Creating a Google account
In order to use the most helpful features of Google applications such as Google Docs and Google Calendar, you must have a Google account. There are two options for creating a Google account that provide varying levels of access to Google applications: create a Gmail account or create a Google account using a non-Gmail address.
Do I Need a Gmail Address?
If you decide to create a Gmail account, you will be assigned a unique email address of the form [name of your choosing]@gmail.com. This is clearly the option that Google prefers and they seem to make this route easier to help move you in this direction.
- Creating a Gmail account will give you access to all Google applications in one fell swoop and you can use your Gmail address as your username every time you sign in to any Google applications.
- Gmail is free and the Web-based client is very usable and fully integrated with other Google applications.
- You can usually configure your current email client (e.g., Microsoft Outlook) on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to grab mail from your Gmail account so you don't have to learn and monitor the Gmail Web client.
- Just because you have a Gmail address doesn't mean you have to use it. It can simply sit there and receive mail, typically from Google.
- If you don't already have a second email address in addition to your winona.edu professional address, you may be surprised by how much you actually end up using your Gmail address (e.g., to separate personal and professional correspondence).
- If you already have a Yahoo or Hotmail address that you use extensively, generating yet another email address might complicate your life.
- Although no email system is 100% secure and reliable, commercial email services like Gmail and Hotmail have additional limitations and risks when compared with closed, private, and locally-managed services like the Microsoft Exchange system at WSU. If you understand these differences, it's easy to use services like Gmail safely. If you don't, you can run into trouble.
Option 1 - Creating a Gmail Account
If you plan on using Google applications regularly, you are not concerned about having another email address in your digital life, and you understand the limitations and risks of using a free, commercial email service, this is a good option.