Category Archive: Official Gmail News

Feb 10

Advanced sign-in security for your Google account

(Cross-posted from the Google Blog)

Has anyone you know ever lost control of an email account and inadvertently sent spam—or worse—to their friends and family? There are plenty of examples (like the classic “Mugged in London” scam) that demonstrate why it’s important to take steps to help secure your activities online. Your Gmail account, your photos, your private documents—if you reuse the same password on multiple sites and one of those sites gets hacked, or your password is conned out of you directly through a phishing scam, it can be used to access some of your most closely-held information.

Most of us are used to entrusting our information to a password, but we know that some of you are looking for something stronger. As we announced to our Google Apps customers a few months ago, we’ve developed an advanced opt-in security feature called 2-step verification that makes your Google Account significantly more secure by helping to verify that you’re the real owner of your account. Now it’s time to offer the same advanced protection to all of our users.

2-step verification requires two independent factors for authentication, much like you might see on your banking website: your password, plus a code obtained using your phone. Over the next few days, you’ll see a new link on your Account Settings page that looks like this:


Take your time to carefully set up 2-step verification—we expect it may take up to 15 minutes to enroll. A user-friendly set-up wizard will guide you through the process, including setting up a backup phone and creating backup codes in case you lose access to your primary phone. Once you enable 2-step verification, you’ll see an extra page that prompts you for a code when you sign in to your account. After entering your password, Google will call you with the code, send you an SMS message or give you the choice to generate the code for yourself using a mobile application on your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone device. The choice is up to you. When you enter this code after correctly submitting your password we’ll have a pretty good idea that the person signing in is actually you.


It’s an extra step, but it’s one that significantly improves the security of your Google Account because it requires the powerful combination of both something you know—your username and password—and something that only you should have—your phone. A hacker would need access to both of these factors to gain access to your account. If you like, you can always choose a “Remember verification for this computer for 30 days” option, and you won’t need to re-enter a code for another 30 days. You can also set up one-time application-specific passwords to sign in to your account from non-browser based applications that are designed to only ask for a password, and cannot prompt for the code.

To learn more about 2-step verification and get started, visit our Help Center. And for more about staying safe online, see our ongoing security blog series or visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/. Be safe!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/advanced-sign-in-security-for-your-google-account

Feb 07

Priority Inbox in Gmail for mobile

(Cross-posted from the Mobile blog)

If you’ve ever cursed a phone’s tiny screen as utterly inadequate for sifting through an overflowing inbox you’ll be pleased to hear that the Gmail mobile web app now supports Priority Inbox. Priority Inbox helps combat information overload by automatically identifying your important messages so you can focus on those first. Until today it was only available on the desktop and Android devices.

Now, once you set up Priority Inbox in the desktop version of Gmail, you’ll see Priority Inbox sections when you visit gmail.com from your phone’s browser and click on the ‘Menu’ screen. You’ll also see importance markers in your inbox, so you can quickly identify which messages are important.


This feature is available for most mobile browsers that support HTML5, such as devices running Android 1.5+ and iOS 3+. If you have suggestions or want to learn more, visit our Help Center and forum.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/priority-inbox-in-gmail-for-mobile

Feb 03

Two improvements to contact groups

Organizing your Gmail contacts into groups can save you time when you’re writing messages to multiple people at once. For example, if you create a “Family” group, instead of addressing an email to your mom, dad, sister and brother, you can just start typing “Family” and Gmail will complete the rest. Today we’re making two improvements to contact groups which should make them easier to create and control.

First, let’s say you have a list of coworkers you think you’ll want to contact again in the future. Now, you can paste that list into the Add to group menu when viewing your “Coworkers” group to populate or extend it.


Second, we’ve added the ability to specify which one of your contact’s email addresses you want to use in a given group. So, for example, you can now use your friend’s personal address in your “Poker Buddies” group and that same friend’s work address in your “Coworkers” group.


We’re always listening for feedback about what we can do to make Contacts, and all of Gmail, better, so let us know what you think.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/two-improvements-to-contact-groups

Jan 26

Desktop notifications for emails and chat messages

Many of us are guilty of constantly switching back to Gmail to check for new messages. And if you’re like me, you’ve probably missed an important chat message because you weren’t looking at your Gmail window when it came in. If you use Google Chrome, these days can be over since we just launched HTML5 desktop notifications which display pop-ups whenever a chat message or new email arrives.


To turn them on, click on the Settings link in the top right corner of Gmail and scroll down to the “Desktop Notifications” section. If you just want to get notified about chat messages, or if you use Priority Inbox and only want to get notifications for important messages, you can customize your settings from there too.


This functionality is currently only available for people using Google Chrome, but we’re working to make notifications part of the standard Web platform.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/desktop-notifications-for-emails-and-chat-messages

Jan 25

New in Labs: Unread message icon

When you’re visiting sites other than Gmail, it’s easy to find out how many unread messages are in your inbox by glancing at the title of your Gmail tab or window. However, if you have a ton of tabs open, or if you use Chrome’s “Pin Tab” feature that hides everything except the tab’s icon, it can be tricky to figure out without switching tabs.

