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What is Gmail and How Does It Work?

What is Gmail and How Does It Work

Ever wondered how people sent messages during the early times? Can you imagine yourself using early methods like sending letters just to communicate important matters?

Just imagining a situation where taking hours to just find how your loved ones are is something a person cannot even fathom.

Did you know that a study conducted in 2013 found out that people send more than 182 billion emails each day? Technology and the internet have advanced to a point you can share and receive information within seconds.

There are many forms of communication using technology. Emails are one of these forms of communication that we use in our daily lives, whether it’s to communicate important details for work-related materials or simply talk to our loved ones during our free hours.

Many different platforms offer electronic mail services, out of which the goliath of all search engines Google also provides us with its mail services, most commonly known as Gmail.

Now, let us look into the features and uses of Gmail to see how it is different from other platforms that provide us email services.


What is Gmail?

Gmail is an excellent email service that is provided by Google for free. You can perform basic tasks such as sending and receiving emails and use it for its unique features, making it the most popularly used email account.

For example, certain websites allow you to sign in and create an account without actually providing your details like name, email id, address, etc. if you have a Gmail account. 

You can just click on the Google account that you want to link your information to and the website creates an account based on the information provided by the Gmail account.

Let us now see what are the different types of features provided by Gmail other than just sending and receiving emails.

gmail-overview

Features of Gmail

Gmail uses some features to make sure that there’s a smooth operation of its mail services for its users like:

  1. Filtering Spam messages: Spam emails are unwanted emails or even corrupted emails that are sent to you.

    The technology that Gmail uses helps it to filter out such messages and separates them into a folder called ‘Spam’. Emails in this folder get deleted after 30 days.
  1. Conversation View: An email conversation will occur with the person to whom you send emails frequently. This feature of Gmail helps you to reply to emails quickly and groups the past emails sent to that person on that specific topic.

    This helps you to organize your emails conveniently without searching for past conversations.
  1. Built-in chat features: Gmail provides a built-in chat application for your Gmail id so that you can send messages when you want to connect with someone quickly.
  1. Video and voice calling features: You can also use a Google application named “Google meet” that is connected with your Gmail id for video or voice calling features to connect with anyone that has a google account.

    This is useful if you wish to talk with your team about work-related affairs or to just simply connect with your loved ones.

Getting Started with Gmail 

Creating a Google account is quite easy. While signing up, you are required to provide your information like name, mobile number, etc. Here, you will also name your email address as a part of the signing-up process.

When you log in using your Gmail account then, you are automatically connected to your Google account. Along with Gmail, Google also offers a wide variety of services like Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google sheets, etc.

These services can also be accessed through your Gmail account. Let’s now see how to get started with creating an account. Follow these steps to start creating a new account:

Step 1: Visit https://www.gmail.com to create your account.

Step 2: click on the “Sign in” button and you will be redirected to another webpage to enter your Google account credentials.

gmail-signin-screen

Step 3: At the right-bottom side of the account box click on the option named “Create account” Once you click on it you will be asked to choose if the account is a business account or a personal account.

gmail-create-account-screen

Step 4: you will be redirected again to another webpage wherein you will be required to enter your credentials like name, forming your email id, birth date, gender, phone number, etc.

gmail-create-account1

Please note that while creating a new password try to create a strong password with letters, symbols, and numbers. This will ensure the safety against your account getting hacked.


Gmail Layout

Once you log in to your Gmail account, you will be taken to a webpage that contains your Inbox, mail settings, contacts list, etc. Let’s now try to understand more about some of these parts:

  1. Left Menu Pane: it contains options to sort your mail into different categories or to compose a new mail to another email address. To organize your emails, you can use the label feature of Gmail.
gmail-left-menu-pane

  1. Labels: These are folder name tags that help you in organizing emails. Here, you can add emails from your inbox so that they remain under specific tags or labels.

Follow these steps to create labels and organize your emails:

Step 1: Scroll down the left menu pane and click on the “More” option in the left menu pane.

gmail-more-button

Step 2: Scroll down again and click on the option “ + Create new label”. 

gmail-create-new-label

Step 3: Once you have created a label, right-click on the email you want to send under the specified label.

