How To

What Is Gmail and How it Works

Leri Koen


Gmail is a free email client provided by Google. It works similarly to any other email client. You can send an email, receive and respond to email, block spam and potential threats, create an address book and perform other email tasks. However, Gmail also offers quite a few other features that make it one of the most popular email clients around. 

Gmail works from within your browser. You can log in to your Gmail account from most devices and browsers without needing specific requirements. However, users have reported better results in Chrome, Firefox, Windows Edge, and Safari browsers. 

What Is Gmail and How it Works

In this guide, we will be covering what Gmail is, how it works, and the features that make it such an excellent free email service.

What Is Google Gmail?

Gmail is used to send, receive and respond to emails. As such, it is an email client that not only offers basic email tasks, but also many innovations to make sending and receiving emails easier. You can also personalize your Gmail account for a nice touch.

Gmail’s Features

Here’s a list of the top Gmail features you can use.

Gmail Notifier

Gmail Notifier is a handy little app that you can download on your PC. Once enabled, it will check for new emails every two minutes and notify you without accessing your browser.

Mail Fetcher

This feature allows you to fetch emails from up to five other accounts and download them to your central Gmail account. This makes it easy to stay on top of your emails if you have multiple accounts. 

Contact Groups

What is Google Contacts? This is your address book in Gmail. Gmail has a handy feature that allows you to group contacts to send emails to the entire group.

Security and Spam

Gmail is very security conscious. Every email is run through a virus scan as it enters your inbox. Attachments are scanned twice. Suspicious emails are automatically sent to your spam folder. You may be wondering what is spam in Gmail? Spam is any unwanted sales, promotional, or potentially harmful phishing emails that you don’t want.

Parental Controls

Children under the age of 13 need parental consent to create a Gmail account. Parents can also set filters to block unwanted or inappropriate emails from reaching your child. 

Other innovative Gmail features include:

What Is Gmail and How it Works

How Does Gmail Work?

Gmail is used for receiving and sending emails via POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). To start using Gmail, you will have to create a Google Account. This Google Account links you to all of Google’s services such as Drive, Google Docs, and YouTube. Signing up for a Google Account is free, and during the process, you will also create your Gmail email address.

The Basics

Sending an Email

Click on the ‘+ Compose’ button on the left side menu to send an email. A new email tab will open where you can start writing your email. Add the recipient’s email address and any other addresses you want to ‘cc’ (carbon copy) in the email.

You can also use ‘bcc’ (blind carbon copy) to include someone in the email but not have them visible to other recipients. There’s also an option to schedule an email in Gmail if you don’t want to send it immediately.

Receiving and Responding to an Email

New emails will come into your inbox and usually lie right at the top. To read a new email, you just click on that email thread to open it. At the bottom of the email, you will have the option to reply to the email or forward it to someone else.  If you’re looking for a specific email, you can use search parameters to find it.

Using Attachments in Gmail

Attachments can be in the form of extra documents, photos, images, or other files. The attachment will usually show at the bottom of the email and can be clicked upon or downloaded.

To add an attachment, you click on the paperclip icon when composing your email. You can add up to 25MB attachments in Gmail, files larger than that can be sent as a Google Drive link. We have a trick for how to find attachments in Gmail.

Archiving in Gmail

What is an archive in Gmail? This is a way of moving emails you’ve tended to out of your inbox without deleting them. This way, they don’t clutter your inbox, but you can still access them when you need to. There are plenty of ways you can clean your Gmail inbox, and this is one of them.

What Is Gmail and How it Works

More Gmail Guides

Now that you have a basic idea of what Gmail is and how it works, take some time to read some of our other guides:

What Is the Difference Between Email and Gmail?

Many people wonder what the difference is between email and Gmail. Email stands for electronic mail, whereas Gmail stands for Google mail. So basically, email is a form of electronic mail, and Gmail is an email client used to exchange these emails.

Emails are sent through email clients such as Webmail, Yahoo, and Gmail. Since its founding in 2004, Gmail remains one of the most popular free web-based email clients available. Just remember to keep it updated to take advantage of new features.

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