Tag Archive: desktop

Apr 07

A new mobile Gmail experience for iPhone and Android

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Rob Kroeger, Engineer, Google Mobile

Today we’re introducing a major revision to Gmail for mobile that takes advantage of the latest browser technology available on iPhone and Android devices. We’ve updated the user interface, made it faster to open messages, allowed for batch actions (like archiving multiple messages at once), and added some basic offline support

Despite the advent of 3G networks and wifi, smartphones still lack a high-speed, always-on broadband connection and can have connections far less reliable than their desktop brethren. So, just like when we redesigned the Gmail for mobile client app last October, we’ve gone back to the drawing board and redesigned Gmail for the mobile browser to overcome some of these limitations. We made performance more consistent, regardless of connection type, and laid the foundation for future improvements.

Now, when you go to gmail.com from your iPhone or Android browser, archiving email is quicker because it doesn’t require a response from a remote server. Instead, we cache mail on the device itself (using database storage on the iPhone and a device-local mobile Gears database on Android-powered phones). Actions like archiving or starring messages are first applied to this cache and then sent to Gmail servers in the background whenever a network connection is available. You only have to wait for a response from the server when you’re requesting an uncached message or list of messages. As a result, you can start-up Gmail even if you’re on a slow connection. You can even compose mail and open recently read messages while offline.

We made extensive use of other browser functions too: for example, the floaty bar that lets you archive, delete or apply more actions is animated via CSS transformations and controlled in part with touch events (when you scroll the screen, it follows you).


The HTML5 canvas tag is used to render the progress spinner without the overhead of downloading animated GIFs to the device. Now that we’ve developed a framework for the new Gmail for mobile, we’re planning a whole lot more: faster performance, improved offline operation, new functionality, and interface enhancements that take advantage of the unique properties of smartphones.

To try this new version of Gmail for mobile, just go to gmail.com from your mobile browser. It’s currently available on any Android-powered devices or iPhone OS 2.2.1 or higher. For now, the new version is available in English only. We’ll be rolling this version out to everyone over the course of the day, so if you don’t see the updated user interface yet (you’ll know you have it when you see that floaty bar), check back soon. For easy access, we recommend creating a homescreen link.

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A new mobile Gmail experience for iPhone and Android

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Apr 02

Gmail turns 5

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Todd Jackson, Gmail Product Manager

Five years ago yesterday, Gmail starting giving people a gig. What started as an internal tool for Google employees is now used by tens of millions of people around the world in 52 languages.

In honor of the occasion, you may have noticed a little cake on the Gmail homepage today.

Gmail 5th birthday cake

We wanted to put it there yesterday, but given that Gmail launched on April Fool’s day 2004 and has a history of joking around on April 1st since then, we did something else instead.

In all seriousness, we want to give a big thank you to all of you who use Gmail every day, to those who’ve been around since the beginning, to those who were using an AJAX app before the term AJAX was popular, to those who started chatting right in your email and then video chatting a couple years later, to those who changed your theme on day one, and to those who have turned on some of the 43 experimental Gmail Labs features (and put up with the occasional bugs they introduce)…we couldn’t have gotten here without you. Thanks.

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Gmail turns 5

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Apr 02

New in Labs: Gmail search made easier (and lazier)

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Ibrahim Bokharouss, Software Engineer

On the Gmail team, we believe finding the right email among thousands of messages can be as important as finding the right web page across the billions of web pages out there. So with the aim of making search in Gmail easier, we built a new experimental feature in Gmail Labs: Search Autocomplete.

Turn on Search Autocomplete from the Labs tab under Gmail Settings, and you’ll get suggestions as you type in the search box. One of the most popular searches in Gmail is for names or email addresses, so the first kind of suggestions you’ll see are contacts. Some names are not easy to remember (my last name is an excellent example!) — with this new Labs feature you can just type a couple letters and select the desired contact from the drop down list. Easy and quick as that.

Gmail also offers a bunch of advanced search operators, which provide a powerful way to find that one message you have in mind. You can search in specific places (e.g. in chats or sent items), or search for messages with attachments of a certain type (e.g. docs or photos). Suppose I want to search for photos that were sent to me by my friend Chris. Normally, I would have to enter Chris’ email address followed by filename:(jpg OR png), which I gladly admit is even a bit too geeky for me. With Search Autocomplete, I can just type “photos” or “pictures,” select “has photos” from the drop down list (as in the screenshot below), and the search query (filename:(jpg OR png)) gets inserted for me. Similarly, you can type in the word “attachment” and Search Autocomplete will list the most common attachment types for you.

One of the reasons we still show you the geeky search query is to allow you to adapt it to your needs. For example, if you’d like to include tiff files in your search result, you can adapt the query manually to filename:(jpg OR png OR tiff).

That’s it for now. Play around and make sure to use the time that you save on searching to let us know what you think.

