General Motors’ Mantra…my father loved to see the USA in his Chevrolet. In the summer of 1964 our family made another jaunt to Montana and the song of the summer was the “The Girl from Ipanema,” which won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. I believe everyone had a love affair with this car…even Hertz featured this model in their Rent a Car ads in 1964. (I am sure the only reason I saved this ad, which you will see in my Picasa Web Slide show, from my 1965 Hilton Hotel room was because of the Impala.)
The summer of 1967 my parents drove me to college in this ’64 Impala. I wore some flowers in my hair and they dutifully dropped me at the University of San Fransisco and tried to avoid getting lost in Haight/Ashbury on their way out of town!
Here are some car facts about me:
1. Since 1968 through today I have owned 13 vehicles. 41 years…13 vehicles. Two(2) were General Motors products, three (3) were Chrysler products and eight(8) were foreign models.
2. What I love best about my General Motors vehicles is this: In 1980 we brought our new born Aaron home from the hospital in the 1979 Buick Regal and in 1984 we brought Daniel home from the hospital in our 1984 Chevrolet S10 Blazer.
3. In 1997, Dennis and I drove across country with Aaron and Daniel in our 1994 Dodge Caravan…more memories.
My friends know this about me. I am not a car person. I do not care about cars, I hate worrying about vehicle upkeep, I would love to have all of the money I have spent over the past 41 years buying, renting, leasing, insuring, and repairing vehicles. I would happily live in Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco and take mass transit. But I will never trade the memories of being brave enough to ride with my mother when she was learning to drive and I was only four, or my father settling in the driver’s seat for a Sunday drive in the country, or road trips to Montana, Las Vegas, Denali, Howe’s Cavern, the Bronx, Washington, D. C…and let’s not forget front bench seats, no seat belts, no A/C, crossing the desert with a canvas radiator bag.
So today, que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. But for some reason I cannot bear to say good-bye to GM. I will remember the great ads, Dinah Shore, and my favorite from 2002.
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
I will say good-night to GM, savor my memories and wait and hope the reinvention is successful.
P.S. Let me hear about your GM memories and enjoy my YouTube video selections and Picasa Web Album.
P. P. S. A good friend just read this blog and he reminded me that in 1960 my father purchased a used 1940 Cadillac mourning car. It had jump seats and held about 10-12 people. It was the real fore-runner in our family for a mini-van. Go to this blog post to read about my dad and see a photo of this crazy car.
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Labels are the answer to Gmail’s folder conundrum. Enabling the following lab functions in Gmail further expands the power of the label.
There are items on the Gmail POWER USER list of Gmail lab functions which I enabled in my own account to help manange email using labels. While the some of these items are self explanatory there are others that didn’t jump out at me as something I needed. Here are two that can become great tools to managing your email if you choose to use them.
Right-side Labels: With labels on the right-side you are able to view labels and email in boxes without scrolling.
Hide Unread Counts: This allows me to see how many unread messages reside with a label. For example if I have used the tag @call or _Call and there are 3 unread messages it gives me a constant reminder of what needs to be done. Make sure you keep your emails marked as unread for an accurate count.
These features enabled in Gmail can be applied to various organizational systems.
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We love gmail here at Webconsuls and I wanted to give you my tips today on how to use Gmail labs to become a Gmail POWER USER!
Step 1, Login to you gmail account and click Settings > Labs,
Offline Tasks Quicklinks Superstars Pictures in chat Signature Tweaks Right-side chat Right-side labels Hide Unread Counts Advanced IMAP Controls Canned Responses Default “Reply to all” Quote selected text Navebar drag and drop Mail Goggles Forgotten Attachment Detector Vacation Time! Custom Label Colors Mark as Read Button Go to label Multiple Inboxes Create a Document Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat Send & Archive Location in Signature Title Tweaks Google Calendar gadget Google Docs gadget Add any gadget by URL
and click save changes.
If you have not done so already you should also install Google Gears to enable many of these functionalities.
I also recommend you use Google Chrome as it works faster than lightning with all of these google apps.
