Monday, 12 December 2011

Google as a Social Medium - Gmail

Much has been written lately on the many uses of GOOGLE. Most genealogists are familiar with the power and simplicity of using GOOGLE as a search engine. Many also know about setting up alerts, and using GOOGLE Reader. But you may not be aware that GOOGLE is also a great Social Medium.

GOOGLE goes beyond just typing in “Facebook” or “Twitter” into the search
engine and hitting “enter”. GOOGLE is also a platform for socializing with other genealogists and even the world at large. In this article, we are going to take a step by step look at Gmail.

Gmail is a web-based e-mail program, similar to Hotmail or Yahoo e-mail. Being web-based makes it accessible from anywhere in the world. It also means larger storage space for those large Gedcom or photo attachments. There are no restrictions on the number of Gmail accounts you own. They are a great way to keep your genealogy e-mail separate from your family e-mails.

Let’s get started: First, you need to have a GOOGLE account.

Setting up is fairly standard: Name, account name, password, security question. Your location and birthdate are optional. You do not need to fill in these fields

Next, enter the Word Verification (to make sure you are a live person and not a computer programmed to spam), read the “terms of service” and click “I accept. Create my account”
Now you are ready to compose an e-mail.

From your Gmail home page, you will see a list on the left side of the computer screen. Near the top is the option to "Compose Mail" Click on this box.

Now you can enter the recipients names, the subject and type out your e-mail message. Note, if you are sending to a group of people who don't know each other, ALWAYS use the Bcc option (blind carbon copy -each recipient will see their own e-mail address only and no one else's in the mailing list. If someone hits "reply all" they will only be replying to the sender, not all of the recipients. Also, if you are forwarding, then only the recipients e-mail and yours will get forwarded. This reduces the amount of spam mail. It is always good etiquette when forwarding an e-mail, that you delete ANY e-mail addresses that are in the forwarded message. This too reduces spam and junk mail.

You can use your gmail account to receive messages from your other e-mail accounts like Sympatico, Telus, Rogers, Yahoo and Hotmail as well. Here's how:

In the top right hand corner there is a picture of what  looks like a cog. It is your settings button. Click on that and it will take you to a page that looks like this:

At the top, you will see an option for "accounts and import" From here you can import contacts from your other e-mail accounts, making it so you don't have to re-type your entire address book. As well, you can "Check mail using POP3". Follow the directions and you will then start receiving your messages sent to your other e-mail addresses in your new gmail account.

Happy connecting!

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