I love using Gmail. The clean and simple interface is intuitive and doesn’t get in the way of the main purpose of the app, reading your email.
And the whole searching and tagging of emails works great for people like me that aren’t all that organized. Just leave everything in your inbox, and let the tagging/search options find it for you.
And beyond that, having all your mail available to you no matter what computer you are using and no matter where in the world you are, is really useful.
But sometimes it can be useful to have your data, in this case email, offline. That way when you don’t have an active connection to the Internet, you can still read and access your old emails. That’s where Thunderbird comes in.
Thunderbird is an email client, similar to outlook, that is maintained and distributed by the Mozilla foundation. The same guys that bring you Firefox. It’s free, easy to use, if you are at all familiar with Outlook, and pretty lightweight on system resources. Best of all, it can hook up to your Gmail account and download all your email into a local storage area. And with imap services enabled on your gmail account, you can keep both the online and the local copies of your email in perfect sync.
You can even sync your contacts using an Thunderbird add-on called Zindus. Pretty cool and very useful.