Nov 04

Five new themes

Manu: Hey, how would you fancy some new Gmail themes?
Jake: Sure, I would love that! How usable are they?
Manu: Huh, usable? Well, there’s a flishy-flashy theme that blinks every…
Jake: What? I don’t want things to flash, I want to read my email.
Manu: No? Well then, what about this fluorescent pink theme that will make your screen look very special when your friends are looking at…
Jake: No pink please!
Manu: Oh. Then maybe this hyper dynamic and playful theme that makes all links on the page jump away each time you try to click on…
Jake: Are you insane? Please, just give me something usable. If I want flashy game-like graphics, I can use High Score. If I want something dapper for my friends to look at, I can use Shiny. If I want cartoon characters hanging out here and there in my Gmail, I can use Zoozimps. I just want something dead simple.
Manu: What about stripping the Gmail interface to the bare bones, like these two new themes, Basic Black and Basic White?


Jake: That’s better. The dark one may be good for my eyes.
Manu: Great! Do you have an Android phone?
Jake: Yes.
Manu: Then you may like this Android theme too. How about that?


Jake: Nice! Some graphics but still subtle. Give me more.
Manu: Relaxing tree tops? This one ain’t blinking.


Jake: Not bad! What about something that would feel more handmade?
Manu: You’re in luck, sir. I have this cool Marker theme in store for you. Very unprofessional.


Jake: Nice — I’m gonna stick with this one for now.
Manu: Good choice! See you next time for some more.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/five-new-themes

Oct 27

Gmail in mobile Safari: now even more like a native app

(Cross-posted from the Mobile blog)

Go to gmail.com from your iPhone and you’ll notice two improvements we’ve rolled out over the past few weeks. First, scrolling is snappier: the speed of scrolling reflects the speed of your swipe gesture. This is helpful for long conversations where a few quick flicks will get you to the information you need much faster than before. Second, the toolbars stay on screen while you’re scrolling rather than moving down into view after each scroll. Being able to access your toolbars from any point on the page should make it easier to triage your email and move around the app.


If you use Gmail in your mobile browser a lot, you may have noticed that we recently tried several different variations of these buttons. We‘ve iterated on the design and made improvements based on your feedback. If you have more suggestions, please post them in our forum or, if you use Twitter, mention #gmailmobile and we’ll take a look. If you’re a developer and are interested in learning about the Javascript and HTML techniques we used to do this, we’ll post an article to code.google.com/mobile in the coming weeks.

You can see these improvements by visiting gmail.com from the browser of iPhone and iPod touch devices running iOS4 (English-only for now). And if you like Gmail in mobile Safari, make getting to it easier by tapping the “+” at the bottom of the screen and then “Add to Home Screen.” (Don’t see the new changes yet? Try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.)

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/gmail-in-mobile-safari-now-even-more-like-a-native-app

Oct 26

New in Labs: Auto-advance to the next conversation

Today, whenever you open an email in your Gmail inbox and then archive or delete it, you’re taken back to your inbox. Many of you have asked for the ability to instead go to the next conversation. Keyboard ninjas will already be familiar with the “]” and “[“ keyboard shortcuts for archiving and going to the next/previous conversation. For everyone else (and for people who frequently mute or delete conversations rather than archive them) we’re offering a new feature in Gmail Labs called “Auto-advance,” which automatically opens the next conversation after you archive/delete/mute the one you’re on.

To get started with “Auto-advance” go to the Labs tab in Settings, enable it, and click the “Save changes” button. By default, “Auto-advance” will advance to the previous (older) conversation in your inbox — perfect for people who read their newest mail first. If you usually read your oldest email first and would rather advance to the next (newer) conversation, you can change the direction from the General Settings tab.


Hopefully this will save you some time the next time you have to deal with a crowded inbox. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/new-in-labs-auto-advance-to-the-next-conversation

Oct 26

Help us improve Tasks

If you’re using Tasks, you’ve probably thought about something you’d like us to improve or an additional feature you wish you had. Well, we want to hear your ideas — whether they’re for Tasks in Gmail, in Google Calendar, or on your phone.

For the next few weeks, we’re running a poll for Tasks feature requests. We really appreciate the feedback we’ve already received about syncing, sharing, Calendar integration and more, and we’re looking forward to hearing more details within these topics as well as any new requests you have. The poll will remain open until November 19th, at which point we’ll take a careful look at all of the feedback and prioritize your requests. So if you have a few minutes between now and then, please take a look and vote to help us improve Tasks functionality. Thanks!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/help-us-improve-tasks

Oct 15

Help keep your account safe with the Gmail security checklist

October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and a good time for a reminder about why hijackers do what they do and how you can protect your account. Check out the Online Security blog to learn about common hijacking techniques and security practices that will help you stay one step ahead of the bad guys. To help ensure your Gmail account is safe, take a minute to visit the Gmail help center and complete our new security checklist.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/help-keep-your-account-safe-with-the-gmail-security-checklist

Oct 04

Follow Gmail on Twitter

We launch new features in Gmail almost every week, and people learn about these features from different sources — friends and family, the news, this blog, or our what’s new page. But heavy Twitter users like me often have to rely on @google and other users for updates related to Gmail. Starting today, you can now get all your Gmail news, tips and tricks directly from @gmail.

