Posted by Alan Buckingham at 9:06 AM on April 1, 2013
Last week Google began rolling out its brand new Compose feature, a version that had been a part of Labs for testing over the past few months. Originally, it appeared that the roll out of that feature to all users was irrevocable, but now we have learned that is not actually the case….yet.
As it turns out, Google has built in a way to go back to the old compose feature and, no, this is not part of the company’s annual raft of April Fool’s jokes.
When you click the Compose button and receive the new pop-out box that it generates, simply move your mouse to the bottom right of the screen and click the down arrow that appears there. From here you will find an option to “Temporarily switch back to the old compose”. Its that simple. However, the resulting warning does let you know that this feature will be going away “soon”.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:32 AM on March 30, 2013
This week Google began rolling out a new Compose interface for Gmail. If you have not yet received then you soon will — it is spreading to users gradually. The new look is based on a version that has been tested as a Labs feature for some time now, and Google spent that time looking for input from those brave souls who opted to test it out.
Now, according to product manager Phil Sharp, the company is “ready to introduce the new compose experience as the default for everyone. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think”.
Changes include, not only a completely new look, but also the ability to send files using Google Drive, pop-out replies and support for originally missing features like starring and labeling when composing and the Canned Responses lab.
You will not need to do anything to get all of this — it will come to you, even if you do not want it. The announcement was made by Google two days ago and it found its way into my Gmail this morning. When it finds you it will pop up a box explaining how the features work. There is no option to go back.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:12 AM on March 26, 2013
Google may be the company we love to hate lately, but there is no denying that it dominates many markets, like search, advertising and mobile. The company also has one of the most popular web-based email services on the internet. Today it finally rolled out an anticipated update to its Gmail app for Android and it brings the features we had been promised.
The new app rolled quietly out to the Play store this morning and users should receive the update to their Android devices automatically, if they have that feature enabled. Otherwise you will need to manually install it.
The bigger question is, what do you get in this latest version? If you are fortunate enough to have a device running Jelly Bean (4.1 and up) then there is great new feature — the ability to reply, archive or delete from notifications, meaning there is no need to open the actual Gmail app.
For those running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or newer, you will get faster search (including offline) and bug fixes. Those stuck on 2.2 and newer devices will get a new Labels API for 3rd-party app developers and some performance improvements.
Obviously all updates from 2.2 up are available to those running Jelly Bean, but that is sadly still a minority of Android customers.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 11:41 AM on October 20, 2012
A few days ago Android Police posted an exclusive video showing the next version of the Gmail app. Version 4.2 includes several new features that users have wanted for some time now, like pinch to zoom in emails, swiping away emails to archive them, reporting emails as phishing scams and a lot more. At the time, they also posted links to the download of the .APK file, but Google asked them to take the links down and the site complied. The folks at XDA Developers also complied with the request but, as you probably know, things posted online never really go away.
If you do some searching around you will see that the file is still available, but only a bit harder to find. Hint: you can click here. Before you get too excited though, there are a few things you should probably know. Most importantly, your device needs to be rooted in order to install this update. You will also need to have a phone or tablet running Android 4.0 or 4.1. and you will need follow several hacky steps to get it up and running. You can find all of the steps detailed over at The Android Soul.
This has been a good week for Google app updates with, not only this new version of Gmail, but also a nice update to the Google Play Store (now at version 3.9.16). The Play Store update, unlike the Gmail update, has already begun rolling out to users, but if you haven’t received it then you can also grab the .APK file, which Google is NOT asking to be taken down. The new Gmail should begin rolling out very soon.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 7:12 PM on May 21, 2012
Google today announced better search integration for Gmail, their popular web-based email service. The new and improved version will have a more thorough auto-complete feature thanks to better crawling of the messages in your email. Better search sounds great, but is it really better or is it just a more complete privacy invasion?
While I don’t have any real problem with Google reading my email, they have been doing it all along anyway, this seems like something that privacy advocates, already leery of the Mountain View search company, will latch onto as more evidence against Google. After all, the better auto-complete comes via better reading of your messages. Google admits as much in their announcement – “Now when you type something into the Gmail search box, the autocomplete predictions will be tailored to the content in your email, so you can save time and get the information you want faster than ever before.”
The new feature will be rolling out over the next few days. For now it’s only available for English users, but Google promises support for other languages will be coming over the next several months. You can read their announcement over at the Gmail blog. How do you feel about this improved email search? Do you think it’s just a feature to make the service more useful or are you genuinely worried about your personal data?
There’s a new cross-platform video calling app that just became available called Tango. There are versions for both the iPhone as well as Android. Tango does what Apple’s FaceTime does, except it also does it cross-platform as well as via 3G. Apple’s integrated video calling app FaceTime works only with iPhone 4’s and via WiFi data network connectivity.
