In the previous post, we talked about why you want to consider moving your email to a cloud based service. This is especially beneficial if you are currently downloading all of your email to your computer using a program like Outlook or Windows Live Mail. Another consideration is that you are using your internet provider’s email service. An example would be an address like email@example.com (Rogers Internet) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Verizon Internet). If you leave your internet provider then you will also lose your email address. Today we will go over how to pick an email service.
Long Term Availability of an Email Provider
The first criteria to consider is the longevity of the company providing the email service. If you read about some new email provider who promises 50 GB of space for all users for free, be wary. The cost of providing free services might mean that the provider is unable to continue running after a short period of time. Nothing is guaranteed but a large company such as Google or Microsoft is likely to be around for awhile.
Ease of Use
This is a more subjective criteria but if you are a relative newcomer to computers or want simplicity then a set of 1000 features isn’t going to entice you to sign up! The good thing about free services is that you can sign up, try it out and then cancel if you don’t like it.
There are certain features that set different services apart. Below are some examples that might help you narrow down between the most popular email services:
This is run by Microsoft and has a lot of the look and feel of Microsoft Outlook that many people have been running on their computers for a long time. If you are an Outlook user, an Outlook.com email account can be easily integrated with Microsoft Outlook on your computer. This gives you the best of both worlds – from any computer your can reach your email, calendar and contacts and they will all appear when you are on your computer using Microsoft Outlook. Other services such as Gmail don’t integrate as well with Outlook. You can of course get your email from Gmail with Outlook on your computer but not contacts and calendar (except for certain paid premium versions)
Gmail has been around for a long time and is run by Google, one of the largest companies in the world. A Gmail account is often used as a login to many popular websites. If you already use lots of Google services then you likely have a Gmail account that is used for logging in.
Yahoo was recently purchased by Verizon but it is reasonable to expect that the Yahoo mail service will continue. There are many millions of people who use Yahoo, so this is a good example of a service that is in transition but has thus far continued to exist.
Apple iCloud Mail
If you use an Apple device such as an iPhone, Apple mail and the corresponding iCloud service is an appealing choice. The web based email look much like it does on an iPhone and you can even get free Windows software from Apple that allows you to use Microsoft Outlook with Apple iCloud Mail.
Making a choice for cloud based email
There’s no one size fits all. Learn about the different email service by going to Google and do searches such as “free online email service reviews”. Read comments about the pros and cons of different services and then try them out. It’s important to be comfortable with your choice before you give out your new email address to your friends and family.
If you don’t care about the email left behind on your computer then you can just start using your new email address! If you have email to move over or contacts, keep reading into the next post where we will talk about getting the virtual ‘moving truck’ to take your data to the cloud.