Gmail for Business

Besides being the most popular personal email platform in the world, Gmail is also an excellent choice for those who are looking for a reliable email tool for business. Gmail for Work is Google’s own platform dedicated to corporate use.

This tool has a wide range of features that make corporate communication a breeze.
From the ability to set your own sender address to an unparalleled spam filter, Gmail for Work is a top business choice. This service is an alternative to Office365 Small Business Outlook, which has similar features and may be cheaper if you do not need the entire Office Suite. Even though Gmail for work has quite a few benefits, there are cons of using it as well, including limited storage space and the absence of a Word-editor function. This guide offers you multiple tips and trick to get the most of this Google service.
Why Choose Gmail for Work
You may wonder why you should go for Gmail for Work when the regular Gmail offers such a wide range of features. The truth is Gmail for Work offers a multitude of other features that set it apart from a free of charge account. Below are just some of the most important ones:
•    The ability to set your own the sender address (yourname@yourdomain.com)
•    You can access your emails online from any computer
•    Emails synchronized on your smartphone (Android and iPhone) with the ability to view them offline
•    Unmatched spam filter
•    A high-performance search tool to find the email you need when you need it.
•    24/7 phone and email support.
•    Ability to host a video meeting with up to 15 people right from your inbox.

Get Started with Google Apps and Payment Plans
This quick step-by-step tutorial shows you how to get started with a Gmail business account. You will also learn how to receive and send messages from your personalized email address.
1.    Sign up for Gmail for Work here.
2.    Create a new Gmail account by providing all your personal details as well as some details about your business or organization.

3.    Use a domain you already own, or buy one from Google during this step.
4.    Create a new Google Apps account with a new username and password. Read the terms and conditions when prompted and accept them. Your account is now ready to use.
Choose a Payment Plan
Each user gets a 30-day free trial when signing up for Google for Work. After this period, you need to choose one of the two payment plans available.
•    Flexible plan – suitable for those who do not want a long time commitment, this plan costs $5 per month as of 2015, and you pay for it on a monthly basis.
•    Annual plan – this plan is ideal for those who already know they are going to use the service for longer periods. For this plan, you need to sign a one-year contract and pay on a monthly basis. The monthly amount is $4.17.
After choosing your preferred plan, enter a payment method and the details of your business for invoicing.
Set Up Your Business Address in Gmail
To start receiving mails from your personalized emails address in your Gmail inbox, follow these steps:
1.    Create an email address on the domain you want to use. If you already have one, go to step 2.
2.    Log in to your newly created Gmail account.
3.    Go to Gmail Settings
4.    Click on the “Accounts and Import”.
5.    Click on “Add a Pop3 email account”.
6.    Enter the information required and the password of your email account.
7.    Click “Add Account” to finalize the operation.
8.    You will receive an email to confirm your address in your Gmail account. Follow the instructions to confirm the address you want to associate with Gmail is your own.
That’s it. You can now use your personalized email address to receive and send business emails from your Gmail account.

Set Up a Business Signature with WiseStamp
Save time when sending emails with a business signature that you can include in all the messages you send. WiseStamp is one of the easiest ways to do this. WiseStamp adds a signature in your emails, as well as links to your various profiles on social networks. This is an extension you can add to your browser. WiseStamp works with Google Chrome and Firefox.
1.    Go to the business WiseStamp website and click on “Try Now for Free”.
2.    Enter your info in the window that pops up to start a free trial. You are required to provide your name, email address, phone number, and company size.
3.    Choose your signature and the places you want to use it. By default, it will be used for all the email addresses associated with your Gmail account. If you want to use it only with a specific email address, go to “Email address settings” to make the changes.
4.    If you choose a Pro account, you can create multiple signatures and switch between them according to your needs.

Manage Your Google Apps for Work Tools
When you sign up for Gmail for Work, you also get access to the admin console powered by Google Apps, from where you can create company profiles, manage your devices and your apps, add or delete users and more. To see your business Google Apps and manage them, follow these steps:
1.    Go to the admin console of the account, and click on Google Apps.
2.    The default apps are Contacts, Calendar, Groups for Business, Google Drive, Google Talk/Hangouts and Mobile Sites. Decide which apps you want turned on.
3.    Add multiple apps to your account by clicking on “Additional Google Services.” Some of the apps you can choose from include Google Adsense, Blogger, Chrome Management, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google Developers Console, Google Chrome Sync, Google Photos, Google Payments, Google+ and YouTube.
With the help of Google Apps for business, you get a digital corporate centre that incorporates all the tools you need to manage a business. Moreover, the use of this platform increases the efficiency of collaboration with your business partners, allows for effective social media marketing, and lets you keep every aspect of your business well organized. Google Apps for Business is a flexible and versatile product that is easy to use even for those who do not have too much digital experience.