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New in Labs: Gmail search made easier (and lazier)

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Mar 30

Typing in Indian Languages

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Anuj Sharma, Software Engineer

Until now, there hasn’t been a good way to send email to friends and family in Hindi, my native language and their language of choice. That’s why I’m happy to announce a new feature for Gmail that lets you type email in Indian languages. If you’re in India, this feature is enabled by default. If not, you’ll need to turn it on in the “Language” section under Settings. Once enabled, just click the Indian languages icon and type words in the way they sound in English — Gmail will automatically convert them to their Indian language equivalent.

For example, if you have Hindi selected, “namaste” will transliterate to “नमस्ते.” We currently support five Indian languages – Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam, and businesses and schools using Google Apps should see this in the coming weeks.

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Typing in Indian Languages

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Mar 30

Gmail Labs goes global

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Pal Takacsi, Engineering Manager

This post comes to you from our team in Switzerland, a small country with no fewer than four official languages and many more spoken by people living here. The majority of Gmail users are outside the U.S., so it’s no surprise that since we launched Gmail Labs last year, people around the world have been asking for these experimental features in their local languages. As of today, we’re making Gmail Labs available internationally.

You may wonder, since most Gmail features are available in almost every supported language immediately at launch, why Labs hasn’t been. The truth is that Labs itself is a bit of an experiment — it came out of people’s 20% time, and we weren’t sure if it would really work. Specifically, we thought there was a chance that everything would just break. Every time a Gmail user signs in we create a custom version of JavaScript for them based on the Labs features they have enabled. Since we have 43 Labs right now, there are 243 (~8 trillion) possible versions of the Gmail JavaScript that a user could get. If you account for the 49 languages where Labs are now available, it gets even bigger — 49 x 243 (~430 trillion) versions. It would obviously be a challenge to actually test all of these versions. But we put a lot of effort into building an architecture that supports this type of modularity, and fortunately, it seems to be working pretty well so far. So we figured, why not, what’s another another 422 trillion permutations?

If your language is set to, say, Italian, you’ll see a new page in Settings (or Impostazioni) called Labs. There, you’ll find a list of experimental features you can choose to turn on — everything from the useful (like offline access), to the arcane (like filter import/export), to the slightly ridiculous (like mail goggles). Most of these are translated to work in all of Gmail’s supported languages except Hebrew, Arabic, and Urdu. Keep in mind that all Labs features are early experiments — no design reviews, no product analysis, and not that much testing — so they may occasionally break. If you run into problems with your account after turning them on, try this escape hatch.

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Gmail Labs goes global

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Mar 19

New in Labs: Undo Send

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Michael Leggett, User Experience Designer

Sometimes I regret sending a message the morning after. Other times I send a message and then immediately notice a mistake. I forget to attach a file or email the birthday girl that I can’t make her surprise party. I can rush to close my browser or unplug the Internet — but Gmail almost always wins that race.

An email to the wrong Larry pushed me over the edge. I could undo just about any other action in Gmail — why couldn’t I undo send? Many people agreed, including Yuzo Fujishima, an engineer in the Tokyo office. My theory (which others shared) was that even just five seconds would be enough time to catch most of those regrettable emails.

And now you can do just that. Turn on Undo Send in Gmail Labs under Settings, and you’ll see a new “Undo” link on every sent mail confirmation. Click “Undo,” and we’ll grab the message before it’s sent and take you right back to compose.

This feature can’t pull back an email that’s already gone; it just holds your message for five seconds so you have a chance to hit the panic button. And don’t worry – if you close Gmail or your browser crashes in those few seconds, we’ll still send your message.

I’ve had Undo Send turned on for a while and it’s saved me several times. Let us know if it saves you too.

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New in Labs: Undo Send

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Mar 17

A small (but helpful) change to ‘mark as unread’

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by David de Kloet, Software Engineer

Gmail’s threaded conversations are useful because they keep your messages in context — you don’t have to look for previous messages to see what people are talking about. But sometimes, when many people are replying to the same conversation, you open a conversation and quickly wish you hadn’t because you don’t have time to read all the new messages right then.

You could mark the conversation as unread, but this makes all the messages in that conversation unread. And the next time you open the conversation you have to remember which messages you already read and which ones you didn’t get to yet. Since we at Google send and receive a lot of email, we found this pretty annoying. So we decided to fix it.

Now if you’re reading a conversation that had unread messages when you opened it and you mark it unread, Gmail will only mark those messages that were unread when you opened the conversation in the first place. It’s a small change, but it’s the little things that can make a UI feel right or wrong, and we hope this makes Gmail a little bit more right.

Though we realize this change would also be useful when reading mail on your phone (people mark stuff unread on their phones so they’ll remember to come back to it on their computers), for now it only works on your desktop browser.

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A small (but helpful) change to ‘mark as unread’

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