Last week I hope I convinced most of you Win XP holdouts to at least consider transitioning to Windows 7sometime this year. Maybe I should tiptoe around this next issue, but I feel I must talk to you about one more change, real soon. I did try to nudge you on this one back in November of 2010, but now I want to openly endorse adopting Web Mail and letting POP Mail fade away.
Basically the difference is that Web Mail keeps your mail on a server and you read it from your PC through a Web browser. With POP mail you access mail on a remote server and then download it to your PC. Control freaks like me usually like POP because the downloaded emails are under our control as are the contact files or address book which reside on our PCs. The old MS mail client Outlook Express is a good example of a POP mail. Thunderbird still makes this process available in a free download from Mozilla. (If you can’t wean yourself away from OE, download Thunderbird).
I suggested to you over a year ago that Web Mail offers one advantage that is really convenient; that of accessing your mail and contacts from any PC, anywhere. Since that column, more advantages have arisen. The ease of synchronizing mail between your PC and your mobile devices is another consideration. You can also sync across platforms more easily (Mac and Windows work better together).
The other change is that Web Mail programs have grown up, improved and added more features that make them more complete like your old POP mail clients.
So who do you choose among the myriad Web Mail clients available? The big three are Yahoo, Live Hotmail and Gmail. Apple has recently entered the fray with their iCloud Mail.
If you are already using a Bellsouth or ATT mail account, it is using the Yahoo Mail server and it is easy to transition to the att.yahoo Web Mail site. Ditch OE or Win Live Mail if you are using them and move onto Yahoo’s mail server.
If you are already using a Hotmail account and don’t like change, stick with it. Get out of Win Live mail and move to the Web.
But if you are shopping for a Web based mail client, choose Gmail which to my mind has gradually grown since its introduction into the best overall Web mail service. They give you plenty of free mail storage space. Their ads are unobtrusive (not so with Yahoo). They allow easy synching of contacts with mobile devices. The user interface is friendly and quite readable. They make it easy for you to group messages by Label in storage. There are a few quirky things about the service, but they are constantly making improvements.
Overall, I pick Gmail. Try it and till next week, send your questions to:
See GeekSpeak by Jim Hall at http://hallsts.com where you may comment directly on my blog