Let’s Get Personal

If you’re a fan of customizing everything that has pixels, the first thing you may want to do after setting up a new Gmail account is to make it your own.

From using your own photos as a theme for your inbox to playing with the fonts for your emails, there are numerous options available for those who want to stand out from the crowd. The guide below will help you get the best results when personalizing your Gmail account with some little-known tips and tricks.
Change the Gmail Theme
Spruce up your inbox by choosing one of the colourful high-definition themes offered by Google, which range from classic offerings to beautiful landscapes.

1.    Log in into your Gmail account and click the gear icon in the top right corner of the screen.
2.    Select “Themes” from the drop-down menu.

3.    Browse through the selection of pre-made themes on offer. If you want a theme with a design that changes throughout the day depending on weather and time, look for the themes with a small clock icon in the right bottom corner of the thumbnail image. The black and white thumbnail corners indicate whether the background of the theme is light or dark.
4.    If you cannot decide what theme would work best for you, click on “Random” to have Google make the decision for you.
Smart Tip: Google offers region-based themes as well. To see the themes available for your country/area, go at the bottom of the page and select your country from the drop-down list. The region-based themes should now appear with the other ones.
5.    Select the theme you want to use, and click on it. Google changes it automatically, so you don’t have to click on anything else.

Personalize Gmail with Your Own Photo
If none of Gmail’s themes suits your taste, you can choose to create your own. Google allows you to customize the look of the main area and footer of the Gmail page with photos from your Picasa account. Follow these simple steps to do it:
1.    Click on the little gear button in the upper right side of the Gmail account.
2.    Choose “Mail Settings”, then navigate to “Themes”. Next, scroll down and click on the “Create Your Own Theme” button.
3.    Choose one of the photos in your Picasa account or upload a new one.
Smart Tip: Gmail has its own crop that allows you for fiddle with the picture until you find the right position for it. You may also want to fiddle with text colours and size to make everything legible.

Personalize Your Emails
If you don’t like the default format of your emails, which admittedly can become quite boring at times, there are ways to beautify them. For best results, use an email design tool such as Flashissue, which can make your marketing emails look aesthetically pleasing. Using this tool can also provide you with other interesting features, including analytics that show you who is clicking and reading your emails.
Change the Default Text Settings
A simple, yet effective way of customizing your emails is to change the default text settings. Here’s how to do it in a couple of simple steps:
1.    In your Gmail account, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and go to “Settings.”
2.    Go to the “Default Text Style” field and choose your preferred text size, font, and colour. Check out how the text will look like preview box under the settings.
3.    Click on “Save Changes” and you’re done. The changes are valid for all your new messages and your replies.

Customize Your Signature
Gmail allows you to have a signature that is included at the end of each of the emails you send. To add a signature, go to “Settings” and select “Signature”. Add your preferred text and click on “Save Changes”. Note that you can also choose to insert images or links in your signature.

Smart Tip: Use an extension such as HelloSign to use an electronic signature for your emails.
Replace Buttons With Text
Your Gmail account has buttons as default for the main functions. You can see these on top of the page, above your emails. If you think these images are not as explicit as you would like them, you can change them with text. To do so, go to “Settings”, then “General” and click on “Label” buttons. A new row of buttons will be created, this time with words instead of icons.
Display a Virtual Keyboard
Useful for those who would like to the possibility of handwriting when using Gmail on a tablet or for those who often use special characters, the virtual keyboard is one of those little hidden secrets of Gmail. With this keyboard, you get access to thousands of characters that are not present on your regular keyboard. Activate it by going to “Settings” > “General” > “Language” > “Enable Input Tools”. Once activated, you can opt to change the language directly from the virtual keyboard, which comes in handy when you have to type special characters for foreign words.