Step 4: Choose the “Move to” option from the menu list and select the label you wish to add under.

gmail-move-to-feature

An alternative to Steps 3 and 4 can be: Select an email by checking on the tick box next to email and then click on the “Move to” button available with a list of icons present at the top of your inbox.

gmail-move-to-option

  1. Inbox: Next to the left menu pane, you will view your received emails in your inbox. Google automatically categorizes the emails that you receive into three categories which are: Primary, Social, Promotions. According to the content of the email.
gmail-inbox

  1. Search box: At the top middle of your Gmail screen you will be able to view a search tab. If you are not able to find an email, then you can search for emails here. You can use the keyword of a subject or use the sender’s/receiver’s email id to look for the email.
gmail-search-box

Next to the Search box on the left-hand side of the Gmail screen, you will be able to view some icons like  “Support”, “Settings”, “Google apps”, “Account”. The functions of these icons will be discussed below in detail.


Email Settings and Features

Now let us go through some of the main functions of Gmail:

Mail Settings

You can also use these functions in Gmail like changing your email’s appearance/ theme, creating your signature, changing the settings to forward the emails from your inbox to another mail, etc. 

These functions can be done with the help of the Mail settings icon. Your Mail settings icon can be found next to the support icon on the top-right corner of the Gmail screen in the form of a gear icon. Here you can change all the settings of your email.

Composing an Email

Once you have set up your account, you can now add in your contacts to send your emails. Adding can be done in two ways: 

One way is when you compose an email, you can paste the sender’s email id on the “To:” tab and once you’ve finished composing your email, you can then send the email. This will automatically add the sender’s email to your contacts list if the mail is successfully sent to the same email address.

Another way to add your contacts is to update the information in your Google contacts list. Follow these steps to add your contacts to your contacts list.

Step 1: Click on the “Google Apps” icon which is available next to the search box.

gmail-google-apps

Step 2: Click on the “Contacts” icon found in the menu.

gmail-contacts

Step 3: Click on the “ + Create contact” button to add information like name, birth date, email id, phone number, etc.

Step 4: Click on the “Save” button after you have finished entering the necessary details.

You can also add multiple contacts at the same time just by entering their email ids in a single go. Importing your contacts from an excel .csv file that is available on your computer is also an option provided by Google.

You can also edit your contacts by clicking on the edit icon next to the contact name.

gmail-edit-contact

Once your contact list is ready, you can send your emails by clicking on the “+ Compose” icon. 

gmail-compose-button

A pop-up box appears on your screen where you can write down the contents of your email below the content box. You also have options to format your email text, attach documents (like file, photo, or a link), add your signature, etc.

Responding to an email

All emails that you receive will be available for viewing in your inbox. Unread emails will be highlighted and have bold letters. In your inbox, you will be able to view the subject of the email, the sender, and a short preview of the contents if the subject isn’t too long.

Once you click on an email you will be able to view the full contents, the details of the sender, and the time when it was sent along with some features provided by Gmail like:

  • At the top of the email you will be able to view the following icons like this:
  • Here you will be able to do functions such as delete the email or mark that email as unread etc.
  • To respond to this email, when you scroll down till the end, you will find your email attachments (if available in the mail) and icons to “Reply” or “Forward” your email. You can click on any of these icons to respond.
  • The “Reply” icon helps you to reply to the sender immediately. When you click on this icon the “To:” address box will be automatically filled with your sender’s address
  • However, when you click on the “Forward” icon, you will be asked to fill in the “To:” address box with the email id you wish to send the email to. The rest of the window features and looks remains the same as the “Reply” window
  • You can also print out the email by clicking on the print icon found at the top right corner of the email window.
  • To do any additional settings for the email that you have opened, you will find a three-dot menu icon below the print icon. Here too, you can filter the message or delete the email or download it to your computer.
  • If the message is important and you wish to view it later then you can click on the star icon. This helps Gmail categorize the message as starred messages and marks a star next to the message to be able to read it later.
gmail-responding-to-gmail

Signing out from Gmail

Last but not least to sign out from your Google/Gmail account all you need to do is to click on your “Account” icon found at the top-right corner of your Gmail screen.

A small pop-up window will appear wherein which you will find the “Sign out” button at the bottom when you click on this button you will be signed out from your Gmail account.

gmail-sign-out

With this, we come to the end of the article explaining what Gmail is and how to use it.

Although some of the most important features have been covered, these features might change as Google keeps updating Gmail and other features.

Keep an eye out for all the other interesting aspects of Google to make sure your online activities are really useful!

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