This might feel such as for instance a mini-course in ancient history, but I’m only going back 20 years.
Back the mid 1980’s during University, my email was a mcgill.ca address while my American associates had an “.edu” email address. Usage of these systems was by way of a Telnet session at any of the school’s terminals. From your home, I possibly could dial-in to a SLIP server with a 2400 baud modem, and get my email provided that I’d a Telnet client.
Those that didn’t visit College had access to a Freenet account, that has been also accessible through Telnet.
When I graduated and had to fund an Internet Service Provider, I accessed email through POP and SMTP with Outlook or Eudora for decades until I wanted the capability to access the net from anywhere in the world. IMAP helped bridge the gap provided that the mail client was setup on could work and family computer so all my mail, Inbox, Sent Items, and Drafts, were synchronized.
With the popularity of net based emails by the mid 1990’s, the big 3 were MSN’s Hotmail, Yahoo! and Google’s Gmail. People would change or have multiple accounts as storage space was often the biggest headache. It wasn’t sometime ago when 2 megabytes was the maximum storage space. Gmail was the first to ever offer 2 gigabytes of storage, and continuously growing.
Most net based email providers had the capability to download POP email, but your email “from” or “reply-to” address was usually your web based email address buy edu email. That is acceptable for private use, but not for corporate use.
At a corporate level, Microsoft Exchange with the Outlook client was extremely popular, and is still popular today. Exchange is a messaging and groupware server that uses IMAP as one of many protocols to get into email. Additionally it has the Outlook Web Access feature that has been far more convenient than conventional net based email as it had your contacts, shared calendars and public folders.
Today, I still like using Outlook, as it provides a great “store and forward” mechanism: the capability to work off-line on my laptop. I can quickly work in Draft mode on an airplane and connect to the Internet to synchronize my mailbox when back on land. Plus, my Contacts are synchronized with my Palm PDA or Blackberry wireless handheld device.
Sure, I possibly could download my Yahoo or Gmail to my Outlook by using POP, however it wouldn’t synchronize any changes. Additionally it depends if my mail was deleted on the server after downloading, or stored on the server. Sorting email could be painfully slow with Yahoo compared to Gmail’s lightning fast search algorithm, nevertheless, you can’t sort by file size, for example.
Now that Gmail supports IMAP, by combining it with Outlook, I combine the best of both worlds. There are a few top features of Outlook I cannot live without, and with the popularity of social networking, integration with LinkedIn or Facebook makes it more appealing.
There’s a pattern for private email decreasing in favor of Instant Messaging and texting via cell phone. However, Email will will have a invest the corporate world.