Make Use of the Gmail Rich Text Editor
With the help of the Gmail rich text editor, you can create stylish and professional emails. The default text editor that you see when you first set up your Gmail account only gives you access to a couple of formatting tools. With the rich text editor, however, you get so many more customizable options. To bring out the rich text editor, follow these steps:
1.    In your inbox, click on “Compose”.
2.    In the window that pops up, there is an icon with an underlined capital A next to the send button at the footer of the window. Click on it to activate the rich text editor.
3.    Play with the font size, colour and style of the letters to personalize the look of your message. Bullet points and number lists are further options for a well-organized email.

Source: login-email.net/

Gmail Customization Guide

All of us spend quite a lot of time using our email. If you’re a Gmail user, some hidden gems within Gmail can upgrade your experience.

Since its release in 2007, Gmail has come a long way and amassed approximately half a billion active users due to its impressive features that include an easily searchable inbox and free online storage. Even though Gmail is an outstanding service on its own, there are numerous customization tips and tricks that can help you improve its efficiency for both home and work use. Follow the tips in the guide below to get the most out of your email service.

Optimize Your Inbox

The first step to a well-organized inbox is learning how to use the built-in keyboard shortcuts provided by Gmail. Even though it may take you a while to master them, shortcuts can make your life a lot easier, and what’s best, they are highly customizable, which means you can truly call your Gmail inbox your own.

Gmail has a couple of shortcuts enabled by default, but to get the most of this function, you need to turn on the full set of keyboard commands. Do so by clicking on the gear icon at the top right of the inbox. Go to “Settings”, then “General” and go to the “Keyboard Shortcuts” section. Click on the “Learn More” button to get familiar with some of the basic functions, and make sure that the bullet beside “Keyboard shortcuts on” is selected.

Now you are ready to use your keyboard to compose emails straight from your inbox. Some of the most helpful commands available include:

  • r – reply to the email you are currently reading
  • [ – archive the email you are reading and opens the next one
  • l – add a label to the current email
  • k and j – go back and forth new and older emails
  • / – place your cursor in the search box.

To change the existing keyboard shortcuts and add others, turn on the custom keyboard shortcuts in the Gmail Labs settings. Here, you can change the settings according to your own preferences. For example, you could change [ to n to get to the next email if it’s easier for you.

Set Up Gmail Auto Reply

Setting an auto reply message is important for those moments you spend away from work. If you’re planning to get on a vacation, let your co-workers and customers know when you’ll be back with an auto reply message. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the Gmail inbox and click on “Settings.”
  2. Look under the General Tab and select the “Vacation responder” bullet.
  3. Fill in the details of the message and select the dates you’ll be away from work. You can choose to send the message to everyone who emails you during this period, or only to your contacts.

Smart Tip: Keep your auto reply message short and sweet. If it’s a business email, remain professional and don’t include personal information. A generic response is the ideal solution in most situations.

Selectively Auto-Reply with a Canned Response

Most people are not aware of this function of Gmail, which comes in quite handy when you’re the kind of person who has to deal with lots of emails that ask the same thing. This function basically allows you to auto-reply to messages that match certain criteria determined by you with a canned response. For example, you may want to send a response to those who send unsolicited press releases or other marketing material to your personal inbox.

Canned responses are available as a filter in Gmail, so go to “Settings” then “Filters” and check the box near “Send canned response”. Here you can create a new canned response or manage your existent ones.

Turn on Personal Level Indicators

This rather unknown feature in Gmail lets you know if an email is intended just for you, multiple people, or simply a mailing list. Take a quick look at the yellow markers before the name of the sender in your inbox. Inside them, there are a couple of yellow markers. You may think that they are there to call your attention to the message, but in fact, they are personal indicators that let you know if you’re the only recipient of the email or not. No arrows means that the email was sent to a mailing list, one arrow indicates that it was sent to a group of people, and two arrows means it was only sent to you.

Go to “Settings” and then to the General Tab to turn on personal indicators.

Get All Your Emails to One Address

Most people have multiple email addresses, so at times it may be difficult to keep track of all of them. Put an end to the time-consuming hassle of signing in and out of all of your work and personal emails by using Gmail’s function that allows you to put emails from up to five other accounts into the same inbox. The emails do not have to be from Google accounts to add them via this function.

  1. Go to “Settings”, and then click on the “Accounts and Import” tab.
  2. Go to the “Check mail from other accounts” section and next click on “Add a POP3 mail account you own.”
  3. Set up the email account you wish to receive your emails from. Optionally, you can use multiple inboxes to see the activity from different accounts at a glance.

