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There are a number of free email services available for all to use, including Google’s insanely popular Gmail and Microsoft’s insanely popular Outlook. These two, as well as the other less popular options, offer fantastic tools for us to communicate with each other for free. But which do you use? And what made you choose that particular service over the competition?

Smartphones Are a Mixed Bag

To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Smartphones are now an unavoidable part of the world. Even if you don't own one, you'll find yourself exposed to them. The question is, are smartphones good or bad for society? Read More

Out of a total of 189 votes, 68.8% chose Smartphones are Partly Good & Partly Bad, 10.6% chose Smartphones are Bad, 100 Percent, 9.5% chose Smartphones are Good, 100 Percent, 5.8% chose Smartphones are Inconsequential, 4.2% percent exclaimed, Who Cares!, and 1% asked, What are Smartphones?

So it turns out the majority of you feel smartphones are both good and bad for society. Which really isn’t surprising. Smartphones certainly have the capacity to benefit us all 7 Household Items Our Smartphones Replaced That Maybe They Shouldn't Have 7 Household Items Our Smartphones Replaced That Maybe They Shouldn't Have Our smartphones have replaced a lot of commons items, but is that really for the best? Read More , but, if used incorrectly, smartphones have the potential to ruin lives How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life Your smartphone could be ruining your life, or at least have the capacity to do so in the future. Read More . In the end it all comes down to the user rather than the technology itself.

smartphones-society-poll-results

Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Hallsandolr Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Smartphones are now an unavoidable part of the world. Even if you don't own one, you'll find yourself exposed to them. The question is, are smartphones good or bad for society? Read More , Dragonmouth Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Smartphones are now an unavoidable part of the world. Even if you don't own one, you'll find yourself exposed to them. The question is, are smartphones good or bad for society? Read More , and Gavin Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Smartphones are now an unavoidable part of the world. Even if you don't own one, you'll find yourself exposed to them. The question is, are smartphones good or bad for society? Read More . Comment Of The Week goes to Laura, who earns our admiration and affection for this comment Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Are Smartphones Good or Bad for Society? [MakeUseOf Poll] Smartphones are now an unavoidable part of the world. Even if you don't own one, you'll find yourself exposed to them. The question is, are smartphones good or bad for society? Read More :

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It’s the user that has to decide if they are going to be the master or mastered. We are at a pivotal point in the evolution of information and are trying to figure out how to best use it all. People will get this figured out and will continue to demand proof of legitimacy from sources. The over use of electronic communication is just a new phase of people needing to connect with the least amount of effort.

We chose this comment because it gets to the heart of the issue. Namely, that it’s how we use smartphones that determines whether this technology is good or bad for society. Other readers also mentioned this undeniable element, but this comment summed things up in the most succinct way.

Free Email Services

Email is omnipresent in our lives these days. The vast majority of people have an email address, or more likely multiple email addresses, and whether we actively use email or not, our inboxes quickly fill up thanks to family, friends, and the ever-hopeful and overzealous spammers How Do Spammers Find Your Email Address? How Do Spammers Find Your Email Address? Spam is the closest thing we’ll ever find to an Internet plague. No matter who you are, spam will one day find you and you’ll have no choice but to put up with its pestilence.... Read More .

The majority of people use one of the many free email services available to use today. From Gmail Rediscover Gmail Labels and Finally Tame Your Inbox Rediscover Gmail Labels and Finally Tame Your Inbox There are plenty of tricks to deal with email overload, but there's one right under your nose that you might not be using: good old Gmail labels. Read More to Outlook Become a Pro Outlook User By Avoiding Common Mistakes Become a Pro Outlook User By Avoiding Common Mistakes If you work in a typical office environment, the odds are pretty good that the mail system is an Exchange sever and that the mail client of choice is Outlook. We've covered Outlook here at... Read More , and from Yahoo! Mail to iCloud Mail, there are options open to all regardless of their brand loyalties and choice of primary device.