As always, if you encounter any issues with your Gmail account, our Help Center and user forum are your best resources. But if you have feedback or ideas you want to share, feel free to reply @gmail or include #gmail in tweets – we’ll be reading your feedback periodically.

We’re also giving away 140 snazzy t-shirts:

To get a shirt, tweet your best ode or haiku to Gmail (see some examples). The first 140 people to do so will get a free shirt in the mail (subject to these contest terms).

To follow us, visit http://twitter.com/gmail.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/follow-gmail-on-twitter

Sep 29

Turn off Gmail’s conversation view

The way Gmail organizes mail into conversations is like cilantro. You either love it — and, like me, enjoy the nice citrusy, herbal finish it gives to everything from salsa to curry — or you hate it. And those of you who hate it hate it enough to launch sites like nocilantro.com and ihatecilantro.com (“an anti cilantro community”), where you can hate it together.

But my fondness for cilantro pales in comparison to my love for Gmail’s conversation view, or message threading. I haven’t had to wade through multiple messages to follow a conversation in years. A centithread hasn’t filled up the entire first page of my inbox in almost as long as I can remember. Having all the replies to an email (and replies to those replies) grouped with the original message simply makes communicating so much easier.

It turns out not everyone feels the same way. And just as an outspoken minority has banded together in unison to declare their distaste of one of nature’s most delicious herbs, some of you have been very vocal about your dislike of conversation threading. So just like you can order your baja fish tacos without cilantro, you can now get Gmail served up sans conversation view. Go to the main Settings page, look for the “Conversation View” section, select the option to turn it off, and save changes. If you change your mind, you can always go back.


This feature will be rolling out over the next few days so if you don’t see it immediately, check back in a bit. And once you try it out, let us know what you think.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/turn-off-gmail%e2%80%99s-conversation-view

Apr 15

Drag and drop attachments onto messages

I’m always looking for ways to save time. Suppose I want to attach some files to an email, and I already have a folder open containing those files.


I used to have to click “Attach a file,” find the photos, click them, etc. Starting today, if I’m using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox 3.6, I can just drag and drop the files to attach them — easy as pie.



We’ll enable this for other browsers as soon as they support this feature. For now, you can drag and drop attachments in Chrome and Firefox only.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/drag-and-drop-attachments-onto-messages

Apr 15

Insert a calendar invitation

Since my friends share their schedules with me in Google Calendar, when I want to see a movie with them, I can check to see which nights they’re free before sending out an email about it. However, I need to switch between Gmail and Calendar in order to check their availability and send an email invitation.

Today, we’re launching a new feature that brings tighter integration between Gmail and Calendar, making it easier to create Calendar events from within Gmail. When you compose an email message, there’s now an “Insert: Invitation” link right under the subject line.


When you click it, a small window appears that displays your availability as well as that of the people you’re emailing provided you have permission to see their calendars.


You can check your friends’ availability and choose an appropriate time for the event you’re setting up right from there. When you’ve settled on the details of the event, click the “Insert Invitation” button and a preview of the invitation will appear in your email message:


When you send the email, the event gets added to your calendar as well as to your friends’ calendars.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/insert-a-calendar-invitation

Apr 13

Google Buzz buttons

We’ve seen lots of people using Google Buzz to share interesting links from around the web. To do so, you had to copy and paste the link from one browser window to another — there weren’t buttons that made it easy to post to Google Buzz without leaving the site you’re on. Savvy sites like Mashable and TechCrunch quickly got creative and implemented their own Buzz buttons, using Google Reader as the backend. But not every site owner should have to hack together their own version of these buttons (and not everyone who uses Buzz also uses Reader), so this morning we’re making copy-and-paste Buzz buttons available for anyone to use.

Starting today, you’ll see these buttons around the web on participating sites including: The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Glamour, YouTube, Blogger, MySpace, GigaOM, PBS Parents, PBS NewsHour, The Next Web, TweetDeck, SocialWok, Disqus, Vinehub, and Buzzzy. Mashable and TechCrunch have updated their sites to use these new buttons too.


A number of sharing platforms, including ShareThis (pictured below), Meebo, Shareholic, AddThis and AddtoAny have also incorporated the Google Buzz button into their sharing functionality, so you’ll see Buzz listed as a choice when you go to share something on many other sites around the web as well.


If you want to add Google Buzz buttons to your site, just go to buzz.google.com/stuff, configure your buttons with a couple clicks and copy a few lines of JavaScript. Paste this code where you’d like the Buzz buttons to appear and you’re all set.


And if you’d like to promote your own Google Buzz account, we have a button for you, which allows people to follow you on Buzz right from your blog or website. Here’s an example using the Google Buzz team’s own Buzz account (clicking it will take you to the Buzz team’s profile page and from there you can easily follow our team’s posts):

Follow on Buzz

You can grab that button code from buzz.google.com/stuff as well.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/google-buzz-buttons

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