Customize or Disable the Tabbed Inbox

Gmail offers a feature that includes tabs for email categorization. The available tabs are Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums, but users do not have to use them all, or at all. If you do not like this feature, the good news is that you can disable it. Click on “Settings”, go to the “Configure Inbox” tab, and then uncheck all tabs except for “Primary”. This will bring back the one-boxed interface that was the Gmail standard before the implementation of the tabbed system, and all your emails will get in the same place.
Source: login-email.net

Gmail App Guide

Reading your emails on a smartphone or tablet has become the norm these days. Whether you own an Android tablet or an iPad, the Gmail app is one of the most downloaded and used apps on your device.

 

 

The app comes already installed on Android devices, and you can easily download and install it for Apple devices from the App Store. The Gmail app comes with a wealth of features, so reading more about how to customize it can help you get the most of it.
Set Up an Account with the Gmail Mobile App
This guide uses an Android interface, but the Gmail app is very similar for iOS devices as well. Tap on the Gmail app on your mobile device. By default, it opens to the Inbox. The menu is located in the upper left corner of the screen. Tap on it to set up your email account.

1.    Tap on the Gmail menu and scroll down to “Settings”.
2.    Tap on “Settings”, and then on “Add account”.

3.    On the next page, select the type of email you want to set up. You can choose between a Gmail email or a personal email. Tap on “Next”.
4.    If you select a Google Account, enter your Gmail email and tap “Next”. Enter your password on the next screen.
5.    If you select another type of email, enter the email address when prompted and tap on “Next”. You will be redirected to the website of your email provider if using a service such as Yahoo or AOL. For other types of emails such as custom domain ones, use the manual function to set them up.

Customize the Gmail Mobile App
Once the account is set up, you can see all your messages and contacts. By default, the Gmail app shows the Primary inbox as the first screen. Tap on the menu button to change the settings, add labels, refresh the inbox, and more.

1.    Tap on “General Settings” in the Gmail mobile app menu to change the settings. Options include archiving and deleting messages, swiping to archive, reply all, auto-advance, and more. Press “Back” once you are done to return to “Settings”. Tap the “Back” button again to return to the Inbox.
2.    To change the settings for a specific account, go to “Settings”, and tap on the desired account. Here you can change the way you receive notifications, update your signature, and set up a vacation responder.
3.    To set up labels for your emails, go to “Menu” and tap on “Label settings”. Here you can set up label notifications, assign sounds for different labels, set up vibrations for labels and opt to get a notification for every message.
Compose an Email in the Gmail Mobile App
To compose an email in the Gmail Mobile App, follow these steps:

1.    Open the Gmail app and select the account from where you want to send the email.
2.    Tap on the pencil sign in the right bottom corner of the screen. This opens a new message.
3.    Enter the “To” email address and the subject line.
4.    Compose your email.
5.    If you have an automatic signature set up on the account, this will be added as well.
6.    Tap the arrow in the upper right corner of the screen to send the message.

Customize Your Messages
To read emails easily on the phone, use the handy Auto Fit and Zoom feature integrated in the Gmail App. This function allows you to have emails with special and large characters fitted to the size of your screen. To activate it, got to “Settings” > “General Settings” > “Auto-Fit Messages”. If you are still not happy with the size of the text in the emails you receive, try to change the font size from the menu of the phone. Do this by going to “Settings” > “Display” > “Font Size”.

Search Through Your Emails
If you need to find an email quickly with the Gmail app, open the app, select your preferred account and tap on the magnifying glass icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Enter your search term and tap the Enter key on the virtual keyboard, or the small magnifying glass on it. When you start to type your search term, suggestions appear as you type so you can easily find what you need.
Mute a Thread
The Gmail app makes it easy to mute a thread that you no longer want to be a part of or which you find annoying. To do this, open the message you want to mute, and tap the three dot menu in the upper right hand of the screen. Select “Mute” and that’s it.
Sync your Messages
The Gmail app syncs only your inbox by default, but you can set it up to sync some or all of your labels automatically as well. To do so, tap the menu button, go to “Settings”, and select a Gmail account. Next, go to “Data Usage” and tap on the “Manage labels” button. Select your preferred labels, and tap “Sync messages”. You will be given the option of synchronizing messages from the last 30 days or all messages. Tap on the preferred option to complete the sync.
Attach Files to Your Messages
The Google Gmail App allows you to attach files such as documents or pictures to your emails. What many people don’t know is that you can send very large files as well, up to a few GBs, with help from Google Drive. Follow the next steps to do so.
1.    Open the Google Drive app on your phone and drag the file you want to attach to the email onto the web page to upload it.
2.    Open the Gmail App and compose a new message.
3.    Tap the “Attach” button that looks like a paperclip on top of the screen.
4.    Tap “Insert from Drive”
5.    Select the file you want to attach, and tap the “Select” button.

