I've been testing Google's Gmail, a free Web email system with one gigabyte of storage that's currently in beta. Brad Templeton recently wrote an extensive and interesting essay on the current flaws with Gmail's privacy and storage policies and how to address most of them. I'm hoping that Google takes actions as he suggests, as I've found so far that Gmail has a number of practical benefits for my email routine that I wouldn't have otherwise thought of.First, I delete a reasonable amount of mail, but file most of it. I leave everything archived in Gmail. Second, I run my own mail server, but my DSL network and my server sometimes go down. I'm currently exploding all of my inbound email to my local mailbox and to Gmail. This means that I have a copy of everything that's arrived up to the minute the server or network connection goes down. Third, by cc'ing all of my outbound messages from whatever service I use to Gmail, I have a full searchable copy of whatever I've sent wherever I am, freeing me from the local mail store's outbox. Gmail does have its problems in beta, although they're relatively few. It has no substantive spam filtering, for instance. SpamAssassin left in its default configuration catches a few hundred spams a day that Gmail misses, but I dutifully mark and report all the spam to Gmail as I'm guessing they're building something behind the scenes that will rely on some seeding of all the bad bad email out there. Undocumented secret for current Gmail users. Want secured SSL-based Gmail? Enter https://gmail.google.com/gmail. I'm in a unique relationship with Google. While I don't have a direct relationship with the company--I have just one colleague there that I know well--they feed an enormous percentage of the traffic I receive at Wi-Fi Networking News and isbn.nu. Because those sites receive so much traffic, I make a fair amount of money from Google AdSense ads on those pages, and from selling books at isbn.nu through affiliate programs. I'm definitely somewhat dependent on Google because of the inbound and outbound traffic and revenue, and thus this restricts me in some of my journalistic endeavors. I can't write about the company without disclosing that they cut me checks every month based on clicks.