Tag Archive: Google

Sep 09

New in Labs: Play Google Voice messages in Gmail

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

Posted by Vincent Paquet, Google Voice Product Manager

Google Voice helps you manage your communications with a unique phone number that rings all your existing phones, a single voicemail inbox with online access and automated transcription, and lots of handy features like the ability to block spammy calls and easily record personalized greetings for your callers. Think of it as Gmail for your phone calls and text messages (watch this video to learn more). Google Voice is currently available via invitation, which you can request here.

For those of you who already use Google Voice, you’re probably used to receiving voicemail notifications via email. A couple of minutes after someone leaves a voicemail on your Google Voice number, you’ll receive an email showing who called, an automated transcript of the voicemail, and a link to play the message. You can click the link to listen to the message right from your computer.

Previously, clicking “Play message” opened a new page in your browser, but starting today, you can play voicemails right in Gmail. Just turn on the Google Voice player from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings and whenever you get a voicemail notification, the player will appear right below the message itself.


Best of all, your message status will stay synced: messages played from Gmail will appear as read in your Google Voice inbox and won’t be played again when you check new messages via your phone. If you already use Google Voice, try it out and let us know what you think. If you don’t have a Google Voice account yet, sign up for an invitation and we’ll get you one ASAP.

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New in Labs: Play Google Voice messages in Gmail

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Sep 02

New in Calendar: Sports schedules and contacts’ birthdays

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

Posted by Ian Whitfield, Software Engineering Intern

People keep track of lots of things in their Google Calendars — meetings, business trips, due dates and conference calls. But when I started my summer internship at Google, I wondered why it wasn’t easier to add calendar events for the fun stuff in life, like birthdays and sports schedules.

Now, when you look under “Other Calendars,” click “Add,” then “Browse Interesting Calendars,” you’ll find calendars for hundreds of teams in dozens of sports leagues — everything from the National Football League to the Korean FA Cup.


When you subscribe to your favorite team’s calendar, you’ll see every game listed, updated in real time with the score as the game progresses.


You can also subscribe to a “Contacts’ Birthdays and Events” calendar, which will add all of your contacts’ birthdays to Google Calendar. Data is pulled from your Gmail contacts and your friends’ Google profiles.

Finally, we also have two new Calendar Labs features for you to check out: “Dim future repeating events” makes recurring meetings more transparent over time, helping more important meetings pop out, and “Add any gadget by URL” gives you the flexibility put any gadget you’d like in your calendar.

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New in Calendar: Sports schedules and contacts’ birthdays

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Jul 14

Tasks graduates from Gmail Labs

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

Posted by James Watts, Software Engineer

Our little baby’s all grown up.

We launched Gmail Labs as a forum for delivering useful (and maybe not so useful) features that might not be quite ready for prime time. The idea was always that the most popular and viable Labs features would graduate and be made more readily available to all users…and that some of the less used, less viable ones would disappear forever.

I’m proud to announce that Tasks is in that first bucket — it’s been one of the most popular experimental Gmail features and it’s now the first graduate from Labs.

To access Tasks, starting today you can just click “Tasks” under the “Contacts” link above your chat list (no need to turn it on from the Labs tab anymore).

We’ve been continually improving Tasks since it first launched in Labs. We believe simple and fast is best, so we’ve been working to make Tasks more responsive and get basic interactions working better: we’ve added mobile and gadget views, made improvements to task editing and management, launched in more languages, and integrated with Google Calendar. We’ve also added a printable view for those people compelled to do things away from their computers or mobile devices.

Rest assured there’s more on the way for Tasks— just because we’re graduation from Labs today doesn’t mean we’re done.

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about Gmail Labs, and we’ve found that testing something in Labs can be a good way to help decide whether it should become a regular part of Gmail. So we decided to extend the same model to Google Calendar. Beginning today, you can add Labs features to your calendar too, such as Free or Busy, which lets you to see which of your friends or coworkers are currently in meetings or World Clock, which helps you keep track of different timezones when you schedule meetings. Take a look at the Google Apps blog for more info.

