I was lucky enough to get a GMail account about 3 days after their beta launched because I met some arcane formula on my Blogger usage. I liked GMail from the start, and invited lots of people, and evangelized all over for the Google love.
Then time passed, Yahoo! increased their storage space, and my old Yahoo! habits won out. I figured out I just didn't need to save most of my email and I liked the Yahoo! riff on most things.
But what I kept using Gmail for was storing large attachments of a serial Microsoft Publisher file that I get every week. I had thrown it away after I used it, but suddenly I didn't have to. I had used many online file storage systems over the years. I used to pay these guys $40 per year for some GB (forget which plan I had). For a while, I used Yahoo! Briefcase with 30 MB of space, and some other service I can't remember right now.
But Gmail is perfect for storing what I really need to store (documents that I want to work on, refer to, or use later) instead of what I don't (emails that I've already read and acted on). Here's how I use it:
- I set up a Gmail account that only I know/ send things to
- Whenever I finish a document from work that I have officially delivered (a proposal, a strategy document, training materials, or some other deliverable), I send it to the account
- I copy/paste the most germane portion of the document (executive summary, price, deliverables, etc.) into the body of the email so that it will easily show up in searches and I can scan them later
- Then I go into Gmail and use the tagging function to characterize the document-- "client name", "proposal", "training", etc.
That way, I've got only documents-- not spam, not text that surrounds draft documents, not conversations that won't really matter 10 months from now, and so on. Yahoo! is my main mail, but Gmail is the best free online file storage system anywhere.