One of the things I have wanted to do with my iPhone was to be able to view archived google talk chats via the device. If you are using imap, go to “Labels” under your Gmail settings you will see “Chats” but no way to select “Show in IMAP” Here is my “almost” workaround.
Once you have logged into your gmail account, click “Create a filter” (next to the search mail button) in the subject field place “Chat with” and click the “Next Step” button, check “Apply the label” and make a new label named “iChat” check “Also apply filter to X number of Conversations below.” and click “Create Filter”
Then go to “Settings”, “Labs” and make sure that you have “Advanced IMAP Controls” enabled for your account, and that you have chats set to archive. Look under “Settings” “Chat” and select “Save chat history”
Now go back to “Settings”, “Labels” and check that your new “iChat” label is set to “Show in IMAP”
On your iPhone you should now see your iChats folder when you open the email app and your chats,
Check it out and tell me if it works for you, as I am only seeing some of my chats.
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Merge your duplicate gmail contacts with this new feature found in Gmail’s Contact Manager.
1. Sign into your gmail account. Select Contacts.
2. To eradicate all the duplicates in your contact list select All Contacts.
3. Select your duplicate listings.
4. Select Merge these 2 contacts.
5. Check your entry for edits.
6. Press Save.
Merging your contacts this way is not only a convenient way to keep your database clean and organized it will prevent you from losing a contact on Google Talk. Prior to this feature I had tried to manually merge contacts together and inadvertently dropped an important Google Talk contact (sorry Dennis). Had I had this simple but necessary feature that would not have happened.
Be sure to sync and backup your phone prior to merging contacts to insure you have a current backup.
Great addition Google. Thank You.
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How does Google know?
Google is always adding and developing the services it offers for free. Sometimes I joke they are reading my emails. One day I may mention, “Gee, I would like folders for that …” and a couple weeks later, or a couple days in some cases my feature appears. Call it selective attention, hundredth monkey effect or just the natural development of software.
As I made my transition from using Outlook to only Gmail and Gmail for your domain I bemoaned the loss of adding a task and attaching the referenced email. Loved that. Needed that.
The latest addition to Google Labs is Tasks. Now located below your “Contacts” link on the left margin. This from Google:
We put your tasks in the same kind of window as chats, so they’re visible while you’re scanning your inbox, reading mail, or searching (and in Settings, too!). Just pop your list out into a new window to use Tasks outside of Gmail.
To enable Tasks, go to Settings, click the Labs tab (or just click here if you’re signed in). Select “Enable” next to “Tasks” and then click “Save Changes” at the bottom. Then, after Gmail refreshes, on the left under the “Contacts” link, you’ll see a “Tasks” link. Just click it to get started.
Tasks will allow you to create a ‘to do’ list right within Gmail.
Tasks can be generated straight from an email.
Open your email, decide you need to add this task, from the “More Actions” drop down menu now you may select “Add to Tasks”. The email will be added to your Task list with the subject line listed in your queue of things to do.
If you have your shortcuts enabled in Labs you can do this with Control + t, also:
Tasks can be prioritized. Tasks allows you to break down a project into manageable steps.
The Task window can pop-out and become a whole new window.
So while Google is possibly listening (and when aren’t they) here is my wish list for Tasks:
1. An iPhone application to see and use my Tasks list on the go
2. Ability to combine Tasks lists from other gmail accounts into one master list
3. Add due dates for Tasks to Google Calendar
What do you want Tasks to do next?
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The other day I signed into my Gmail account and noticed a new link at the top of the page. The link says: “New! Video chat.” Usually I learn about new Gmail tools from Webconsuls’ technical director, Darin McClure. What crossed my mind is why hasn’t Darin sent me or us an email extolling the virtues of this new tool. Not like Darin to not jump on a Gmail bandwagon. Hmmm! I even reviewed the Webconsuls’ blog to make sure I hadn’t missed a blog about this new tool. Couldn’t find anything.
I ignored the bold red font, “New! Video chat” for a few days, but yesterday I was a little curious. So, I clicked on the link. This is what I learned: * Voice and video in Gmail only works with the newer version of Gmail in supported browsers: FF 2.0+, IE 6.0+, Safari 3.0+, and Google Chrome. * Download the Gmail voice and video chat plug-in, quit all open browser windows, and install the plug-in. * Sign in to Gmail. * In the Chat section of your Gmail, select the contact you want to call. If they have a camera icon next to their name, you can make a voice or video call to them; just click Video & more.