Source: login-email.net

Let’s Get Personal

If you’re a fan of customizing everything that has pixels, the first thing you may want to do after setting up a new Gmail account is to make it your own.

 

From using your own photos as a theme for your inbox to playing with the fonts for your emails, there are numerous options available for those who want to stand out from the crowd. The guide below will help you get the best results when personalizing your Gmail account with some little-known tips and tricks.
Change the Gmail Theme
Spruce up your inbox by choosing one of the colourful high-definition themes offered by Google, which range from classic offerings to beautiful landscapes.

1.    Log in into your Gmail account and click the gear icon in the top right corner of the screen.
2.    Select “Themes” from the drop-down menu.

3.    Browse through the selection of pre-made themes on offer. If you want a theme with a design that changes throughout the day depending on weather and time, look for the themes with a small clock icon in the right bottom corner of the thumbnail image. The black and white thumbnail corners indicate whether the background of the theme is light or dark.
4.    If you cannot decide what theme would work best for you, click on “Random” to have Google make the decision for you.
Smart Tip: Google offers region-based themes as well. To see the themes available for your country/area, go at the bottom of the page and select your country from the drop-down list. The region-based themes should now appear with the other ones.
5.    Select the theme you want to use, and click on it. Google changes it automatically, so you don’t have to click on anything else.

Personalize Gmail with Your Own Photo
If none of Gmail’s themes suits your taste, you can choose to create your own. Google allows you to customize the look of the main area and footer of the Gmail page with photos from your Picasa account. Follow these simple steps to do it:
1.    Click on the little gear button in the upper right side of the Gmail account.
2.    Choose “Mail Settings”, then navigate to “Themes”. Next, scroll down and click on the “Create Your Own Theme” button.
3.    Choose one of the photos in your Picasa account or upload a new one.
Smart Tip: Gmail has its own crop that allows you for fiddle with the picture until you find the right position for it. You may also want to fiddle with text colours and size to make everything legible.

Personalize Your Emails
If you don’t like the default format of your emails, which admittedly can become quite boring at times, there are ways to beautify them. For best results, use an email design tool such as Flashissue, which can make your marketing emails look aesthetically pleasing. Using this tool can also provide you with other interesting features, including analytics that show you who is clicking and reading your emails.
Change the Default Text Settings
A simple, yet effective way of customizing your emails is to change the default text settings. Here’s how to do it in a couple of simple steps:
1.    In your Gmail account, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and go to “Settings.”
2.    Go to the “Default Text Style” field and choose your preferred text size, font, and colour. Check out how the text will look like preview box under the settings.
3.    Click on “Save Changes” and you’re done. The changes are valid for all your new messages and your replies.

Customize Your Signature
Gmail allows you to have a signature that is included at the end of each of the emails you send. To add a signature, go to “Settings” and select “Signature”. Add your preferred text and click on “Save Changes”. Note that you can also choose to insert images or links in your signature.

Smart Tip: Use an extension such as HelloSign to use an electronic signature for your emails.

Replace Buttons With Text
Your Gmail account has buttons as default for the main functions. You can see these on top of the page, above your emails. If you think these images are not as explicit as you would like them, you can change them with text. To do so, go to “Settings”, then “General” and click on “Label” buttons. A new row of buttons will be created, this time with words instead of icons.
Display a Virtual Keyboard
Useful for those who would like to the possibility of handwriting when using Gmail on a tablet or for those who often use special characters, the virtual keyboard is one of those little hidden secrets of Gmail. With this keyboard, you get access to thousands of characters that are not present on your regular keyboard. Activate it by going to “Settings” > “General” > “Language” > “Enable Input Tools”. Once activated, you can opt to change the language directly from the virtual keyboard, which comes in handy when you have to type special characters for foreign words.

