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Carol the Dabbler

Rate your email service

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Alex and I are thinking of switching from the email service that's included with our internet service to one of the independent email services.  Chances are we're not the only ones who are wondering how the available services differ.

If you have experience with any of the independent email services, please tell us what you think of them: the good points, the bad points, the oddities, whatever you think might be helpful to someone deciding which to use.  Thanks!

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It's not perfect by any means, but I prefer Gmail to everything else I've tried.  I've used Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and a few lesser-known email services.  Gmail has the best features, the fastest loading time, and the fewest ads/intrusions.  I customize my inbox to make it as minimalist as possible, and it works well for me.  Because Google is such a monster of a company, there are other benefits too, such as being able to connect your Gmail to other services easily (if you do that sort of thing), very little downtime (if there ever is any; haven't seen it yet), having a recognizable email service that's easy to remember (no raised eyebrows), and etc.  Those are things I don't care about personally, but some people might.  I just need my email to function well and be user-friendly, and Gmail does that for me, usually.

 

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Same here. Yeah, I get uncomfortable when I think of how much data Google has about me, but then again the email probably didn't make much of a difference anymore at the point I signed up. And with Google you at least get, like Artemis said, an excellent free service out of it. Fast, reliable, and can take reasonably large attachments.

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Thanks, guys!

I started to sign up with Gmail, probably five or ten years ago, just to have an extra email address, but aborted the sign-up process when they insisted on having my cellphone number.  I saw no legitimate reason for them to have that information -- and what if I didn't have a cellphone?  Plus they said it was so they could send me text messages (and I had the impression they were talking about spam from their associated companies).

Do they still require one's cellphone number?  And if they have yours, do you get spam texts?  Or any texts from them?

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Afaik, they want that cellphone number for that two-factor authentification only. As in, when you log onto your Google/Gmail-account from a new PC, they send you an SMS with a number which you then have to enter (on a modern smartphone, there's an easier version of this as well, but the old one still works afaik). The point being that no hacker can take control of your account because they'd need that code as well, even if they had your password.

I cannot remember ever having received a single spam SMS, from Google or otherwise.

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I've had a gmail account from almost the first day they started offering it. However, I don't stay logged in to google. I check my mail and log out. I also use the duckduckgo search engine that doesn't track anything.

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22 hours ago, Caya said:

Afaik, they want that cellphone number for that two-factor authentification only. As in, when you log onto your Google/Gmail-account from a new PC, they send you an SMS with a number which you then have to enter (on a modern smartphone, there's an easier version of this as well, but the old one still works afaik). The point being that no hacker can take control of your account because they'd need that code as well, even if they had your password.

I cannot remember ever having received a single spam SMS, from Google or otherwise.

Then why don't they say something like "so we can send you text messages only for the purpose of authenticating your account"?  Rather than sounding like a spam invitation?

Anyhow, thanks!  I suspect we'll go with Gmail, then.

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Oh, another question:  How good is Gmail at filtering out spam?  Our ISP has been really good at that.  I don't even have my spam filter turned on, and yet I rarely get any spam (which they have an easy mechanism for reporting).  Not at all like the olden days of email, when you could count on at least a dozen spams per day!

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Gmail is no great shakes. You get spam as in any other service. My main go-to account is Outlook, fast, reliable and less snooping. For gmail you still have to provide a mobile phone number, so I gave one which is a pre-paid rather than a contract number. If I ever want to ditch my gmail account, I will only have to let my prepaid mobile’s remaining time lapse. On the other hand, being the paranoid sociopath which all Sherlock quizzes tell me I am, I have one personal, private and confidential account with another free provider, which I use for serious business, like tax returns and local authority, medical care and such😉

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27 minutes ago, Inge l-w said:

... I have one personal, private and confidential account with another free provider, which I use for serious business, like tax returns and local authority, medical care and such😉

Care to tell us who that provider is?

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My opinion on a matters of technology is the equivalent of getting tutoring on String Theory from a particularly unintelligent Amazonian Rainforest Tribesman. But.....

for what it’s worth Carol I’ve never had a single issue with using gmail.

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Everything else I tried was flooded with spam, so I vote for gmail too ... and no, you don't have to give them your cell number, because I haven't. You do, however, have to provide them with an alternate ... something ... for the reasons Caya said (and somewhere I think they explain that.) So I used my old email as the verification email, set up two gmail accounts, deleted my old email, and used the two accounts as backup for each other. :smile:

I've never gotten a single piece of spam. They do allow four advertising emails at a time, but tuck them away under secondary tabs so you don't have to even see them if you don't want to. However, some of my regular email goes to those tabs (Goodreads, for instance, goes into the "Social" tab, and ads from legit businesses that I deal with, like certain art galleries, go into the "promotions" tab) and sometimes I miss them because I forget to check those tabs. But the ads are always at the top where they're easy to skip.

Also I find their method of accessing your contact list confusing, but I gradually figured it out. Also it remembers every address you've ever had any kind of contact with, whether it's in your address book or not, and that can get kind of confusing too. It's also saved the day a few times.

I also have a client set up so the mail is delivered to my desktop, so I still have access to it even if I'm offline. It's a freebie Windows app, I find it pretty clunky and terribly slow at finding old emails. One of these days I'm going to check out Opera instead. In the meantime, I find I usually just read my mail online anymore ... the gmail interface is so much easier and faster.

You do have to customize your settings, though ... the default is to bundle certain emails together, which I found terribly confusing. I like to see mine in chronological order. Fortunately, you can set it up that way ... once you figure out how. There's a lot more bells and whistles on that thing than I'll ever use............ but yeah, overall, gmail wins hands down over everything else I've tried.

