This blog series is meant to provide information for entrepreneurs and business owners that may not be familiar with the free basic productivity applications available with your personal Google Account. It is intended to help those searching for cost-effective solutions to managing their projects on a shoestring budget.

Google Gmail, the third blog in a series of posts about Project Management with Google Apps.

Gmail is a cloud-based email application and is one of Google’s oldest and most popular products available on the internet. It was first launched in 2004 and is used today by over one billion people worldwide. This free email service offers innovative features that help to increase your productivity through the integration of other Google Apps included with your Google Account. As mentioned in the previous blog posts about your Google Account, you get 15 GB of storage for free that is shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

Gmail is best known for having the best email spam filter algorithm available. It keeps your inbox free of spam by filtering each message that passes Google’s data centers. Hundreds of rules are applied to each message to detect the likelihood of spam content, then the message is screened through various levels of spam filters. One of the ways that Google identifies spam content is from user feedback. Users help by flagging specific emails as spam and that marked data is applied to the Gmail servers to help protect all users from similar messages.

Some of the basic filtering features of Gmail that can help you to be more productive and organized and reduce clutter in your inbox, include categories, labels, and stars. Categories are used to separate incoming email into different locations in your Gmail app, based on the content of the information in the message received. You are provided with predetermined categories consisting of Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. Labels are equivalent to folders that you can use to customize storage filters for specific email messages and topics. Gmail allows multiple labels to be applied to a single email, which would be useful if you need to organize common information about multiple projects that require various sub-folders assigned to several team members. Stars allow you to filter your most important emails to be able to find them quickly. This marking system can be customized by color and various icons to work with several messages with different importance levels.

In April 2018, Google updated the Gmail application to enhance its productivity options and increase the security of your messages. If you are a current Gmail user and haven’t switched to the updated version yet, click on the settings button in upper right corner (of older version) and select ‘Try the new Gmail’. Along with an updated interface, there are many new features and integration capabilities available, including confidential mode, new phishing protections, improved task integration, and easy access to frequently used Google tools.

Confidential mode allows you more control to protect sensitive content in the emails you send by giving you the ability to create expiration dates and requiring authentication by the recipient who is invited to access the message. The new phishing protections include informing you of potentially risky email entering your inbox with bigger and bolder security warnings with clearer calls to action.

Google’s Task app is now integrated with Gmail to allow you to build to-do lists based on email messages where you can create sub-tasks under different categories and mark agenda items when completed by the set due date. You will also find an optional side panel to easily access your Google Calendar, Keep, and Task list without having to toggle between the different tools.

In my research of these exciting new features and tools, I have read claims that they will make your digital communications more private and more secure. One important point I’d like to stress is that when working with anything that is internet-based, security and privacy of your data is always a concern. Nothing on the internet is ever 100% safe and there is always the potential for your internet traffic to be compromised. Cybersecurity is beyond the scope of this blog series, but having some knowledge of how things work behind the scenes can help you to protect your data better. It’s always a good idea to become familiar with the security and privacy policies of any software tools you choose to use.

Further information about Google Gmail can be found in the following references:

Tune in to the next blog for information about Google Calendar.

Categories: Resources

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