Tag Archive: Google Apps Blog

Dec 03

Call credits for military families this holiday season

(Cross-posted from the Google Voice blog)

Keeping in touch with family during the holiday season can be challenging for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for military families with loved ones serving around the country or overseas.

Gmail’s built in video chat and free calls to the U.S. and Canada can help keep friends and family in contact regardless of how far apart they may be. To make staying in touch this holiday season even easier for military families, we’re offering a $10 calling credit to help them reach their loved ones serving abroad.

These international call credits can be used to make calls with Google Voice or from right inside Gmail, and will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world.

To make this possible, we’ve partnered with Blue Star Families and Sesame Street, two organizations dedicated to supporting service members and their families.

Photo by Sesame Workshop, 2010

To be eligible for $10 calling credits, military family members must:

  1. Be a member of either Blue Star Families or Sesame Street Family Connections — registration is free for all military families
  2. Provide their Gmail address
  3. Enable calling in Gmail and accept the terms of service OR have an existing Google Voice account
  4. Complete this registration form by December 22, 2010

We recognize the sacrifices military family members make when loved ones serve abroad, and we’re proud to help make it a little bit easier for families to stay connected over the holidays.

At this time, Google Voice and calling in Gmail are available in the U.S. only.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/call-credits-for-military-families-this-holiday-season

Dec 01

New in Labs: Smart mute and easier ways to unmute

If you subscribe to a lot of mailing lists and like to keep an empty inbox, muting (or preventing a conversation from re-entering your inbox) is an essential feature. We just made a few changes that should make muting even better.

First up is “Smart Mute,” a new Gmail Labs feature that helps solve the problem of conversations that just won’t die. You know the ones I’m talking about: those emails with 10+ people cc’d where everyone replies all, but you lost interest five emails ago. The current mute behavior doesn’t do well in these situations since the messages are addressed to you. You end up with muted messages in your inbox, and the only way to prevent these emails from coming back to your inbox has been to create a custom filter for a specific conversation.


If you enable “Smart Mute” from the Labs tab in Gmail Settings, muted conversations will only appear in your inbox if a new message in the conversation is addressed to you and no one else, or a new email in the conversation adds you to the “To” or “Cc” line. Once you enable Smart Mute, mute behavior will change across all versions of Gmail: web, mobile, Android, etc. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Since you’ll likely be muting more than ever, we also added easier ways to unmute muted conversations. Previously, the only way to unmute a conversation was to move it to your inbox — not super intuitive and useless if the conversation was already in your inbox. Now there are two new ways to unmute a conversation. The first is through an “Unmute” option in the “More actions” menu. You’ll see this when you view or select a muted conversation.

If you’re viewing a muted conversation, you’ll see the second new way to unmute: the “Muted” label next to the subject line now behaves just like all other labels. Clicking on the “X” will remove the Muted label and unmute the conversation.


Hopefully these changes will make it easier to mute and unmute conversations.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/new-in-labs-smart-mute-and-easier-ways-to-unmute

Nov 30

New in Labs: Recently used emoji

When we added emoticons in Gmail, you responded with a nice big smile , but then you asked for more. So we added hundreds more emoticons through Gmail Labs. “But alas!” you cried. “How can I ever keep up with so many different choices? I am overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of emotion , amusement , and cute animals that Gmail has to offer.” Well, don’t despair, fine purveyor of emoticons. There is now a solution: “Recently Used Emoji” in Gmail Labs, which keeps track of the ten most recent emoticons you’ve used, and saves them for easy access. To turn it on, just visit the Labs tab of Gmail Settings.


No more searching through dozens of cat faces for the one that says, “I miss you, but I’m still ambivalent about our weekend plans.” You can now triumph over the plethora of emoticons, and easily add a pile of emotion to any email that you choose — let us know how it goes.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/new-in-labs-recently-used-emoji

Nov 15

Gmail homepage makeover

If you visited the Gmail log-in page recently, you may have noticed that things looked a wee bit different. We decided to give this page a bit of a facelift and updated a few of Gmail’s other pages while we were at it. Our goal was to keep a familiar look while freshening up the graphics and trimming down the text (we cut out over 250 words in the process).

Here’s a before & after of the log-in page:


We also updated the Gmail logo, brightening the colors and making it more in line with the latest Google logo:

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/gmail-homepage-makeover

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

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