Google Overhauls Gmail to Take On E-Mail Overload

gmail-logoNYTimes posted: On Wednesday, Google introduced a new in-box design for its e-mail service, Gmail.

In a blog post announcing the new design, the company said it wanted to help people quickly sort through their messages to determine which ones were important and which ones could wait until later.

The revamped Gmail automatically sorts incoming messages into categories, which appear as three tabs — primary, social and promotions — that users can toggle between in their in-box. The primary tab contains the e-mails that the service thinks are most important. Social contains message updates from various social networks, like LinkedIn, Tumblr and Yelp. Promotions contains newsletters, party invites and concert announcements. Users can also select to add additional tabs to help manage electronic bills, banking statements and messages from forum boards.

“We get a lot of different types of e-mail: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more,” wrote Itamar Gilad, a product manager at Google, in the post. “All of these e-mails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done.”

Mr. Gilad said Google’s new in-box is “organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which e-mails you want to read when.”

The new in-box will begin rolling out for the desktop first, and eventually be available on mobile and tablet applications.

Using Gmail, Calendar and Docs without an Internet connection

Gmail Blog: The great thing about web apps is that you can access all of your information on the go, and we’ve introduced ways to use Google Apps on a variety of devices like mobile phones and tablets. But it’s inevitable that you’ll occasionally find yourself in situations when you don’t have an Internet connection, like planes, trains and carpools. When we announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011, we talked about bringing offline access to our web apps, and now we’re taking our first steps in that direction. Gmail offline will be available today, and offline for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be rolling out over the next week, starting today.

Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access. After you install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page.

Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality. To get started using Google Calendar or Google Docs offline, just click the gear icon at the top right corner of the web app and select the option for offline access.

IT administrators can deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting up organizational policies for Chrome.

Today’s world doesn’t slow down when you’re offline and it’s a great feeling to be productive from anywhere, on any device, at any time. We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible, and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning. Support for offline document editing and customizing the amount of email to be synchronized will be coming in the future. We also look forward to making offline access more widely available when other browsers support advanced functionality (like background pages).

Google Apps highlights – 8/12/2011

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that Google post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights” and subscribe to the series.

This week we have news from the Gmail and Google Docs teams, which both made interface changes to streamline how you use those applications. We also introduced some new keyboard shortcuts and made improvements to spreadsheet charts and functions.

New preview pane in Gmail Labs
The Gmail team has heard requests from many of you for an inbox preview pane, and last Thursday we introduced this option as a Gmail Lab. Now you can quickly scroll through a list of messages and see their contents, marking mail as “read” as you go. Once you enable this feature from the Labs area in Settings, you can choose between a vertical or horizontal split in your Gmail window.

Sharper, smoother Gmail mobile interface
Last week we also brought a higher-resolution Gmail interface for people who access their inbox through a mobile browser on a high-resolution display, like the iPhone 4. We also simplified the process to check for new mail—just pull down on the Message List. Transitions between different pages in the interface are also smoothly animated now.

New look and keyboard shortcuts for the documents list
Google Docs also got some big interface improvements to the documents list last week as part of a Google-wideproject to streamline and simplify many of our applications. You can switch to the new design by clicking “Try the new look” under the gear icon in the upper right. We’ve also added dozens of new keyboard shortcuts to navigate through the documents list, create new files, share items and more. Just type ? to see the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet.

Automatic spreadsheet function snippets
There are spreadsheet functions you probably know by heart, and others like GoogleTranslate where you might need a tip now and again, so on Tuesday we introduced spreadsheet function snippets. When you start typing a function into a cell, we’ll instantly show you a list of matching functions. Hovering over a function displays its proper syntax and the function’s purpose. We hope this feature saves you trips to the Google Docs Help Center.

New chart types, and chart improvements for documents and drawings
We also made spreadsheet charts more powerful and easier to work with. After you create a chart, it’s now simpler to copy an image of your chart and embed it into a document or drawing. There are more chart types to choose from now, too—from candlestick and combo charts to GeoMaps and TreeMaps.

