How Gmail Is Different

Post date: Oct 18, 2011 8:44:27 PM

Here are some key features that make Gmail different from Zimbra, Entourage, Apple Mail or Outlook.

Email conversations instead of multiple messages

Rather than listing each message reply as a new message in your Inbox, Gmail groups a message and its replies in a conversation, which is listed only once. Opening a conversation shows all its messages in a neat stack, which you can easily collapse or expand. When a new reply arrives, the stack grows and the conversation is marked as unread, indicating there’s something new to look at. Grouping messages this way allows you to quickly retrieve all messages within a thread and reduces inbox clutter.

Here's how a conversation appears in your Inbox...

...and here's what an opened conversation looks like:

Labels and stars instead of folders

Instead of organizing messages in folders, you can organize your Gmail conversations by applying labels. The conversation can remain in your Inbox with the label clearly shown. Here's an example:

As shown in the example, if a conversation applies to more than one topic, you can give it multiple labels.

If you would like to move a labeled conversation out of your Inbox, just click the Archive button. Whether or not a labeled conversation is archived, you can list all conversations that have a specific label by clicking the label name in the left pane of your Inbox -- similar to opening a folder of messages:

Unlike with folders, if you've applied more than one label to a message, you can retrieve the message by clicking any of those labels.

The Stars feature provides another way to categorize and access messages. Simply click the star icon to the left of any message to highlight it. You can then display all starred messages by clicking Starred in the left pane.

Here's a short video demonstration: Click here to view (will open in a new tab or window)