Literally the very first thing I did when I came home from losing my job was to sign up for Google mail. I had always relied on my former employer for e-mail services, so I needed to get set up immediately, and Gmail did the trick. I really enjoy Gmail - especially its chat functions, and the fact that I basically never have to worry about deleting anything because it has more space than I'll ever need.
Of course, because I receive this service for free, Google does place a few text-only ads in a column next to my incoming messages, but considering my entire income for the past 25 years has come from advertising, I have no problem with this. HOWEVER - there is something REALLY creepy about Gmail that I have not been able to get used to. It reads my e-mail even before I do! If I'm chatting with a friend about "Lost", I get text ads about other ABC TV programs. If I'm sending a resume out to a prospective employer, I see ads for Careerbuilder.com. Every e-mail I receive is customized to the content of the letter. It can be kinda creepy.
Of course, Google does make mistakes... I received a note last night from my friend, Loretta Cooper, and the ads offered to sell me cars - Mini-Coopers, of course. I'm wondering if I ever wrote a doctor about hemmorroids if I'd get Preparation H ads... And God forbid if I ever hear the bad news about someone dying - will I get a great deal on a casket?
God Bless Madison Avenue!