Gmail Can Boost Your Non-Gmail Productivity

Gmail can greatly enhance your email experience, even for your non-Google accounts if you learn a few tricks.

(Update (4/3/07):  A year has passed and a lot has changed. Check out my new post here. )

Reading Paul Kedrosky’s and Michael Parekh’s  recent posts on the limits of Gmail storage prompted me to list the bag of tricks that made my life easier.  Note: I’m still not entirely online, have a lot of stuff on my desktop and am enslaved in Outlook-prison.

Multiple Gmail Accounts and aliases. We probably all do this: have a separate account for personal, blogging, subscriptions …etc use.  POP-download all, or use forwarding between the accounts.  Here’s a trick: the [email protected] format.  Your core gmail account is [email protected], but anything addressed in the “+alias” format will end up in your inbox. That way you can separate your subscriptions, different banks, brokers, airlines ..etc by setting up matching labels and corresponding auto-filters to assign the labels in gmail.

  • Having said that, my most important Gmail account is the one that I don’t use at all.  It’s my archive account.

All-In-One Searchable Archive.

SPAM-filter for non-gmail accounts 

 “Spam detection and filtering in Gmail is as good as Yahoo’s SpamGuard” says Jeremy Zawodny.  He probably meant it as a compliment, but my impression is that Gmail is far better;  I left yahoo email specifically because of the insurmountable amount of spam.  Gmail meets the two fundamental criteria:  it catches all spam, and does not generate false positives.

The target gmail account for the Spam filtering and Archiving could be the same, you just have to make sure to set the gmail forwarding rule to also keep an archived copy of all email locally.

Get even more productive

By using less email … but that’s the subject of another post (hint: Think Wiki)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this tips. I followed some with great success. Now I have my old (and important) mail archived on gmail.

  2. Anonymous says:

    nice. But after I upgraded to Outlook 2007 with the 1 ms search capabilities of all my last 10 years of email. I have gone back to Outlook!

  3. AltiVec says:

    It is not required to have a separate archive gmail account. You can make a filter that directs any mail arriving directly to your gmail account instead of your ‘normal’ account back to your normal account. This way you can receive email on your (archive) gmail or normal email, while keeping them in sync.
    Matches: to:([email protected])
    Do this: Forward to [email protected], Apply label “DirectlyToGmail”

  4. The redirect extension has numerous problems for me. I have the save in sent folder option unchecked, but I still get a bunch of redirects saved as copies in my sent folder. Also about 15% of the emails I try to redirect, especially when done in bulk give the error “mail server sent and incorrect greeting”. Does anyone else have issues with this?

  5. September 13th 2007

    Hi Zoli,

    I recently opened a new gmail account–my old one was much too long and difficult to hand out over the phone.

    I have managed to transfer all my contacts by following the export-import function in gmail and have forwarded all my incoming mails to the new address.

    I have not yet found a way though to transfer all my archived mail from my old gmail accounts to my new one. I read something you had written; however, it referred to transferring from outlook and not from gmail to gmail. Can archived e-mails be transferred from one gmail account to another?

    What would really wrap the process up nice and neatly would be the possibilty of transferring all the labels together with the archived emails from one gmail account to another. Can this be done?

    Thanks for you help.

    Nicosia, Cyprus

  6. Alec Burgess says:

    Basically the same problem as Dionysis Theodorou above.

    My gmail archive has 145,000 messages threads (mostly from yahoo and google groups)

    Turns out one forum I belong to lost their current and backup messages and I’ve got a full copy (approx 90 threads). I’ve set up a filter that found all the messages based on from address and set up a new Google-group to which I want to forward these 90 threads so the owner can recreate the forum. (probably around 200 email messages in total).

    Any suggestions how this can be accomplished most easily?

    Regards … Alec

  7. Michael Hunt says:

    Thunderbird (or any other mail client) with Gmail’s new IMAP enabled is a great way to archive mail. Setup like this it is simply a case of dragging and dropping messages.

    I;m thinking of trying a couple of IMAP sync programs to make a local IMAP account sync with my Gmail so that I have another offline backup.

  8. is there some way i can transfer all my mails from one gmail account to other? my gmail account has way too many emails and gmail loads very slow… i cannot shift to other account for various reasons…

    can you help me out in any way?


  1. […] In contrast, Gmail’s best feature is its legendary spam filter – in fact I relied on it long before become an active […]

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