My Contacts contains the contacts you explicitly put in your address book (via manual entry, import or sync) as well as any address you’ve emailed a lot (we’re using five or more times as the threshold for now).
Suggested Contacts is where Gmail puts its auto-created contacts. By default, Suggested Contacts you email frequently are automatically added to My Contacts, but for those of you who prefer tighter control of your address books, you can choose to disable usage-based addition of contacts to My Contacts (see the checkbox in the screenshot above). Once you do this, no matter how many times you email an auto-added email address it won’t move to My Contacts.
There are two ways your devices and clients can communicate with Gmail:
A one-way communication path (POP). Your device asks us for data and pulls it from our servers — but that’s it. Things you do on your device have no effect on the server. If you read a message on your phone, then log in to Gmail, you will see that same message marked as unread. It may start to feel like Groundhog Day.
A two-way communication path (IMAP). Unlike with POP, your devices talk back to our servers and sync your changes automatically with IMAP. When you sign in to your Gmail account in a web browser, actions you’ve taken on your email client or mobile device (like putting a message in a ‘work’ folder) will also appear in Gmail (your message will already have a ‘work’ label on it). This all happens automatically once you set up IMAP, so you don’t have to read or sort all your mail twice. This is really helpful when accessing Gmail from multiple devices.
You can retrieve your Gmail messages with a client or device that supports IMAP, like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.
To enable IMAP in Gmail:
Sign in to Gmail.
Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page.
Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
Select Enable IMAP.
Configure your IMAP client and click Save Changes.
Supported IMAP client list
Once you’ve enabled IMAP in Gmail, just configure your mail client or wireless device to download Gmail messages. To learn about configuration settings, click the name of your mail client or wireless device below.
Use keyboard shortcuts. Gmail users can speed up their emailing with a few simple keyboard shortcuts. All users have to do to activate these shortcuts is go into the settings menu and turn them on. Then a simple keystroke can open a new email, flip through messages and take you to all areas of your account. This can save time and make it so that you never have to take your fingers off of the keyboard to do anything.
Use the advanced search feature. It only makes sense that Google, the most popular search engine, employs powerful search capabilities in its email client as well. Like standard Google searches, there are a number of tricks you can employ to more easily find what you’re looking for. You can check out this list of query words from Google, or you can get some pointers here on how to find just what you’re looking for each time.
Sending and Receiving
Use the mute function. Sometimes even the most well meaning of friends include you on conversations you could care less about. These emails don’t have to keep coming up as new mail in your inbox, however, and you can just tune them out with the mute button, a little known feature of Gmail.
Auto-forward certain messages. If you’ve got multiple email accounts or if you just want to send certain types of messages to a particular account, you can use Gmail’s forwarding capabilities. You simply just need to set up filters that include the addresses you want to forward from and to, and voila, your mail goes where you want it to with very little effort on your part.
Back up their messages. While your messages are fairly secure residing online, there is always the chance that something could happen to them. If you have important information stored on them this could be disastrous. There are a number of ways you can back up your Gmail so that it’s accessible both online and off.
Can easily find unread messages. Sometimes you may skip over unread messages, and it can be a pain to find them when you go back later and want to read them, especially if you get a lot of email. There is an easy way to find all your unread messages, however, using the search feature. This should bring up all unread messages quickly and easily, saving you the trouble of hunting for them.
Drag files into Gmail. Don’t make sending attachments inefficient by searching through files to find what you need. Just use this extension to drag and drop files right into an email to send them.
Integrate with GTD. If you’re trying to make your Gmail more productive, why not make everything in your life more productive at the same time by integrating a popular GTD program right into Gmail with this to-do management extension.
Read the full post here.
Over at the Gmail Blog, the Tech Lead of Gmail’s performance team, Wiltse Carpenter, writes the steps his team has recently taken to improve the speed of Gmail. I personally find Gmail to be immensely faster than both Yahoo and Hotmail so it’s quite interesting to hear that the Gmail team is working on making their system even faster. Below are the steps the Gmail team have taken to further improve the performance of Gmail:
“First, we listed every transaction between the web browser and Google’s servers, starting with the moment the “Sign in” button is pressed. To do this, we used a lot of different web development tools, like Httpwatch, WireShark, and Fiddler, plus our own performance measuring systems. These tools all have useful features, although some are limited to working only with certain browsers. “
“We spent hours poring over these traces to see exactly what was happening between the browser and Gmail during the sign-in sequence, and we found that there were between fourteen and twenty-four HTTP requests required to load an inbox and display it. We decided to attack the problem from several directions at once: reduce the number of overall requests, make more of the requests cacheable by the browser, and reduce the overhead of each request.”
“We made good progress on every front. We reduced the weight of each request itself by eliminating or narrowing the scope of some of our cookies. We made sure that all our images were cacheable by the browser, and we consolidated small icon images into single meta-images, a technique known as spriting. We combined several requests into a single combined request and response. The result is that it now takes as few as four requests from the click of the “Sign in” button to the display of your inbox.”
Last Friday Google’s Gmail Blog released 9 important reasons to archive emails in Gmail. Arching simply allows you to clean out your inbox without having to delete all of your messages. Gmail archives are still completely searchable and you can restore emails to your inbox at any time. You can read the full post here, however here is the summary of the 9 top reasons to archive emails in Google:
- Because you can
- Fate-tempting is bad. You just never know
- Mailing lists
- Phone numbers and addresses
- That guy
- Winning arguments
Archiving mail in Gmail
Archiving moves messages out of your inbox and into All Mail, letting you tidy up your inbox without deleting anything. Messages you archive can be found in All Mail, in any labels you’ve applied, and by searching Gmail. When someone responds to a message you’ve archived, the conversation containing that message will reappear in your inbox.
To archive messages:
- Select a message by checking the box next to the sender’s name.
- Click Archive.
If you have a conversation open, you can archive it by clicking Archive at the top of the page.
To move mail back to your inbox:
- Click All Mail.
- Check the box next to the sender’s name.
- Click Move to Inbox.