Make Use of the Gmail Rich Text Editor
With the help of the Gmail rich text editor, you can create stylish and professional emails. The default text editor that you see when you first set up your Gmail account only gives you access to a couple of formatting tools. With the rich text editor, however, you get so many more customizable options. To bring out the rich text editor, follow these steps:
1.    In your inbox, click on “Compose”.
2.    In the window that pops up, there is an icon with an underlined capital A next to the send button at the footer of the window. Click on it to activate the rich text editor.
3.    Play with the font size, colour and style of the letters to personalize the look of your message. Bullet points and number lists are further options for a well-organized email.
Source: login-email.net

Gmail: Criticism

Privacy

Google has one privacy policy that cover all of its services.

Google claims that Gmail refrains from displaying ads next to potentially sensitive messages, such as those that mention race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or financial statements.

Automated scanning of email content

Google’s mail servers automatically scan emails for multiple purposes, including to add context-sensitive advertisements next to emails, and to filter spam and malware.

Privacy advocates raised concerns about this practice; concerns included that allowing email content to be read by a machine (as opposed to a person) can allow Google to keep unlimited amounts of information forever; the automated background scanning of data raises the risk that the expectation of privacy in email usage will be reduced or eroded; information collected from emails could be retained by Google for years after its current relevancy to build complete profiles on users; emails sent by users from other email providers get scanned despite never having agreed to Google’s privacy policy or terms of service; Google can change its privacy policy unilaterally, and for minor changes to the policy it can do so without informing users; in court cases, governments and organizations can potentially find it easier to legally monitor email communications; at any time, Google can change its current company policies to allow combining information from emails with data gathered from use of its other services; and any internal security problem on Google’s systems can potentially expose many – or all – of its users.

In 2004, thirty-one privacy and civil liberties organizations wrote a letter calling upon Google to suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues were adequately addressed. The letter also called upon Google to clarify its written information policies regarding data retention and data sharing among its business units. The organizations also voiced their concerns about Google’s plan to scan the text of all incoming messages for the purposes of ad placement, noting that the scanning of confidential email for inserting third-party ad content violates the implicit trust of an email service provider.

Lawsuits

In March 2011, a former Gmail user in Texas sued Google, claiming that its Gmail service violates users’ privacy by scanning e-mail messages to serve relevant ads.

In July 2012, some California residents filed two class action lawsuits against Google and Yahoo!, claiming that they illegally intercept emails sent by individual non-Gmail or non-Yahoo! email users to Gmail and Yahoo! recipients without the senders’ knowledge, consent or permission. A motion filed by Google’s attorneys in the case concedes that Gmail users have “no expectation of privacy”.

A court filing uncovered by advocacy group Consumer Watchdog in August 2013 revealed that Google stated in a court filing that no “reasonable expectation” exists among Gmail users in regard to the assured confidentiality of their emails. In response to a lawsuit filed in May 2013, Google explained:

“… all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing … Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery.

A Google spokesperson stated to the media on August 15, 2013 that the corporation takes the privacy and security concerns of Gmail users “very seriously.”

April 2014 Terms of service update

Google updated its terms of service for Gmail in April 2014 to create full transparency for its users in regard to the scanning of email content. The relevant revision states: “Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.” A Google spokesperson explained that the corporation wishes for its policies “to be simple and easy for users to understand.”

In response to the update, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, stated: “The really dangerous things that Google is doing are things like the information held in Analytics, cookies in advertising and the profiling that it is able to do on individual accounts”.

Microsoft ad campaign against Google

In 2013, Microsoft launched an advertising campaign to attack Google for scanning email messages, arguing that most consumers are not aware that Google monitors their personal messages to deliver targeted ads. Microsoft claims that its email service Outlook does not scan the contents of messages and a Microsoft spokesperson called the issue of privacy “Google’s kryptonite.” In response, Google stated; “We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant … No humans read your e-mail or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm — similar to that used for features like Priority Inbox or spam filtering — determines which ads are shown.” The New York Times cites “Google supporters”, who say that “Microsoft’s ads are distasteful, the last resort of a company that has been unsuccessful at competing against Google on the more noble battleground of products”.

Other privacy issues

2010 attack from China

In January 2010, Google detected a “highly sophisticated” cyber-attack on its infrastructure that originated from China. The targets of the attack were Chinese human rights activists, but Google discovered that accounts belonging to European, American and Chinese activists for human rights in China had been “routinely accessed by third parties”. Additionally, Google stated that their investigation revealed that “at least” 20 other large companies from a “wide range of businesses” – including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors – had been similarly targeted. Google was in the process of notifying those companies and it was also working with relevant US authorities. In light of the attacks, Google enhanced the security and architecture of its infrastructure, and advised individual users to install anti-virus and anti-spyware on their computers, update their operating systems and web browsers, and be cautious when clicking on Internet links or when sharing personal information in instant messages and emails.

