I highly recommend Gmail if you haven’t checked it out already. The web interface allows you to access your email from anywhere, I rarely get any spam in my Inbox, there’s ton of free storage space, and email conversations are threaded making it easier to keep track of messages (i.e. you see a single email rather than 50 “Re: Hello” messages).

Unlike Yahoo Mail, there are no advertisements appended to the emails you send. Instead, Google brings in revenue from their “sponsored ads” displayed on the sidebar of Gmail’s interface. But with a few addons for Firefox, you can completely remove these. The only real downside of Gmail is the security concerns of Google scanning all your emails to display contextual ads. But I think these concerns can apply to anything on the internet. Check out FirePGP for encryption if you are worried.

Google has recently began to roll out rolled out a new version of Gmail that improves speed dramatically, but can break many old addons and scripts, including those that block ads in Gmail. But blocking them yourself is simple, requiring only the following:

  1. Install Firefox, a web browser that’s safer and more customizable than M$ Internet Explorer.
  2. Install the Adblock Plus addon. Wait to restart Firefox after step 3.
  3. Install the Adblock Plus Element Hiding Helper addon, which helps select special blocks of content to hide. Restart Firefox after it’s installed.
  4. Subscribe to the EasyList filter, which tell Adblock how to block ads.
  5. Bring up Adblock’s Element Hiding selector by right clicking on the red “ABP” icon and selecting “Select element to hide.” Or press down the shortcut keys CTRL+SHIFT+K.
  6. When the red selector comes up, click the area on the right where the ads are above “Sponsored Links” right below “Print all.”
  7. Click “Add filter rule.”

Simply installing Adblock Plus removes most ads, and the Element Hiding Helper can be used to take out any that remain.

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