Tag Archive: Google Apps Blog

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 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 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

Dec 09

Gmail for Android: better Priority Inbox support and improved compose

(Cross posted from the Mobile blog)

When we first released Gmail in Android Market back in September, we said that you’d be getting new stuff faster, and we meant it. After getting thousands of comments on that release, we made a bunch of updates based on your feedback and today we’re launching Gmail for Android 2.3.2.

Priority Inbox

First of all, you told us that you love Priority Inbox and expect much better support for it on your phone. Now you can see important messages in a new Priority Inbox view.

This view includes all important messages in your inbox, regardless of whether you’ve read them or not. You can archive and delete conversations or mark them unimportant from there. You’ll notice the importance markers you’re used to seeing in the desktop version of Gmail, and you can also change a conversation’s importance using the menu. To switch between inboxes or labels, try tapping on the current label.

Ever wanted to know that you got an important message without taking your phone out of your pocket? Now you can set up your phone to notify, vibrate, or ring on just your new important mail (check out Menu > Settings > Priority Inbox).

While Priority Inbox on your Android phone doesn’t have all the features offered in the desktop version of Gmail, we think this is a good start and plan to add even more functionality moving forward.

Improved Compose

Since our last Market update, we adopted a few features related to composing messages from the desktop version of Gmail. Many of you asked for a better way to switch between replying to the sender to replying to all. Now, you can easily switch between reply, reply all, and forward while composing your response.

If you moved to Gmail from another webmail provider and want to continue to send email from that address, now you can send from any address you’ve configured in the desktop version of Gmail.

In addition, you can now respond to messages in-line.

You won’t need to wait for Gingerbread to get these updates. This version of the Gmail app works for Android 2.2 (Froyo) and newer releases in most countries. (Not sure if your device is running the right version? Check here.) Get the update from Android Market (just scan the QR code below, or click here if you’re on a phone) and check out the new Gmail. And don’t forget to send us your feedback from within the new version of the app (from your Inbox: Menu > More > About > Feedback).

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/gmail-for-android-better-priority-inbox-support-and-improved-compose

Dec 07

Event time zones in Google Calendar

Dealing with time zones can be a headache. Whether you’re a regular traveler or trying to plan ahead for your weekend in Paris, it’s often difficult to keep track of time differences. We’ve heard your feedback and are pleased to announce a new addition to Google Calendar: event time zones.

With event time zones, you can specify the time zone for a given event. So when you’re home in Florida, you can more easily set up dinner with your friend in Paris for the following week. Events will appear on your calendar according to the current time zone you’re in, and when you change to your destination time zone they’ll be in the right place. Just click the “Time zone” link to the right of the date and time fields on the event page. You can even set up events which start in one time zone and end in another, ideal for those of you who fly often.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/event-time-zones-in-google-calendar

Dec 06

A Priority Inbox update: time savings, new features, and your feedback

It’s been a couple of months since we first launched Priority Inbox. Since then, we’ve heard from a number of you who’ve found it helpful in combating information overload, and we’ve seen evidence of this in aggregate too. Looking at median time in conversation view, we noticed that typical Priority Inbox users spend 43% more time reading important mail compared to unimportant, and 15% less time reading email overall as compared to Gmail users who don’t use Priority Inbox. We’re excited about the impact Priority Inbox can have, and we’re listening to your feedback in order to make it even better.

For example, one thing we heard is that you wanted to know why Gmail classifies certain messages as important. So starting today, when you hover over an importance marker () you’ll see a short explanation (e.g. “Important because you marked it as important” or “Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.”).


You also told us that you thought Priority Inbox didn’t learn fast enough, so we’ve made it much more responsive to your manual corrections.

If you have more ideas for improvements, please share them with us on our new Priority Inbox product ideas page — or just vote on ideas that others suggest. Your feedback will help us make Priority Inbox work for even more Gmail users.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/a-priority-inbox-update-time-savings-new-features-and-your-feedback

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