I called a friend that has an iPhone 4 with my Sprint HTC Evo via Tango. Both of us were in moving vehicles in different parts of the country, and both of us were on 3G networks – my friend obviously on AT&T with his iPhone 4 in the Miami, Florida area, and me being on Sprint 3G on I-81 in Virginia. Tango took advantage of the forward-facing cameras both in my friend’s iPhone 4 as well as in my HTC Evo.
Overall the experience was quite impressive. If you have either an iPhone or Android phone, download the free Tango app and give it a try.
One really strange quirk with Android phones is that there can be two phone books – the “phone” phone book and the Gmail phone book. Tango relies exclusively on the “phone” Android phone book, so keep that in mind when looking for and/or setting up contacts to work with Tango.
Posted by susabelle at 6:39 AM on September 30, 2010
I have been a Gmail user since its public launch in 2007. I have two active accounts, and use it for a variety of things, including listservs. For the most part, I like Gmail, but there was one large glaring problem that I complained about from day one. That problem was message threading. I despise message threading. It complicates what was visually uncomplicated for me before. I know there have been debates on the value of threading, and people I talk to fall on both sides of the fence.
Finally. I’ve been begging for an end to threading of email messages for more than three years. I use Outlook at work, and Thunderbird at home, and Yahoo Mail and WindowsLive mail and other web-based email that does not thread, and I’m used to it and I like it that way. Visually, non-threaded email is what I want, and the threading in Gmail had actually kept me from using Gmail for more things.
Now, I can consider it as more than a secondary, used only for a few things email box and pull it into my regular routine. The change has not rolled to my gmail account yet, but Google promises it will within the next few days. I can’t wait!
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 10:51 AM on August 18, 2010
A lot of us use Gmail. It’s the email of choice these days (yes, I know that Hotmail is still the leader in user total). But some of you may not know that there are actually a lot of add-ons available for Gmail – both from third-parties and from Google themselves via their Labs feature. If you haven’t checked out Labs the click on that beaker icon at the top of your Gmail screen. Here are three apps from third-parties.
Boomerang allows you to schedule your email – both sending and receiving. It’s a free download and there’s also a version for Outlook in case you’re stuck in that world.
It’s compatible with both Firefox (PC and Mac) and Chrome (PC and Mac). It allows you schedule when you receive email by providing a “Receive Later” button in Gmail. You choose a time when you want to deal with said message and that that prescribes time the message will be moved back to your Inbox. That’s nice, but more importantly, it provides a “Send Later” button for email that you compose. This can be really handy, especially if you have something like a mailing lsit for announcements. It allows you to get the message drafted and ready to go, but sends it when it will be relevant.
FollowUpThen is a free service that doesn’t even require a sign-up. It allows you to add a follow-up date or time in in the CC or BCC field of an email such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org oer Aug20@followupthen.com and it will then send a reminder if there has been no follow up. If you included the address in the CC field then the reminder will go to both you and the email recipient. If you used the BCC field then the reminder will go only to you and the recipient will never know. They will only send one reminder so you don’t need to worry about being overwhelmed. However some recipients may not be very receptive to have their email address given out to a third-party.
Some of you may already be familiar with Backupify. It actually does a lot more than backup just Gmail. It also backs up Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Docs, Picasa, Photobucket, Delicious, Hotmail, Friendfeed, Basecamp, Zoho, Blogger and WordPress. There’s also a business version that handles a little bit more. It’s easy to set up and once you’re done then backups are automatic. Every Friday I get an email telling me it has done a backup and the services it did. If you tried it early on after it’s launch in 2009 then you may have experienced some problems with Gmail, which initially recognized it as an attack and prompted users to change their Gmail password. But, that problem has been ironed out and it seems to be rock-steady now. I have not had to do a restore yet, but I’ve read over the process and it seems straight-forward. This may be the best, and most versatile of the three apps I just mentioned. And, as a bonus, it handles so much more than just Gmail.
The analysts over at IDC reckon that 2010 is going to be a year of “recovery and transformation”. On the recovery side, they’re expecting global IT spending to increase by 3.2%, returning to 2008 levels but a large chunk of this spending is going to occur in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
But more interestingly, the transformation part is going to be increased adoption of cloud services and the arrival of “enterprise-grade cloud services” and complementary application platforms. IDC thinks this will be the most important development for the next 20 years particularly when linked in with the growth in mobile devices.
Regarding mobile, IDC sees these competing with PCs as user’s main devices, with over 1 billion mobile devices, fuelled by increasing adoption of smartphones and Apple’s iPad tablet. They predict over 300,000 iPhone apps and 5x growth in Android apps. Interestingly, they also predict “apps stores” for netbooks, which I think has already been evidenced by moves from Intel.
Other predictions include “socialytic” apps which mashup business apps with social networks, further reductions in CO2 through IT solutions and more mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.
Personally, I think the cloud services linked to mobile devices is right on the money. I’ve recently started using a Palm Pre and it links to several on-line services including Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote. Looking at just Google, there are connections to Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reader and I’m expecting Tasks, Documents and Notebook to be available before long. So I’m already living in the cloud and I love it.