Now the first thing to remember is that you need to have a web-cam. If you don’t have a web-cam, then Google has made it easy for you to purchase one. According to their site: “We tried to make buying a web-cam easier by working with Logitech and Buy.com to offer high quality cameras at up to 30% off with free shipping until November 30th, 2008.” The prices quoted range from $39.99 to $89.99. But, not to worry, I already have a web-cam, so I was good to go.
My browsers met the requirements, I downloaded the Gmail voice and video chat plug-in, I quit all open browsers, and I installed the plug-in! I signed in to my Gmail account and lo and behold, there I was in a little window…Judy at work! Great, right? Here is what I noticed: 1. My Web-cam sits right on top of my monitor, so I could see myself very clearly, but I could also see my co-worker, Dennis, at work at his computer desk. You see when we are both working my back is to him, a kind of “what I don’t see won’t hurt me” position. But now I could clearly see him working away. 2. I could also see the little camera icon next to my name in the “Chat” box on my Gmail page, but interestingly enough the only associate with a camera icon next to their name was Malik. I could see that Malik was on-line so I tried to connect with him with video chat. Well, he could chat, but what I discovered is that he was experiencing problems with Video Chat. To quote Malik: “crashes my browser every time though”. Not good and I read on-line that other users were experiencing this problem. Bugs!!
You need to be aware that this new tool is being rolled out by Google, which means not everyone has access to the new tool at the same time. Don’t assume that because you have access that all of your friends can access it, just yet.
Here is my first take on this tool: Fun tool. Free tool, unless you need to buy a web-cam. I don’t really know if it will take the place of Skype, as Google video chat does not allow you to connect to landlines, but it is one more tool for the tool box. Whether it will be the sharpest tool in the box remains to be seen. Also, I noticed that once you have downloaded this new tool, there does not seem to be a way to just “turn it off” should you not want to be contacted via video chat. This is a little disconcerting, but maybe I just haven’t played with it enough. I do know that the software is not activated unless you are signed in to your Gmail account, so maybe that feature is the main “shut-off” valve. In other words, you can be signed out of your Gmail account and still be running “Google Talk” on your desktop and chat with friends and co-workers the old fashioned way, sans webcam.
According to the official Gmail blog: ‘Once you install the plug-in, to start a video chat, just click on the “Video & more” menu at the bottom of your Gmail chat window, and choose “Start video chat.” You’ll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable while it’s ringing, and then you’ll see and hear your friend live, right from within Gmail.’ The operative phrase in this statement is: “You’ll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable.” Yikes!!!
Here is the bottom line: if you are always signed into you Gmail account, the webcam is running and you better be prepared for your friends and co-workers to want to video chat with you. You better keep your desk straightened, your hair combed and not be wearing your PJs at 3:00PM.
For the record, I un-installed the “plug-in” yesterday, because I don’t want to be the first one on my block to use this software…I am going to wait for Darin, Lisa, Dick, Dennis, Malik, Keith, Dan and Dennis to “plug-in”. I don’t want to be the cheerleader and I am still wondering why the usual cheerleaders are not cheering…just yet. To learn more, view the video below and I promise to keep you posted on this new tool. Let me know what you think by posting a comment here.
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Spam comes at us from many directions. It is estimated that on any given day 88% to 98% of emails sent across the internets are spam or virus laden. That begs the question, how good are your filters? Do you get 1 bad email a day? an hour? a week? Or has email become such a wasteland of spam that you no longer bother to read it and go directly to instant messaging or Facebook and Twitter. It looks to me like Sarah Palin needs to check her filters, as no “Flapper” should have ever let that kind of call thru. (a Flapper being the human equivalent of a filter.)
As Sarah found out, it is a good idea to check your filter regularly. Like your car, not just to see what has been caught, but also to decide if too much junk is getting thru.