 

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As Caya said, the mobile number is only for two-factor authentication, as far I know.  I've never had a problem with spam, either on my phone or in my inbox.  Gmail's spam filter has been fine for me.

4 hours ago, Arcadia said:

and no, you don't have to give them your cell number, because I haven't. You do, however, have to provide them with an alternate ... something ... for the reasons Caya said (and somewhere I think they explain that.) So I used my old email as the verification email, set up two gmail accounts, deleted my old email, and used the two accounts as backup for each other.

That's what I did as well; but I tried to make another account a couple years back, and they wouldn't let me move forward without providing a mobile number.  :bemused:  There was no option to skip or provide an alternate address instead, or anything.  So I don't know if they're trying to enforce it now or what.

4 hours ago, Arcadia said:

However, some of my regular email goes to those tabs [...] and sometimes I miss them because I forget to check those tabs.

Also it remembers every address you've ever had any kind of contact with, whether it's in your address book or not, and that can get kind of confusing too.

You do have to customize your settings, though ... the default is to bundle certain emails together, which I found terribly confusing. I like to see mine in chronological order.

^ I didn't like those settings either so I turned them all off, which can be pretty easily done.  Just find the 'Settings' wheel on the top right and take a look at what's there.  I despise 'Conversation View', which is the new default on most email providers now.  I want my emails chronologically.

Anyway, once you disable any unwanted settings, you can have a very tidy and straight-forward inbox, if you're not into the bells and whistles.

11 hours ago, Sheerluck said:

However, I don't stay logged in to google. I check my mail and log out.

^ Ditto.  I also have my browser set to clear on closing.  It makes me feel better.  :P

 

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Gmail's spam filter was a bit overzealous to my emails at first. It never let a single genuine spam mail through, but there were a couple of legitimate business mails it falsely flagged as spam. However, it learned fast, and telling it a couple times that no, that's not spam, did the trick.

As for the client, I hardly ever use the web version. I use an email client called The Bat! and I love it. Very smartly programmed, and it puts a little bat icon in the tray bar at the bottom right and whenever a mail comes in, the bat starts flapping its wings till I check. :lol: Word of warning, though, it's not free.

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Yeah, I get what I pay for. :D

I don't have a mobile phone that accepts texts, so I don't know how I got around that requirement. Hmm. Maybe Google just likes my smile?

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^ I had the option when I first signed up about 10 years ago; just not in more recent years.  I wonder if it's a change they're slowly pushing out, so it's not applying to everyone yet.

I think it's good practice to check your spam folder every now and then, just in case an important email was shuffled into it.

 

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Or I might be confusing my gmail account with something else. My bank keeps asking for my phone number, for instance; but they don't require it, which is good, since I can't provide what they want.....

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On 4/13/2019 at 12:25 PM, Sheerluck said:

I also use the duckduckgo search engine that doesn't track anything.

Thanks, Sheerluck!  I've switched to DuckDuckGo on my main computer, because Google is currently being hijacked there.  At first it'd hand the search over to Yahoo. and when I searched the web for an explanation, it sounded like a lot of people were having similar problems.  Now it goes to some site I've never even heard of, and heaven knows what it's actually doing.

So I deleted Google from my bookmark toolbar and added DuckDuckGo instead.  So far, so good.

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Which reminds me … I got an automated call (on my answering machine) from my credit union today, saying there was a problem with my account and I should press '1' to talk to them. Everything about this call screamed "fake", so I haven't done anything yet. But it's getting scary out there...……….

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Pressing "1" would probably have been safe enough -- but then if they asked you to "verify" your account number....

On the other hand, it could be for real.  I'd recommend that you call the credit union, using their regular phone number (rather than via the recording).  Let them know about the recorded call, and ask if it's for real.  If so, then you can deal with whatever the problem is, and if not, then you can let them know that someone is phoning their members, pretending to be them.  Either way, something is accomplished.

 

 

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I talked to them in person. The girl at the counter didn't seem overly concerned and said she'd pass it on to her superiors, but I didn't believe her … her disinterest was too evident. Sigh. Just hope no one gets caught up in it.

One thing that does concern me … how did the caller know I was a member of this particular credit union? It's neither large nor particularly well known. Somebody's hacked something, imo.

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21 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I talked to them in person. The girl at the counter didn't seem overly concerned

Did she at least check to see whether there really was anything wrong with your account?

21 hours ago, Arcadia said:

how did the caller know I was a member of this particular credit union? It's neither large nor particularly well known. Somebody's hacked something, imo.

Maybe.  Or maybe they're simply blanketing your geographical area in hopes there will be a few people who actually are members and not too bright, the way the "Vindows Support" people do.

I will say, though, that some robocallers do seem to know a bit about me.  When I turned 55, I was suddenly swamped with ads for hearing aids, insurance, and the like, mostly via mail at first, but increasingly also by phone.  I strongly suspect that the Senior Center (which I joined at that time) sold them my contact information.  And once that information is out there, it just keeps on spreading.

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On 3/10/2020 at 11:19 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

I've switched to DuckDuckGo on my main computer, because Google is currently being hijacked there.  At first it'd hand the search over to Yahoo. and when I searched the web for an explanation, it sounded like a lot of people were having similar problems.  Now it goes to some site I've never even heard of, and heaven knows what it's actually doing.

So I deleted Google from my bookmark toolbar and added DuckDuckGo instead.  So far, so good.


I am pleased to report that Google seems to be back in business on my computer.   :applause:  Must have been installing a recent update that did it.  I like DuckDuckGo just fine, but there are times when I would really like to use one of Google's specific features.  Plus they tend to come up with different results, so it can be helpful to use both and compare.

 

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When using ddg, if you want to search google put g! before your search term and you will get a google search.

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