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May 18, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Switch from Outlook to Gmail
Filed under: Productivity — Tags: — nedpelger

I’ve loved Google for years (wasn’t smart enough to invest early, though) and now we’ve moved to the next level of our relationship. I’ve dropped Outlook and switched completely to Gmail for my email, contacts and calendar. I ran them in parallel for months and Gmail performs so much better. Top Ten reaasons?

10. Time Savings. Gmail searches past emails and contacts with amazing speed. Outlook got slower every year, as my number of contacts grew over 3,000 and emails into the tens of thousands. What Outlook did in minutes, Gmail does in seconds. Due to the searching speed, I no longer bother to put old emails into folders (which I did to make them easier to find). Now I archive everything and just search for what I need. By using filters for incoming emails, I further improve my time savings.

9. Cloud based. By all the data stored in Google’s many servers, I have access from any computer, anywhere. I also have much better security (I’m not worried about Google employee’s reading about my life…sometimes I don’t even want to) and loss prevention. Google is virtually never down, due to their redundancy.

8. Reliability and Repairs. I’ve had a few frustrating episodes with Outlook, when I couldn’t get it to work and spent many hours or days trying to repair it. Microsoft support was horrible (that’s when I went from being a fan to a critic) and I recall the level of aggravation well. Gmail provides less options (which I didn’t want anyway) and more reliability.

7. Google Calendar Shares Well. Sharing scheduling info on projects can be tricky. Since everyone can access a Google Calendar, project schedules can be seen and updated easily.

6. Superior Spam Filtering. No one filters spam better than Gmail. As I’ve appreciated this benefit, I’ve also begun to hit the unsubscribe language more often, getting rid of those regular emails that I at one time thought I’d read but never do. More time management savings.

5. Google Plays Well with Others, Microsoft, Not so Much. When I was parallel running Outlook and Gmail, I struggled to sync the programs. Microsoft has a strong vested interest in not cooperating with Google…and doesn’t. So it’s easy to move all the info one time, but not possible to create a real syncing option. As I see it, Google is open and Microsoft closed and open wins in today’s world.

4. Threads Keep Related Conversations Linked. By automatically linking all emails for a topic, Google saves the time of searching and trying to remember what came before. It’s a benefit this old brain appreciates.

3. All Info Shared and Current. Syncing Gmail with an Android or iPhone works seamlessly. Even better, contact groups get updated when contact info changes (Outlook didn’t have this feature to my continued annoyance). The way contacts and groups are handled in Gmail just makes much more sense. I imagine someone at Google used Outlook and thought, “Wouldn’t it be much better to do it this way?”

2. Gmail Groups Work for the Way I Work. I tried for years to mesh my Microsoft Access Database where I kept all my vendor and bidder data and my Outlook. I never could make that work. So I devised ways to use both, but never liked that the data needed to be changed in two places. Now I keep all my vendor data in Gmail groups, as well as meeting minute groups, and other job related groups. I can export those groups easily (which was not possible in Outlook).

1. IT’S FREE! Anyone that knows me knows that I’m cheap. I enjoy saving money for my customers…and for myself. Gmail gives a huge amount of storage for free, and it’s only a nominal cost for much more. I haven’t totally transitioned to Google Docs yet (which will replace Microsoft Office Suite) but I’m heading in that direction. I like options and I like free.

So consider making the switch. I’m glad I did and wonder what took me so long.