By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO
Many people use Google for their email account, but there are a variety of others that also offer free email accounts. Lots of people are on Yahoo, or they may settle for an email account with their internet service provider. Microsoft has offered many forms of free email over time, today they have the outlook.com extension. On Spectrum which used to be Time Warner, I have a legacy account with new.rr.com extension. The new refers to Northeast Wisconsin and rr stands for Road Runner (the legendary fast bird) – referring to high speed internet. Most of my email now comes through my Google account or Gmail with gmail.com extension.
With Google you get more than just email, you get 15GB of free storage. If you have a Google Account on your cell phone, it can backup all your pictures. The phone settings and apps can also be backed up in case you lose or transfer to another phone.
Google Docs include Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings and even Forms, making for a complete set of productivity tools. These tools are all online accessible from any modern browser. Sharing and collaboration are at the heart of these tools where documents can be co-authored. It may not have all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Office, but it is still quite usable and free with membership.
Big Brother is Watching
Google Chrome is still a great browser, but it is now becoming a bit bloated. I am also aware that Google is watching what I am doing online. If I am searching for a product online, advertisements will follow me around as I browse anywhere else. I am a realist and know that Google cannot offer these benefits without being profitable. Advertising is how they make money.
When signing in to Google all settings, such as bookmarks travel with you. This eliminates having to reset or import bookmarks, contacts, etc on every browser used. This is especially great for Chromebook users as they may use several devices.
All browsers are under attack daily from malicious hackers. If you doubt me, do a search for “browser vulnerability.” Every few days I get an update for Chromium (an open source version of the Chrome Browser), Firefox or Opera on my Linux Mint computer. The goal of the hackers is to overcome existing security and obtain your personal information. This is also how malware is introduced especially to Windows computers. Software maintenance is especially important for Google and other browser manufacturers. They do their best, but buyer beware, totally safe internet browsing is a myth.
Pros and Cons
In the end, I (like many users) must make a choice between convenience and security. For me, the benefits of using a Google account far outweigh my security concerns. So much so, that I have purchased an additional 100 GB or space that I pay for yearly to the tune of $20. Google refers to it as a Google One account. I’ve had the account for several years and have used less than 20 percent of the total.