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Tasks graduates from Gmail Labs

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Jul 07

Gmail leaves beta, launches “Back to Beta” Labs feature

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

Posted by Keith Coleman, Gmail Product Director

We get asked all the time why Google keeps its products in beta for so long. And Gmail, five years after launch, is consistently a subject of this questioning, even of jokes.

Some people thought that once we opened sign-ups, Gmail should have come out of beta.

Others said that once we integrated chat, developed new anti-spam technology, expanded to 53 languages, shipped a mobile app, added group chat, launched an iPhone UI, added a vacation autoresponder, launched Gmail Labs, subsequently modified the vacation autoresponder with a Gmail Lab, launched 48 other Labs, launched video chat, enabled open protocols and APIs (POP, auto-forwarding, IMAP, and the Contacts Data API), let you POP mail in from other accounts, added a delete button, rearchitected our entire javascript code base, and added key functionality to get large companies, startups, universities, and many other organizations (in addition to Google itself) running on Gmail, we should have come out of beta.

Some people think we should wait until we launch < one of ongoing secret projects >.

Others say that, over the last five years, a beta culture has grown around web apps, such that the very meaning of “beta” is debatable. And rather than the packaged, stagnant software of decades past, we’re moving to a world of rapid developmental cycles where products like Gmail continue to change indefinitely.

The end result (many visible and invisible changes later) is that today, beta is a thing of the past. Not just for Gmail, but for all of Google Apps — Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Talk.

However, we realize that after five years, this leaves some of you wrestling with some tough questions. How will you ever get used to using Gmail without that familiar grey “BETA” text greeting you when you log in everyday? What example will you cite the next time you make an internet joke about perpetual betas? Don’t despair… for those of you long-time Gmail-ers who might feel some separation anxiety, we’ve got a solution. Just go to Settings, click on Labs, turn on “Back to Beta,” and it’ll be like Gmail never left beta at all.

Back to Beta

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Gmail leaves beta, launches "Back to Beta" Labs feature

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Jun 12

Tip: Check and reply from multiple email addresses in Gmail

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

Posted by Joyce Sohn, Product Marketing Manager

It’s that time of year when students are graduating, and in many cases getting yet another email address to check — an alumni account — as a graduation present.

Whether you have an alumni address, a work account, or your own domain that you like to use, rather than logging in and out of multiple accounts, you can set yourself up so all your mail ends up in your Gmail inbox. And you can send mail from any of the other addresses you own right from Gmail as well.

There are two steps to make this happen:

1. Set up mail forwarding or fetching

Many email providers offer free auto-forwarding to other accounts. Log into your non-Gmail account and set your Gmail address as the forwarding target. If your other account doesn’t offer forwarding but supports POP3 access, you can use Mail Fetcher in Gmail to automatically check your other account for new mail and download it to Gmail.

2. Set up custom “From:”

Gmail’s custom “From:” feature lets you send mail with one of your other email addresses listed as the sender in place of your Gmail address. There’s a good step-by-step for how to set this up in the Help Center, but the basics are adding the address you want to use and then verifying that it belongs to you. Once you have your custom “From:” set up, you can pick which address you want to reply from in the “From:” address drop down while composing messages.

P.S. If you’re a recent grad and want more tips on how to use Google during this transition period, check out the Google for Students Blog, where we’ll be posting more tips like this weekly for the next couple months.

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Tip: Check and reply from multiple email addresses in Gmail

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Jun 11

Like puzzles? Get ready for the Day in the Cloud Challenge on June 24th

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

Posted by Corey Anderson, Software Engineer (and puzzle creator)

Flying 500 miles per hour at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, it always seemed odd that I could use approved electronic devices, but I couldn’t get online to chat or send an email. Luckily, the Wright brothers have been catching up with the cloud, and airlines like Virgin America have rolled out in-flight WiFi across their fleet.

