June 5: Look smart: Sign up for a Gmail account

If it were up to me, the first thing I would look for on a job application is whether or not a person has a Gmail account. However, it is required I hire and fire based on qualifications, a far less meaningful indicator.

Gmail, or Google mail, is not only a way to send messages to people, it’s a lifestyle organizer. Even on the most basic level — sending and receiving e-mail — Gmail is advanced. The service allows you to forward mail from other accounts to your Gmail account and can sort all the mail in created folders based on who or where it came from. Plus, it has almost an infinite amount of space. As I write this, there are more than 6753 megabytes available for use in my account and that number grows every second. Never will an e-mail “bounce” because your inbox is too full.

Having a Gmail account also allows you to share documents with others, so multiple people can see it and make their own changes or additions to it. This is especially handy for group projects or assignments. The same sharing capabilities includes photos.

Ever wanted to chat with someone while on a computer that doesn’t have AIM installed? Google Chat, a sidebar on your Gmail page, allows you to chat with other Gmail users and lets you sign into your AIM buddy list no matter where you are.

The Google account that comes with Gmail also allows you to create a customized home page. Add your own widgets to get the latest sports scores, Daily Illini headlines, weather, RSS feeds from your favorite sites or blogs, sudoku or YouTube videos right on your home page.

Maybe this sounded like one giant ad for Google, but I assure you, I have never received a dime from the company and I own no stock in their name. When you’re juggling a lot of different activities with school, take any help you can get.