Gmail is a newer online mailing system that is open to the general public. It started off being an email system that you were to be invited to but is now easily accessible to anyone on the internet.
Gmail is not the average Hotmail, Yahoo or work account because it has so many different features available to its customers. I believe the features Gmail offers that sets it apart from the rest are the welcoming colors and organization or features as well as the instant messenger that you are able to use when someone else is accessing their Gmail account.
The first socialization tool people are able to use are their emails. This is a somewhat quick and extremely simple way to keep in contact with friends, family, and coworkers. Gmail uses different color codes to show whether the email is read, unread, important, and etc. This really helps people to interact with others in a very quick and efficient way.
The second socialization tool, as I had mentioned earlier, is the instant messenger that is available to the users. You are able to chat with someone as fast as you would be able to using AOL Instant Messenger. I believe this is a great idea because you are not only attending to people you need to speak with but you could also be keeping up with a friend through IM. You are able to go through non-verbal conversation but there is not time lapse that could make for a more confusing conversation.
In the emails and instant messages you are able to use emotions such as a smiley, sad or excited to face to really show how you are saying your comment. This is not exactly verbal communication but it allows the user to get a little better of an idea, rather than having to guess how you meant to have a comment come across. You are also able to show adjacency pairs when using the instant messenger because if it is a person you are familiar with nine times out of ten they will know how you are saying things. They will also be having a continuous conversation with you so you are able to go back and forth on different issues.
I would say that the email is better for formal conversations and the instant messages are more informal. You are able to having a professional conversation with your boss through email but this would be deemed innappropriate if one were to ever try having this conversation through IM.
Overall, I would say Gmail has done a great job of putting people in a technological environment that will help them to communicate in a way that may not be as great as speaking in person would be but much better than using one email or one text.