5 Reasons to Use Gmail Over Outlook

by Denise Hazime on January 15, 2015

5 Reasons to Use Gmail Over Outlook banner

Google Apps users don't have to use Gmail over the version of Outlook that comes with Microsoft Office. In fact you can set up Google Apps to work with Outlook so you don't have to change your processes. But there are a few very good reasons to consider switching your organization over to the Gmail interface.

1. Improved Search

Google started out as a search engine, not a software company. The search function within Gmail is far superior, both in speed and accuracy, to the search function within Outlook. If you're like most workers, you search your email frequently for conversations and documents. The more emails you have to search, the slower Outlook gets. But Gmail returns your results within seconds, which ups your productivity organization-wide.

Searching Email

2. Gmail's Primary Inbox and Tab system

This is the #1 reason to switch to Gmail. Gmail will automatically organize your email into Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums tabs, should you choose to switch all of them on. This reduces the amount of time spent sorting through your email significantly, and Gmail is usually smart enough to sort your email correctly on the first try. If it isn't, you can always apply a filter to send certain emails to certain tabs.

Primary Inbox and Tab system

This reduces the amount of email pouring into your Inbox significantly, and lets you deal with social network posts, forums you are subscribed to and promotions on your own time, instead of busily firing them into email folders as you would in Outlook. Again, this is a huge productivity boost because the only emails you see in your Primary inbox are the ones that actually belong there.

3. Spam and the Promotions Tab

Gmail is very good at dealing with spam emails and sorting them out from the promotional items you are actually interested in. Items that are clearly spam are sent straight to the spam folder, while promotions are fed to the Promotions tab, where you can deal with them when you have time. Essentially, Gmail is sorting your junk mail into 'Annoying' and 'Less Annoying' categories for you.

Many marketers actually hated the Promotions tab when it was first introduced as it meant that their emails were no longer getting in front of customers - which is kind of how it should be if you aren't interested in them. What does this mean for you? A coupon from your favourite store won't end up in your spam folder, but it will be accessible from your Promotions tab when you have time to think about shopping.

4. You Can Still Keep Your Folders with Labels

One of the pain points of migrating email systems from Gmail to Outlook is convincing users to let go of the easy organizational system of Outlook's folders. The same functionality still exists within Gmail with Labels. To label an email, you open it and click the label icon on the top sidebar just above the email, as below:

Labels in Gmail

You will then be able to choose your label or create an entirely new one from this menu. All of your labels are accessible from the left side menu (first image, bottom right).

So you can still easily organize your emails in the same way that you do in Outlook ' all while taking advantage of the rest of the Gmail features that Outlook doesn't have.

5. Unified Communications Integration with Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

Outlook boasts that Outlook can integrate with unified communications via Microsoft Lync. Trouble is, Lync is an enterprise-level solution that usually carries a high setup and implementation cost. Gmail lets you start Google Hangouts directly from Gmail, which are no cost to your business (except for if you want to get into extended capabilities) and allow you to host video calls for up to 10 participants - for no charge except the Internet bandwidth you use.

Additionally, you can call anywhere in North America for free - right from Gmail (second image on the right). This is a feature you'll find yourself using if your phone dies right before an important call, and ensures that your business is always connected. Start your Google Hangouts - and your phone calls — right from your left sidebar.

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