Here at Webconsuls we use GMail for our domain email. Today I bet Palin wishes Google had a service that could filter her calls, perhaps when Grand Central comes outa beta. .
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Yesterday my associate posted about Google Goggles. He explained how to enable the tool. I actually prepared my thoughts for this post on Thursday and then Keith beat me to it, but since it is Saturday morning, I thought I would weigh in on this subject anyway.
Wednesday evening I was up late and to tell the truth I don’t know if I learned of Google’s Goggles on a television ad or on a cable news story. Based on this admission I probably need a pair of Google’s Goggles. Here is the scoop: Google operates what they refer to as Gmail labs. Google has a number of techies that come up with interesting ideas and if the idea has some merit they throw it out there for their Gmail customers to “try out” in a Beta version. According to Goggles’ developer, Jon Perlow, “When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you are really sure you want to send that late night Friday email. And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click send to verify you are in the right state of mind?”
OK, we have probably all sent out emails late at night when we are tired, overworked, enraged about life, but at the same time we have probably all been recipients of these types of emails. These late night communications provide interesting entertainment, not to mention insight into our emailing buddies.
Why do people send emails late at night or in the wee hours of the morning? Certainly it is not always a case of too many drinks as some commentators have stated. My experience is that many people do tend to work late at night. It is the quietest time with children safely in bed, co-workers hopefully not chatting incessantly, the pets not running wild, and the phone is quiet. When I worked as a business analyst and project manager for Mercury Insurance Services, we were expected to work from home after-hours. Yes, we were paid for 40 hours, but were told in no uncertain terms that if we had a deliverable deadline we must work at home. Most nights I would arrive home from the office around 6:00PM, dutifully make the family dinner, clean up the kitchen, throw a load of laundry in the washing machine, and then quietly go into my home office and fire-up the laptop. It was not unusual for me to work until 1:00am or even 2:00am writing technical documents. Very often I would email these documents to my fellow team members in the middle of the night. Why? Well, emailing the document gave me a sense of completing a task, as well as a feeling of starting the next work day 5 hours later with a cleaner slate. But imagine my shock when after sending the late night email many of my co-workers would respond immediately with an email that usually contained this phrase: “You’re still up, too?” As a by-product, this practice allowed us the opportunity to document the number of hours we were really spending on a project! Just for the record, this project began in January 2003 and was to be completed in three years. It is now October 2008 and the project is still going strong. So much for project management.
While Google’s Goggles is very clever, doesn’t it really imply that we are not mature enough to reasonably manage our email etiquette? People’s entire careers and companies have imploded because of email records. So why aren’t we more careful about the content of our emails? Who the heck knows, but here is rule I try to follow. Years ago I reported directly to the president of a bank, Willard (Bill) Bromage. Our means of communicating with peers, subordinates and superiors was to write a memo. One day I handed him a copy of a memo I proposed to send to the struggling IT department. He read the memo and advised: “Save this document for three days. Keep it here on your desk. In three days re-read your document. If, at that time, you still feel committed to your written word, then by all means mail it.”
Good advice, don’t you think? The difference between Bill Bromage’s advice and Google’s Jon Perlow’s “math test” is that Bill wanted you to consider the content of your communication, Perlow is assuming that if you can solve in 45 seconds three or four simple math equations (and I do mean simple) then you must be of sound enough mind to communicate in wee hours of the morning. In fact, Jon Perlow states in the Gmail “settings” for Google Goggles: “Google strives to make the world’s information useful. Mail you send late night on the weekends may be useful but you may regret it the next morning. Solve some simple math problems and you’re good to go. Otherwise, get a good night’s sleep and try again in the morning. After enabling this feature, you can adjust the schedule in the “General” settings page.” Interestingly Bromage had a three day rule, while Perlow has a three math problem solving rule.
A word of caution: try never to ASSUME. Happy Saturday!
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Ok, so you have taken our advice and you have decided to dip your toes into the growing “Social Environment” on the internet. How do you keep the nudges, zombie attacks, and status updates (AKA BACON) from making your work or personal email box unmanageable?
That is EASY!