We simply want to know, “Which of These Free Email Services Do You Use?”

Once you have voted in the poll above, please explain in the comments section below why you voted that way. What made you choose the free email service you currently use? Have you always used that one or have you only recently made the switch? Either way, why? Would you carry on using your email service if you needed to start paying for it?

The more information you can provide with your comment, the more accurate our conclusions can be based on the results. The best comment of the week will win our everlasting admiration and affection. At least until we all meet back here again this time next week with a new question.

Image Credits: Micky Aldridge via Flickr

  1. Brad Merrill
    May 31, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I switched to Gmail eight years ago and haven't looked back. Today I rely heavily on Google Apps for Business, and I love the way Gmail ties into that.

  2. Rick Shortt
    May 31, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    While you may not be able to completely remove a sent email from the sent label in gmail, you can most certainly add more labels to it and also move it to the inbox. You can also most definitely delete one message (or more) in a thread without deleting the rest of the conversation - at least in conversation view you can. Not sure about what it does if you turn conversation view off as you have. I don't like the predetermined tabs that gmail has - Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums - so I use the old inbox that keeps everything in a single inbox, but if you could create custom tabs that you could then set up filters for to direct incoming messages to the proper tab, then I might like that. And to each his own as to what they like and what works for them, but also being a heavy Evernote user and making use of tags with my photos, I can never quite understand why some people don't like tags or labels (same thing). You can only put something in one folder unless you make a copy of it - and that leads to another set of problems at times. With tags or labels, you can add as many as apply. Things don't always fit neatly into only one folder.

  3. Brendan J Cilia
    May 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I use GMX, partly because I wanted something different and partly due to the revelations regarding the spying of gmail emails and such. I've been happy with it, I use the GMX android app also

  4. A41202813GMAIL ..
    May 27, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    The New GUI Changes Were Really Needed For Those Who Have Slower Machines, Like I Did A Few Days Ago. Cheers.

    • A41202813GMAIL ..
      May 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      The Comment System Was Way Better, Though. --- Cheers.

  5. William Albrecht
    May 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    GMail for personal use; Outlook for work and I keep an AOhelL account for garbage (things I figure may result in a lot of SPAM). I like Gmail's interface, and I admit that I enjoy using all the toys they've developed. I enjoy the option of customizing my signature and the appearance of my emails, The extensions they offer are great. They offer all the storage I need.

  6. Carol Elkins
    May 26, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I have Google and Yahoo email addresses, but I forward all mail received at those addresses to my Eudora email client. I've used Eudora since 1995 and have a copy of every email I've sent. I prefer storing my mail on my own computer. In the "olden days," I found the online services to be unreliable for longterm storage. They would regularly delete the contents of user accounts. And I seriously don't like the online interfaces. Eudora has much more powerful search capabilities, and it is easier to set up multiple personalities for each of my email accounts. I am just not a fan of cloud computing.

  7. Steve Bateman-Wright
    May 26, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Ive had the same Gmail address, which ive used as my primary email, since someone sent me one of their invites when Gmail first started up. I also have a Hotmail address and a Mail.ru account under a pseudonym which i set up as they give you a ridiculous 100gb of cloud storage.

  8. Tom Spinella
    May 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    GMail for personal use; Outlook at work. I like the interface of GMail, and I must admit that I enjoy using all the toys they develop. I enjoy the option of using --and changing--the background imagery and customizing my signature and the appearance of my emails, The extensions they offer are great fun, like Mail-track, and Augment. They offer enormous storage, too. Although there are doubtless better reasons from a productivity standpoint for preferring GMail, GMail satisfies my productivity requirements handsomely while offering oodles of bells and whistles. I will also mention that the bells and whistles nearly always work the way they're supposed to, and disappear quickly and cleanly if I want them to.

