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  1. #1
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    Feature showdown: Gmail vs. Outlook.com




    BEST PRACTICES

    Feature showdown: Gmail vs. Outlook.com




    By Katherine Murray

    Trying to choose between Google's Gmail and Microsoft's Outlook.com? These two Web-based email service have some significant differences to consider. To a large part, it comes down to context — and you might be surprised by the factors that influence your choice.

    The full text of this column is posted at http://windowssecrets.com/best-pract...s-outlook-com/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Kathleen Atkins; 2013-07-17 at 20:29.

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    Desktop clients typically offer much more sophisticated filtering, selective aging/purging of old messages, address books, etc than do the current web clients. On the other hand, syncing those features, even if you access the messages themselves by iMAP, usually requires some extra steps. It would be interesting to see an article on the best desktop clients, from a multiple computer/platform standpoint, to use.

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    Lounger Will Fastie's Avatar
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    No Need for IMAP

    On the technical side, Outlook.com currently doesn't support IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), which you need for automatic synching between local email clients and the Web.
    Is there a popular device or email client that does not support Exchange, either directly or via ExchangeActiveSync?

    Outlook.com is based on Exchange. I'm not sure I see any need for IMAP.

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    Myself, I'm well established with using a desktop email client. Currently, I use Thunderbird with the Lightening Calendar app and some other plugins. I have several Gmail accounts and use webmail mainly when travelling.

    If you're not part of an Exchange system, syncing email across devices needs IMAP. So if you're not doing it the MS way, you need IMAP.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Fastie View Post
    Is there a popular device or email client that does not support Exchange, either directly or via ExchangeActiveSync?

    Outlook.com is based on Exchange. I'm not sure I see any need for IMAP.
    IMAP allows syncing across multiple computers, which is much more difficult with POP-3 clients.

    As implemented by most clients, IMAP allows manipulation of all folders on the remote server (web mail), whereas POP-3 usually only downloads mail from one folder (your Inbox) to one local computer or device.

    IMAP as typically implemented leaves mail on the remote server. POP-3 often removes mail from the remote server as it is downloaded. IMAP typically syncs all actions on all local computers and the remote server, so that any changes made in one location are made in all locations. As I note below, this can have drawbacks. POP-3 usually isolates actions, so that what is changed on one computer only affects that local client instance, not other computers and not anything on the remote server. The exception is the usual setting to delete messages from the remote server when they are downloaded. This setting can be changed.

    Of course, both IMAP and POP-3 can be configured to suit a variety of needs, but these are the usual differences I've seen in my use of email clients on my own computers.

    I prefer POP-3, as I'd rather manage email folders locally than remotely, and I don't sync or share web mail across multiple devices. GMail in particular does not organize mail into discreet folders and messages, and I find this annoying. So I manage my GMail messages locally using Pegasus Mail (although Thunderbird works very well also, but is becoming unsupported.)

    I've lost messages from my one IMAP setup, with Fastmail. It's just too easy to delete something locally and have it also deleted on the remote server, only to find I actually wanted to keep that message. (At the time, Fastmail had no way of recovering Trashed messages. But Thunderbird did retain its Trash until I would empty it myself.) I also had locally downloaded messages disappear when I cleaned up my Fastmail Web Mail account. I eventually made a whole new local account to manage this issue, moving all incoming mail into an unconnected (not set up for Internet access at all) Thunderbird Local Account before it could get messed with by changes at the Web Mail server end. IMAP has these problems, but POP-3 has never caused local deletions just because I cleaned out my Yahoo Web Mail online account.

    The skin I used with Thunderbird was Eudora OSE, so the term Local Account may not be a pure Thunderbird term.

    I have no experience with Outlook.com, so I can't make any comparisons with GMail, or with using local clients from my own experiences.

    As for web based email, I like to isolate my email from other activities, and I am ad-averse. This is why I pay for my Yahoo Mail Plus Account. GMail's Conversations View is to me a major pain, so I don't like using GMail.

    Given a choice of all free web mail products, I choose Opera Mail (formerly, Fastmail) because of its spartan interface, lack of ads, privacy (They definitely do NOT read your mail -- manually or automatically!) and LACK of default integration with social media sites and voice calling. All of which are just my preferences. Others are entitled to choose web based email services for entirely different reasons.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-07-18 at 15:36.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Given a choice of all free web mail products, I choose Opera Mail (formerly, Fastmail) because of its spartan interface, lack of ads, privacy (They definitely do NOT read your mail -- manually or automatically!) and LACK of default integration with social media sites and voice calling.
    I think that's My Opera Mail. Opera Mail is an email client program (also free).

    FastMail still exists for paid accounts.

    Bruce

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    Guess I'm way back in the dark ages, but find Windows Mail (formerly Windows Live Mail) works just fine for me and our small business. Was using Outlook Express before it become WLM and so was used to its UI. It seems to do all we need in our business, but I also realize that the right email program can do a lot more than just send, receive and store emails. Actually Katherine's article informed me of a number of features email programs can have. The issue, of course, is finding time to learn yet another new program. Guess that's why I'm sticking with Windows Mail until it no longer meets our needs.

    Thanks for the helpful comparison and more learning in the comments.

    Linda

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    I think that's My Opera Mail. Opera Mail is an email client program (also free).

    FastMail still exists for paid accounts.

    Bruce
    They have indeed changed their name and login page rather recently. I am in fact referring to My Opera Mail, the Web Mail Service. I use My Opera Mail with Pegasus Mail desktop client, just because I am using Pegasus Mail for all my local email client needs. I haven't tried the Opera Mail client.

    Actually, I have a Fastmail Legacy Free Account. But they turned everyone to Opera Mail/My Opera Mail awhile ago for new free accounts. I am aware they still have paid accounts with added features. Including POP-3 access, FWIW.

    I do keep up with online resources which I use regularly.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-07-25 at 23:38.
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    I reluctantly use Outlook because I think Google knows more than enough about me already.

    The current version of Outlook has some issues that I find highly annoying, however:

    When opened, and you view the first email and click on 'Reply', it will go into "reply" mode, allow you to type a few words or a sentence, then will suddenly "reboot" into "new message" mode with no warning, losing whatever you've already typed. This happens here consistently, and is incredibly annoying.

    The other constant issue I have with it is that while it appears to support drag-n-drop editing while composing a message (as Hotmail did), it does nothing when you attempt to do so, forcing constant cut-n-paste instead.

    And lastly, Outlook's search engine is utter garbage. It either returns nothing, or endless irrelevant messages. Just a joke.

    It is possible that some of these issues are related to the browser I'm using (Firefox), in which case it would just be another petty Microsoft competitor "gotcha" that we've all had to live with for years.

    I still use Forte Agent (POP3) for the majority of my email. It has a blindingly fast search engine than can accept both word based and regular expressions, and everything is kept locally on my machine (backed up to my laptop with Dropbox). While it makes it more difficult to sync with my phone, I prefer it for most things.

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    I do NOT like the way gmail designed only 5 possible tabs that they chose. I would prefer to be able to use as many tabs as I want and to be able to name them as I choose.
    Many comments on this page concerning gmail and tabs.
    http://betanews.com/2013/05/30/googl...akes-me-angry/

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