I sign up for all my new “Social accounts” with a gmail address I use for just for this reason. That way if an email comes into my work account I can be fairly certain that it will be “Ham” (Thanks to Gmail for Your Domain) and I should check to make sure it is not a fire that needs my immediate attention. Now if I see an email come to my “Social accounts gmail address” I can digg thru all the “Bacon” at my leisure.
Use this tip and your “Bacon” will never become your new “Spam”
Watch this Youtube video and learn how to set up Gmail IMAP on the iPhone in one minute and thirty six seconds.
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Want simple, powerful communication and collaboration tools for your organization without the usual hassle and cost?
Give your users Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk accounts that use your own domain, helping them to stay connected and work together more effectively.
Collaborate and publish…
Docs & Spreadsheets lets users share files and collaborate in real-time. The Start Page is the first place your users will look to preview their inboxes and calendars, access your essential content, and search the web.
…and get on with business.
It’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software to install or download, and minimal setup and maintenance. You can get up and running quickly, even if you don’t have technical resources.
And Webconsuls is there to help if you would like to make the move.
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The Premier Edition offers the best of Google Apps. If you’re looking to complement your existing IT infrastructure (account management system and/or Intranet), you can access extensibility APIs to integrate your entire organization with Google services.
Some features include:
* $50/user account/year
* 10GB mailboxes
* User account provisioning
* Single sign-on
* Email gateway
* Email whitelist
* No ads displayed on Google services
* Access to Google partners
Google offers 24/7 assistance, including telephone support for critical issues. Google Apps Premier Edition also includes a 99.9% uptime guarantee for Gmail.
Just when you think you have Outlook all figured out, Along comes Outlook Express whose port settings are upside down from Outlook!
Tools > Accounts > Mail Tab > Select Your Gmail for your domain account > Properties
Your Outlook Express settings should match.
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Google Talk is Google’s instant communications service. Like Gmail, Google’s free webmail service, Google Talk uses Google’s innovative technologies to help people communicate more effectively and efficiently. This means Google Talk is fast, intuitive and fun to use.
It also means you can start thinking about instant communications in a new way. Google Talk offers you different ways to integrate real time communications into your online experience. The Google Talk Gadget lets you see who’s online and send instant messages from your Google Personalized Homepage, without installing any software. You can also add the same instant messaging capabilities to your own webpage or blog by cutting and pasting a single line of code. And by downloading the Google Talk Client, you can make voice calls and transfer files to your friends.
And if you use Gmail, Google Talk offers you even more. You’ll find all of your Gmail contacts organized in your Talk contacts list. Gmail also archives all of your Google Talk chats and makes them searchable. And since Google Talk is integrated into Gmail, you’ll be able to chat with all your Talk contacts there, too.
You can use the following information to configure POP with many mail clients. If you encounter difficulties, Click here for help.
Incoming Mail (POP3) Server – requires SSL:
pop.gmail.com Use SSL: Yes Port: 995
Outgoing Mail (SMTP) Server – requires TLS:
smtp.gmail.com (use authentication) Use Authentication: Yes Use STARTTLS: Yes (some clients call this SSL) Port: 465 or 587
your Webconsuls email address (email@example.com)
your full Webconsuls email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
your Webconsuls password
You can even set this up and test Outlook prior to the email move if you have enabled POP thru the Webconsuls Start Page.
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At Webconsuls we know good technology when we use it. That is why we have moved our email to “Gmail for your domain”. Gmail for your domain is hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software for you to install or maintain. Each email address gets 2 gigabytes of storage, spam and virus filtering, with search tools that will help find information fast. Instant messaging from right inside the account so that it’s easy for everyone to work as a team.
There is even more cool new functionality!
A customizable start page, http://start.webconsuls.com/
A brandable mail page, http://mail.webconsuls.com/
A place to share documents across the desktop or across the globe, http://docs.webconsuls.com/
And a place to share and keep track of those important appointments, http://calendar.webconsuls.com/
Visit our Help Center to find specific answers to all your questions.
Users have often told us that the more they use Gmail, the more they discover its benefits. So go ahead and give it a try. We’ll keep working on making Gmail the best email service around, and we appreciate your joining us for the ride.