If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, you may like the new Unread message icon we just added to Gmail Labs. It embeds the number of unread messages you have right into the Gmail icon itself, like this:


To turn it on, go to the Labs tab in Settings, enable this lab, and click the “Save Changes” button at the very bottom of the page. Note that it’ll only works in Chrome (version 6 and above) and Firefox (version 2 and above).

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/new-in-labs-unread-message-icon

Jan 24

Print from your phone with Gmail for mobile and Google Cloud Print

Let’s say you need to print an important email attachment on your way to work so that it’s waiting for you when you walk in the door. With Gmail for mobile and Google Cloud Print — a service that allows printing from any app on any device, OS or browser without the need to install drivers — you can.

To get started, you’ll first need to connect your printer to Google Cloud Print. For now, this step requires a Windows PC but Linux and Mac support are coming soon. Once you’re set up, just go to gmail.com from your iPhone or Android browser and choose “Print” from the dropdown menu in the top right corner. You can also print eligible email attachments (such as .pdf or .doc) by clicking the “Print” link that appears next to them.


We’re rolling this feature out in U.S. English over the next few days, so if you don’t see it right away please check back. In the meantime, you can learn more in the Google Cloud Print help center.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/print-from-your-phone-with-gmail-for-mobile-and-google-cloud-print

Jan 19

Find Labs with search-as-you-type

Have you ever found it just a little bit tricky to find what you were looking for on the Gmail Labs Settings page? Scrolling was ok when there were a handful of Labs, but now that there are over 50 it’s another story. A lunchtime discussion made us realize that having to rely on the browser’s search function or endless scrolling makes it hard to find the Labs features you want. So another Gmail engineer named Manu and I decided take an afternoon and address this. The result is an addition to the Settings page which filters the visible Labs as you type.


You can also link directly to the search results (e.g. http://mail.google.com/mail#settings/labs/video) if you’d like.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/find-labs-with-search-as-you-type

Jan 13

Top tasks for Google Tasks

A few months ago, we asked for your help to make Tasks better by voting on your top feature requests. We were blown away by the number of responses we received, with over 17,000 people participating and an overwhelming 185,000 votes.

Now, we’re preparing to tackle some of your top requests. In no specific order, here are the top five feature requests that emerged from the Tasks product ideas page:

  • Ability to create repeating tasks
  • Reminders and notifications
  • Sharable task lists
  • Tasks API and synchronization
  • Visual distinction for overdue tasks

So thanks for all the feedback and stay tuned for changes to Tasks throughout the year. In the meantime, we wish you a productive (and Tasks-filled) 2011!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/top-tasks-for-google-tasks

Dec 20

Free calling in Gmail extended through 2011

When we launched calling in Gmail back in August, we wanted it to be easy and affordable, so we made calls to the U.S. and Canada free for the rest of 2010. In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the new year, we’re extending free calling for all of 2011.

In case you haven’t tried it yet, dialing a phone number works just like a regular phone. Look for “Call phone” at the top of your Gmail chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name.


To learn more, visit gmail.com/call. Calling in Gmail is currently only available to U.S. based Gmail users.

Happy New Year and happy calling!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/free-calling-in-gmail-extended-through-2011

Dec 14

Email delegation: Granting access to your Gmail account

I use two Gmail accounts: one is my personal account and the other I share with my family (we use it to subscribe to groups like my children’s classroom mailing list). Checking these two different accounts used to mean I had to sign out and back in to Gmail all the time. Not anymore. Instead, I can grant my personal account access to my shared family account and view, organize and send mail on behalf of our shared account.

We’ve offered email delegation for Google Apps accounts for a while — it’s super useful for people who want their assistants to have access to read or respond to mail on their behalf. Now this functionality is available for anyone using Gmail. To grant access to another account, click the Settings link in the top right corner of Gmail. On the “Accounts” tab, you’ll see a new section where you can “Grant access to your account.” For example, below we’ve given hikingfan@gmail.com access to the hikingfanfamily@gmail.com account.


The account you add will get a verification email with links to accept or deny access. Once the account accepts and you’ve refreshed your browser or logged in and out again, you’ll see a small down arrow beside the email address at the top right corner of Gmail which can be used to toggle between accounts — in this case hikingfan@gmail.com and hikingfanfamily@gmail.com.


Each account will open in a different browser tab or window so you can view both accounts simultaneously, all while signed into your primary account. When you send a message from hikingfanfamily@gmail.com while signed in as hikingfan@gmail.com, it will appear as being sent by hikingfan@gmail.com on behalf of hikingfanfamily@gmail.com.


Signing out of any one of the accounts will sign you out of all the accounts you’re currently viewing, and, of course, you can revoke access at any time.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/email-delegation-granting-access-to-your-gmail-account

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