Never have I been as enthusiastic about being a Gmail user as I am now.
Or at least not since five years ago when a close friend — someone whom I’ve shared a beer with for roughly half my life — gave me an invitation to open my very own Gmail account.
It was a privilege at that time because being a user of Google.com’s newly-launched free webmail service was strictly by invitation only.
It took me seven months after its April 2004 launch before I got an invite.
The process took longer than I expected — since I had a bunch of tech geeks and netheads as my friends — but it was well worth the wait.
Besides promising to store a gigabyte’s worth of email messages — at a time when owning a 256 MB thumb drive was cool — Gmail’s overall look and feel encouraged people such as myself to enjoy the experience of sending and receiving email messages even on a slow dial-up net connection.
As soon as I got my own Gmail account, I got hooked, ignoring and eventually neglecting my other web-based email addresses such as Yahoo!,
Lycos, and Hotmail.
Moreover, since I had the privilege of inviting 100 other people to enjoy the Gmail experience, I sent invites to myself, opening five or so accounts for work, personal stuff, and various other e-groups.
In February 2007, when Google.com finally made its free email service available to the public, I already was a Gmail veteran, with tons of mail in storage. These ranged from scanned images of Joyce Jimenez and hundreds of spam from Murli Menon, the CEO of Gujarat, India-headquartered PhenoMenon Consultants Inc.
Just recently, Gmail introduced a new feature that has me going gaga over email again.
It’s called Drag and Drop labels, an enhancement of a previous feature, allowing users organize email messages by category and/or color.
Once a label is named and used, it automatically appears on the screen’s left side, sporting a color — one out of 24 shades — chosen by the user.
Any email dragged into the newly-created category then carries the label and the color of that category.
That’s not all.
Since each category acts like a folder, all emails carrying that label can be accessed by simply clicking on the category itself.
Thanks to this new enhancement, users such as myself are spared from the time-consuming burden of scrolling through various files, many of which have been buried in Gmail’s vast storage space, unlabeled and unaccounted for.
When Drag and Drop Labels were introduced, I went full blast, creating five new categories that covered all manner of email messages I wanted to keep — forwarded novenas from my aunt in West Australia, a chat transcript with a friend way back when we were both living within the US tri-state area, and drafts of unfinished blog entries.
But like all technological advancements, Drag and Drop Labels have a hitch.
To maximize its benefits, you just have to sit down, formulate categories, and decide whether messages from the likes of Menon are really worth keeping.