Category Archive: Site

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

Dec 14

Restore your contacts

There are many times in life when a do-over can come in handy. Perhaps you clicked “Send” on an email that was better left unsaid, or “Delete” on a contact before realizing you still needed it. Just like Gmail lets you unsend a message, you can now have a second chance with your contacts too.

We’ve added a new feature to Google Contacts that allows you to revert your contact list and undo any mistakes made up to 30 days in the past. Let’s say you accidentally deleted a bunch of contacts or wiped the contact data from your Gmail account by mistake while syncing to another device. Visit Gmail’s Contacts section, select “Restore contacts” in the “More actions” menu, and choose the time you would like to revert to.


Your contacts will be restored to exactly the same state they were in at that time — any contacts that didn’t exist then will be deleted and any that have since been added will be deleted. Don’t worry, you can always undo this change by restoring again if you didn’t get the time right.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/restore-your-contacts

Dec 13

Gmail web app for iPhone and Android in 44 more languages

Last year, we launched a new mobile Gmail experience for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Since then, those of us who use Gmail in English could go to gmail.com from our mobile browsers and get most of the same features we’re used to in the desktop version of Gmail — including search, stars, labels, and threaded conversations.

Starting today, this updated version of Gmail for mobile is now available in 44 new languages. Check out the mobile blog for the complete list of languages and more info.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/gmail-web-app-for-iphone-and-android-in-44-more-languages

Dec 13

How to create a vacation responder (and 50 other things you might want to teach your parents)

My parents have a history of bringing work with them when we go on family vacations. At first it was just a few paper documents to review at the beach…years later, a laptop…now a smartphone. They couldn’t let go for fear that a colleague might need to get a hold of them.

My folks aren’t the only ones frightened by the prospect of missing an important message when they’re away from their inbox — there must be millions of people with the same concern. Not everyone knows that Gmail can help you relax when you’re on vacation by automatically notifying colleagues, friends, and family that you’re away (handy for the holidays).

To enlighten parents and families around the world about how basic technology can improve their lives, a handful of us at Google decided to create a website — TeachParentsTech.org — where “kids” of any age can send basic how-to videos to their moms, dads, uncles — whomever. Here’s a video I made that walks you through how to set up an email auto-responder message:

To see more videos or to send someone a tech support “care package” of your own, visit TeachParentsTech.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/how-to-create-a-vacation-responder-and-50-other-things-you-might-want-to-teach-your-parents

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