Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » E »

email


Short for electronic mail, the transmission of messages over communications networks. The messages can be notes entered from the keyboard or electronic files stored on disk. Most mainframes, minicomputers, and computer networks have an e-mail system. Some electronic-mail systems are confined to a single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer systems, enabling usersto send electronic mail anywhere in the world. Companies that are fully computerized make extensive use of e-mail because it is fast, flexible, and reliable.

Most e-mail systems include a rudimentary text editor for composing messages, but many allow you to edit your messages using any editor you want. You then send the message to the recipient by specifying the recipient's address. You can also send the same message to several users at once. This is called broadcasting.

Sent messages are stored in electronic mailboxes until the recipient fetches them. To see if you have any mail, you may have to check your electronic mailbox periodically, although many systems alert you when mail is received. After reading your mail, you can store it in a text file, forward it to other users, or delete it. Copies of memos can be printed out on a printer if you want a paper copy.

All online services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer e-mail, and most also support gateways so that you can exchange mail with users of other systems. Usually, it takes only a few seconds or minutes for mail to arrive at its destination. This is a particularly effective way to communicate with a group because you can broadcast a message or documentto everyone in the group at once.

Although different e-mail systems use different formats, there are some emerging standards that are making it possible for users on all systems to exchange messages. In the PC world, an important e-mail standard is MAPI. The CCITT standards organization has developed the X.400 standard, which attempts to provide a universal way of addressing messages. To date, though, the de facto addressing standard is the one used by the Internetsystem because almost all e-mail systems have an Internet gateway.

Another common spelling for e-mail is email.

Also see Why E-Mails Bounce and Getting Rid of Spam in the Did You Knowsection of Webopedia.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
Keeping Data Secure Is Tougher than Ever

If hackers get their hands on your company's data, they can wreak havoc on customer relationships and cause tremendous damage to your brand and... Read More »

Windows XP: Move Along, There's Nothing to See Here

After more than 12 years of holding the title of most popular operating system in the world, Windows XP is taking center stage for its final... Read More »

Report: The Role of Big Data in the Marketing Industry

According to a new study from Infogroup Targeting Solutions, we can expect to see companies spend heavily on big data marketing initiatives in... Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »

15 Important Big Data Facts for IT Professionals

Keeping track of big data trends, research and statistics gives IT professionals  a solid foundation to plan big data projects. Here are 15... Read More »

Enterprise Storage Vendors

There's a number of vendors that sell enterprise storage hardware or offer cloud-based enterprise storage. View Webopedia's Enterprise storage... Read More »