  9. Susan Bellwood
    May 25, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I have used Outlook (Hotmail) from day one. I also use GMail, Yahoo,Xplornet,AOL and a couple of disposables. I have everything forwarded to Outlook, but I use Google Calendar and an Android phone so GMail would be my secondary email. Xplornet is my internet provider and I started out with AOL so that's why I have those two. I tried Yahoo and liked it but don't use is much. I do like Outlook the best.

  10. Gilbert J.
    May 25, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I use Gmail as my primary email provider. I have accounts with Outlook, GMX and Yahoo as well. I've been using Outlook a little more than usual lately, as I've been using Word/PowerPoint Online to collaborate with someone overseas who uses Office, but I don't plan to make it my primary any time soon. My judgement may be influenced by my familiarity with Gmail, but using Outlook more hasn't made me feel there's any reason to switch to it full time. My GMX account is in a username I use on a forum where I'm a moderator, so I can communicate outside the forum with members while still keeping my real identity private, but I've found it handy for other things on occasion. I don't think much of Yahoo Mail, and scarcely use it at all. I've taken to using Opera when I log into Yahoo so I don't get pestered to install the "Yahoo Browser Hijacker For Chrome".

  11. tuandbob
    May 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I have my email from the first ISP I had, changing the domain as the ISP got sold and absorbed. I'm a Comcast cable and internet customer, I have a Comcast email address which never has anything but Comcast advertising and billing in it. I've an Android phone, I have GMail. I've Yahoo! Messenger, I have a Yahoo!. I'm a US radio amateur, I have an ARRL, and two amateur radio club, email addresses. Seems like every organization you join grants you and email address. I didn't realize I had so many email addresses until I tried to list them

  12. R Stevens
    May 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    For several years I used Yahoo! mail... One thing that the countless management changes make no difference in is (1)They cannot discern what needs to be upgraded to what is fine and (2) they *NEVER* start anything they finish. After struggling with the schizophrenic Yahoo! mail became no longer viable when their 5th or 6th "new" version just ruined everything and the classic mail was no longer available. Back then it was Live mail from Microsoft, and I found it really straightforward and I liked the user interface. Outlook.com was a phenomenal upgrade. After getting used to the "sweep" features and the ease of making rules to sort incoming mail I could never use any other service. Additionally, I only get maybe 1 or 2 spam emails vs. dozens (which some even came from Yahoo). Lastly, I love the ease of navigation to the calendar, office, MSN and Bing, I'm spoiled and (obviously)very pleased with the service.

  13. Bruce Epper
    May 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I have multiple Hotmail/Outlook, GMail, and Yahoo! accounts each with their own dedicated purposes.

  14. Dennis Primm
    May 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I use Gmail now and have used it since the Beta release. I also use Outlook.com, and Windows Mail (in Win 8.1). What I liked most about Gmail was you didn't need to keep track of your emails, even though I use folders a lot just for my own piece of mind (HA! HA!) and it has many add on's such as Full Contact that really add to the experience. I don't worry about them tracking my online presence, because I'm sure the Government is already doing that anyhow. One thing I like about them tracking my online presence is they make advertisements applicable to my wants and needs. Some really good deals pop up when you least expect them. Well, that's my two cents worth. Thanks for asking us what our preferences are.

  15. nospamarigato
    May 25, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Gmail is my primary email. Under that I have several accounts for various purposes. But I also have the Outlook and Yahoo accounts which I don't really use except as a place holder for cloud space and having to use Yahoo groups to communicate with some folks. Oh yea, and a Comcast email account which I never use but check on once in a while. All mail to these different accounts get auto forwarded to my main account for reading. But why Gmail, you might ask? Because it doesn't rely on an ISP for an address, so it's portable from anywhere. It will probably not die off or shut down in my lifetime so it's stable and I don't have to endure the hassle of informing everyone of my new email address and possibly losing my archive if I move or change ISP. And I like it.

