Verizon customers around Vermont are now FairPoint customers, and most of them were lucky enough to have their old verizon.net email addresses changed to myfairpoint.net addresses. A surprising number of people use the email address provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP) and it amazes me that so many of them don’t look for a better solution.

Stephen Colbert did a skit some time ago about how Cingular changed its name to AT&T:

“Cingular was owned by Bell South and SBC, which had been Southwestern Bell and Ameritech, which before that had been Illinois Bell, Wisconsin Bell, Michigan Bell, Ohio Bell, and Indiana Bell. All of those used to be AT&T. A couple of years ago Cingular bought AT&T Wireless and renamed it Cingular, but SBC bought AT&T and changed its own name to AT&T. Then, that new AT&T bought Bell South, changing its name to AT&T, making it only logical to turn Cingular into AT&T.”

My point is that your ISP might not be called tomorrow what it’s called today. Each time your provider changes names, you will get a new email address. Also, ISP email generally imposes lame restrictions on attachment size and total mailbox capacity; it’s not free, and the webmail interfaces are generally terrible.

Enter Google Mail, or Gmail. Gmail is the free email service provided by Google, which, I think we can all agree, isn’t going anywhere. I’ve used my Gmail account for many years now. It is endlessly cleaner, faster, more useful and more efficient than any other webmail service like Hotmail or Yahoo! mail. Gmail can “pull” all the email from an existing account, so switching is painless. Best of all, it is securely accessible from any computer connected to the Internet. There’s an iPod touch/iPhone application for it, and it’s constantly under development, with improvements rolled out all the time.

Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

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