To celebrate, we’ve teamed up with Virgin America to provide complimentary WiFi on all flights on June 24th, and we’re co-hosting a timed online scavenger hunt called the Day in the Cloud Challenge. Whether you’re going to be in the air or on the ground on that day, you’re invited to participate in the challenge and can sign up at www.dayinthecloud.com.

If you use Gmail, there’s a good chance you already have a leg up because some of the questions will involve your knowledge of Gmail (plus, you’ll need a Google Account to play). To give you a little practice, we’ve just revealed some practice questions.

Curious how some people are getting ready for the challenge? Check out this video:

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Like puzzles? Get ready for the Day in the Cloud Challenge on June 24th

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May 19

New in Labs: Automatic message translation

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

Posted by Darren Lewis, Software Engineer

Back in the early days of human existence, before language had fully developed, our caveman ancestors probably did a lot of grunting. Language, and thus life, were pretty simple: watch out for that saber-toothed tiger (“Blorg! AIYA!!!”); stop riding the wooly mammoth and help me pick some berries (“Argh. Zagle zorg!”); man, it’s cold in this Ice Age (“Brrrr.”).

Somewhere along the line, all those grunts diverged into thousands of distinct languages, and life became both richer and more complicated. And for the last few eons or so, we’ve struggled to communicate in a multilingual world. Which brings us to today. Since the heart and soul of Gmail is about helping people communicate, I’m proud to announce the integration of Google’s automatic translation technology directly into Gmail.

Simply enable “Message Translation” from the Labs tab under Settings, and when you receive an email in a language other than your own, Gmail will help you translate it into a language you can understand. In one click.


If all parties are using Gmail, you can have entire conversations in multiple languages with each participant reading the messages in whatever language is most comfortable for them. It’s not quite the universal translators we’re so fond of from science fiction, but thanks to Google Translate, it’s an exciting step in the right direction. I use this feature everyday to help me work with teammates around the globe (they think my Japanese is much better than it really is…shhhh!).

Whether you’re reading a family update from inlaws on the other side of the world, working with a multinational team, or just trying to bring about world peace, don’t worry, Gmail’s got your back.

Till next time, adiós, またね, tchau, and 再見!

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New in Labs: Automatic message translation

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May 13

Import your mail and contacts from other accounts

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

Posted by Chad Parry, Gmail Engineer

Gmail users can be a passionate bunch. Many of us have, at one time or another, encouraged or cajoled friends and family to join us @gmail.com. But switching email accounts can be pretty painful. It’s like getting out of a relationship. You have so much baggage — years of emails and contacts, memories of past Christmases and Valentine’s Days — so the easier your new email account can make it, the better. My wife flirted with the idea for two years before she finally took the plunge with Gmail. The reason she finally made the switch might also convince your friends that it’s a good time to adopt a shiny new Gmail address.

Gmail now migrates email and contacts from other email providers, including Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, and many more. It’s much easier to make the transition now that you can bring along all your old email and contacts. You can even have your messages forwarded from your old account for 30 days, giving you time to take Gmail for a test drive while you make up your mind.


This new feature is available in all newly-created Gmail accounts, and it is slowly being rolled out to all existing accounts. It’ll take longer than the few hours or days that most Gmail features take to get out to everyone. You’ll know it’s on for your account when you see the Accounts and Import tab (formerly just called Accounts) under Settings. Sorry, businesses and schools using Google Apps won’t see these new migration options.


Everyone can still use POP3 mail fetching and upload your contacts in a CSV file, but this new way is much simpler for basic imports. And we like it when you can access and move your data the way you want — it’s been easy to auto-forward all your Gmail messages to any other service, and now it’s a little easier to go the other direction too.

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Import your mail and contacts from other accounts

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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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