  16. Rishi Raj
    May 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Reasons why I use Gmail:
    1. It's free.
    2. It has not posed me any dire side effects by date, even when it has been analyzing user's mail data.
    3. Its web interface is so rich and state of the art and task management with its mail messages is not so cumbersome that there is no need for an email client (installable) to use Gmail effectively.
    4. If its service some day gets to be paid, I'll quit using it and develop my own email service and host that open public use.

  17. Alan
    May 25, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Well, apart from the obvious - Gmail which I use for logins, newsletters etc. Bredband! now I know bredband is my ISP but the email comes free with it. And, you can say with the ISP which is not free that without that there would be no email, well true enough but without my ISP there would be no Gmail either.

  18. @martinkem
    May 25, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I use GMail mostly, both the @gmail.ccom account and with my personal domain address. i also have got an outlook account, an organization email and a legacy Yahoo account

  19. ban
    May 25, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Used to be with Gmail but stopped using it when they changed their terms (like 3-4 years ago) when they decided that they want you connected to your account around all google projects to spy on your online presence.

    Now I'm on Zoho mail, and I'm not missing anything from Gmail. Best customer service ever as well.

  20. James Bassett
    May 25, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Yahoo, GMail, Outlook and Mail.com

  21. A41202813GMAIL
    May 25, 2015 at 3:31 am

    In Order Of Importance:

    GOOGLEMAIL,

    YANDEX,

    YAHOO,

    OUTLOOK.

    I Use Them All.

    Cheers.

  22. muzhik
    May 25, 2015 at 2:30 am

    gmail -- for 90% of my emails
    unseen.is -- for secure emails w/pgp encryption

  23. Quint
    May 25, 2015 at 1:16 am

    I've used Yahoo the longest (1997), but it's mostly for spam and junk mail. I currently use Gmail for personal use and have Google Apps for Business so Gmail is my main email. I like all the options and have never been disappointed. Iam not a fan of Outlook. We had exchange mail using desktop outlook and finally shifting to a web-based outlook with my previous employer. Not saying that there were a ton of issues, just didn't like like the fact they we were restricted with the use of exchange mail and Outlook looked so boring. I work now with a lot of clients that use Outlook. I've done a lot of profile repairs and recoveries as well as backup of data on Outlook. I've convince many of my clients to switch to Gmail and most are quite pleased with how it works. Judging by the votes to this point, I'd say that Gmail is a clear favorite.

  24. EDtheED
    May 24, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Used to use Yahoo until the spam became too bad and the ui became worse.

    Now I'm on Zoho and love it. No spam. Great with tabs, and can use both folders and labels. Plus, an online office suite that I don't use.

    I also have an outlook account that I got when it was new and will use as my logon for Windows 10. No plans to use it as my primary email as Zoho is working great.

    I also have a gmail account only because I use Android and Chrome OS and Drive. Don't use it for email because I hate gmail for email. The web interface absolutely sucks. No tabs. No folders. Labels are crap. You can't label sent emails AND remove them from the sent folder. Sorry, sent label. Hate conversation view and turned it off. Hate how if you delete one email in a thread, it deletes the whole conversation. Did I say I absolutely hate labels?

    Gmail is the most unintuitive piece of software ever. These PhDs at Google have no concept of intuitive ui design for the web. Android design is pretty good though.

    So, yahoo is too spammy, outlook is good with a clean layout, gmail is horrible from a ui/ux perspective, Zoho has all I need despite its 1990's design. Zoho wins for me.

  25. likefunbutnot
    May 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I filter most of my non-personal mail through Gmail before forwarding it to an account where I actually store E-mail. I do not use the Gmail interface for Android or on the web; it's just a redirector so I don't have to be terribly diligent about spam filtering on my personal mail server. I was a Gmail beta user and I like having (my real name)@gmail.com but more or less nothing else about the service, so it's just an IMAP mailbox now.

    I've had the same Yahoo Email account for 16 years. I direct commercial emails like Amazon and Netflix shipping notifications to that account.

    I have (my real name)@outlook.com and @hotmail.com as well, but I don't use those accounts for anything except extra Microsoft IDs.

