Heard of GMail?

There are many interesting things about GMail, so this is either going to be a long post or one of a series. First things first: GMail is now my primary email provider. Yes, you heard that right. It's free, does a great job with spam and I can continue to use Outlook. Life is good.

First of all, what is GMail (for those of you who have been living under a rock!) GMail is Google's free, web based, email service. Its major claim to fame, at least initially, was the 1 Gig of free Mail storage they provide. Kind of amazing isn't it? When it first came out, that got all the attention. In fact it seems to have forced Hotmail and Yahoo mail to increase the amount of free storage they provide. I don't believe that they are up to 1 Gig though.

But that's not what attracted me. My issue was spam. I was running on a private mail server which didn't have a spam filter. Instead, I ran Matador's Mail Front, which is a very effective client solution. But what you really want is a server side solution. In my case, the reason was that I also download email to my Treo phone, directly from the server, and hence, no spam filter: phone is flooded with junk mail.

So as an experiment, I redirected all my email to my GMail account, and then used GMail's new free POP service, to pull that email into Outlook as well as into the phone. Sweet!

GMail, with no training, was catching spam with what feels like 99% accuracy. Other than that, my Outlook experience is unchanged, and my Treo phone based email is much much better (no spam.)I recommend it.

Interesting questions to ponder: How can they afford to give me all this service for free? What might their long term stragegy be? Whats the story with the GMail invites and how do you get one?