Google Buzz

The February 2010 launch of Google Buzz, a former social network that was linked to Gmail, immediately drew criticism for publicly sharing details of users’ contacts unless the default settings were changed.

Google+

A new Gmail feature was launched in January 2014, whereby users can email people with Google+ accounts even though they do not know the email address of the recipient. Marc Rotenberg, President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the feature “troubling”, and compared it to the Google Buzz initial launch privacy flaw.

Update to DoubleClick privacy policy

In June 2016, Julia Angwin of ProPublica wrote about Google’s updated privacy policy, which deleted a clause that had stated Google would not combine DoubleClick web browsing cookie information with personally identifiable information from its other services. This change has allowed Google to merge users’ personally identifiable information from different Google services to create one unified ad profile for each user. After publication of the article, Google reached out to ProPublica to say that the merge would not include Gmail keywords in ad targeting.

Outages

Gmail suffered at least seven outages in 2009 alone, causing doubts about the reliability of its service. It suffered a new outage on February 28, 2011, in which a bug caused Gmail accounts to be empty. Google stated in a blog post that “email was never lost” and restoration was in progress. Another outage occurred on April 17, 2012, September 24, 2013, and January 24, 2014.[

Google has stated that “Gmail remains more than 99.9% available to all users, and we’re committed to keeping events like today’s notable for their rarity.”

On behalf of

In May 2009, Farhad Manjoo wrote on The New York Times blog about Gmail’s “on behalf of” tag. Manjoo explained: “The problems is, when you try to send outbound mail from your Gmail universal inbox, Gmail adds a tag telling your recipients that you’re actually using Gmail and not your office e-mail. If your recipient is using Microsoft Outlook, he’ll see a message like, “From youroffice@domain.com on behalf of yourgmail@gmail.com.” Manjoo further wrote that “Google explains that it adds the tag in order to prevent your e-mail from being considered spam by your recipient; the theory is that if the e-mail is honest about its origins, it shouldn’t arouse suspicion by spam checking software”.The following July, Google announced a new option that would remove the “On behalf of” tag, by sending the email from the server of the other email address instead of using Gmail’s servers.

Source: Wikipedia

Gmail: History

The idea for Gmail was developed by Paul Buchheit several years before it was announced to the public. The project was known by the code name Caribou. During early development, the project was kept secret from most of Google’s own engineers. This changed once the project became better and better, and by early 2004, almost everybody was using it to access the company’s internal email system.

Gmail was announced to the public by Google on April 1, 2004 as a limited beta release.

In November 2006, Google began offering a Java-based application of Gmail for mobile phones

In October 2007, Google began a process of rewriting parts of the code that Gmail used, which would make the service faster and add new features, such as custom keyboard shortcuts and the ability to bookmark specific messages and email searches. Gmail also added IMAP support in October 2007.

An update around January 2008 changed elements of Gmail’s use of JavaScript, and resulted in the failure of a third-party script some users had been using. Google acknowledge the issue and helped users with workarounds.

Gmail exited the beta status on July 7, 2009.

Prior to December 2013, users had to approve to see images in emails, which acted as a security measure. This changed in December 2013, when Google, citing improved image handling, enabled images to be visible without user approval. Images will be routed through Google’s secure proxy servers rather than the original external host servers. MarketingLand noted that the change to image handling means email marketers will no longer be able to track the recipient’s IP address or information about what kind of device the recipient is using. However, Wired stated that the new change means senders can track the time when an email is first opened, as the initial loading of the images requires the system to make a “callback” to the original server.

Growth

In June 2012, Google announced that Gmail had 425 million active users globally.

In May 2015, Google announced that Gmail had 900 million active users, 75% of whom were using the service on mobile devices.

In February 2016, Google announced that Gmail had passed 1 billion active users.

In the business sector, Quartz reported in August 2014 that, among 150 companies checked in three major categories in the United States (Fortune 50 largest companies, mid-size tech and media companies, and startup companies from the last Y Combinator incubator class), only one Fortune 50 company used Gmail – Google itself – while 60% of mid-sized companies and 92% of startup companies were using Gmail.

In May 2014, Gmail became the first app on the Google Play Store to hit one billion installations on Android devices.

Source: Wikipedia