    I've owned my own domains and maintained my own mail server for almost 20 years and that's where my messages actually live.

  26. Linda Braid
    May 24, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Gmail for most, Outlook for spam, vestigial Yahoo from inertia.

  27. Dmitry
    May 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    For majority of uses (mostly internet-based) i use Gmail - as oldest surviving email in my inbox is dated early 2005(gmail was still invite only at the time afair) i guess i can say i invested too much of my 'virtual me' in it (not to mention bein' Android user) - though last year i began transition of important accounts etc to Yandex (due to political reasons).
    And as nod to days long gone there's active mail.ru account which is used mostly as one-time sites registration junkyard.

  28. Erik
    May 24, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    But, the problem persists when most of my friends still use Gmail/Outlook/Yahoo :/

  29. Erik
    May 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I am slowly opting out of the free commercial "I am the product" options that I am using today (Gmail and Outlook), switching to KolabNow (offering superb TOS) and my personal domain. Next step will be switching to Ubuntu Phone or FirefoxOS for the phone as I want to opt out of all the "I agree to let my life be somebody else's property as I can use their services free/cheap".

  30. Steve
    May 24, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Your poll is flawed, it will only let me choose one!
    I have several free email accounts which are for different purposes & some are for different countries. For example - China often blocks Gmail so I need something else when I visit there. Also I use others for signing up to certain sites.

  31. Ammar Ali Shah
    May 24, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I use,
    1. Gmail
    2. Outlook
    3. Personal Email(registered with my domain)

    Gmail I use the most as I own an Android phone and I use Google for a lot of other stuff too. Outlook is just secondary and I don't even use it much. I recently deleted my Yahoo email account because it was of no use at all.

  32. Fara
    May 24, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Both Gmail and Outlook here...

  33. aaron
    May 24, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    started with Hotmail way back before Microsoft bought it. I have 2 accounts there and a couple Google accounts

  34. Michael Scoates
    May 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I used to be with Virgin as my ISP then moved to an area where I had to switch to British Telecom, so couldn't carry my old e-mail address across. It seemed logical to switch to a free provider to prevent this reoccurring and as I use a lot of Google services already (Chrome, Android) Gmail was an obvious candidate, so I tried it and liked it. Stuck with it ever since.

  35. David Bley
    May 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Started with Genie, moved to Yahoo, changed to Gmail when Yahoo improved UI till it was unuseable and added zoho when Google started dropping features I was using, i.e. Reader, Bookmark, etc.

  36. onebree
    May 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    The main flaw with this survey is it assumes the person uses one service. It should allow multiple options for selection. It should also include a "none of the above" option, in case the person only uses paid.

    You have to consider that if someone has Verizon mail, it goes through Yahoo, so some may answer as such. I understand that not many people answer these surveys, but that doesn't mean to takes shortcuts in making it.

    PS: on my phone, if I selected OTHER the poll did not provide a text box for details.

  37. Donald Anderson
    May 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I chose outlook although I also use iCloud and gmail because very soon I'll be getting back into a Windows Phone and that will make my outlook email primary.

  38. Erwin
    May 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Gmail since it was most common (at least amongst the ones I asked) when I looked for a free email service about 2 decades ago

    • Phids
      May 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      I don't think Google was even founded until 1998.

    • Phids
      May 24, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      I use gmail and hotmail.

      Anyone use ProtonMail? I saw a guy talk about it on a TED talk as being much more private than other email services.

    • S
      May 25, 2015 at 8:13 am

      I asked for a ProtonMail account but I still have to be reached out. I'm definitely going to give it a try ASAP.

  39. Kuldebar
    May 24, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I've stopped using Google whenever possible, so dropping GMail was a must. I use GMX based out of Germany as my main account, and Yahoo as a secondary.

  40. Jake
    May 24, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Outlook for important emails, Gmail for spam!

    • Deen
      May 25, 2015 at 10:54 am

      Yup, me too!

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