Who’s gone Google?
At the end of July, we opened our doors in Japan to more than 1,500 business technology leaders from the region for a lively discussion about the future of business technology. At the event, we heard from Softbank Group, Casio, Nortiz and Toda Corporation, who have all decided to switch to Google Apps from their legacy solutions. More than 60,000 other businesses around the world also switched to Google Apps since our last update here too, including Cox Schepp, Journal Communications, Crown Partners and ITV.

In the government sector, we were pleased to see that the U.S. General Services Administration completed their transition of 17,000 employees and contractors to Google Apps, an impressive feat considering it’s been just six months since they decided to “go Google.”

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager on Google Official Blog.

No More Offline Gmail in Google Chrome

Google Operation System Blog wrote:

Chrome 12, the upcoming version of Google’s browser which is likely to be released today, removes a useful feature: the built-in Gears plugin. While most Google services dropped support for Gears and removed offline access, Gears is still being used in Gmail. Google no longer maintains Gears, which is now legacy software, and focuses on implementing offline support using HTML5.

Read the whole story in: Google Operation System Blog

Switch to Gmail

Gmail_logoGmail Blog: Posted by Jason Toff, Product Marketing Manager

Switching email accounts can be painful. The idea of losing years of accumulated contacts and messages can sound daunting, to say the least. Luckily, switching to Gmail doesn’t mean you have to start totally fresh.

Back in 2009 we announced tools that let you import mail and contacts from other providers, such as AOL or Hotmail. Today we’re announcing the addition of fourteen more international domains to our list of supported email providers:

  • aol.com.br
  • hotmail.es
  • hotmail.it
  • hotmail.co.jp
  • Kimo.com
  • live.jp
  • yahoo.es
  • yahoo.cn
  • yahoo.com.cn
  • yahoo.com.hk
  • yahoo.com.sg
  • yahoo.com.tw
  • yahoo.co.jp
  • yahoo.it

We’ve also created a site, gmail.com/switch, with basic information and how and why you might want to switch to Gmail. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re already a Gmail user, but perhaps this link will be handy for friends and family.

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We’re always looking for ways to make Gmail more useful — both for existing users and new ones — so, as always, we’d love to hear what you think!

Gmail back soon for everyone

Gmail Blog posted:

Gmail_logoPosted by Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar (24×7)

Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we’re making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon.

I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That’s what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue.

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.

So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

As always, we’ll post a detailed incident report outlining what happened to the Apps Status Dashboard, as well as the corrective actions we’re taking to help prevent it from occurring again. If you were affected by this issue, it’s important to note that email sent to you between 6:00 PM PST on February 27 and 2:00 PM PST on February 28 was likely not delivered to your mailbox, and the senders would have received a notification that their messages weren’t delivered.

Thanks for bearing with us as we fix this, and sorry again for the scare.

Many Gmail Users Can’t Find Their Messages

Imagine loading Gmail and noticing that all your messages have been deleted. This is a real problem for many Gmail users who thought that they lost all of their messages. Here’s one of the many reports from Gmail’s forum:

Yes, whatever the error is on Google’s end (and it clearly is that, not a hack, unless it’s some kind of inside hack) it’s basically reset my account so it’s like a brand-new Gmail account. My contacts are intact, but nothing else–the folders have reset to default, my signature line is blank, the “theme” is changed back to the default and–of course–every single email from the last 7 years has vanished completely.

The Google Apps Status page mentions that “this issue affects less than 0.08% of the Google Mail userbase” and “Google engineers are working to restore full access”. The users that are affected “will be temporarily unable to sign in”.

gmail-outage-feb2011

This is a really important problem for Google and one of the biggest Gmail issues ever since Google’s email service was released, back in 2004.

Update: A Google engineer says that the “accounts that are affected are currently fully disabled. We’re in the process of changing this to be a Gmail only disable so you should regain access to other Google services soon. This will also mean email to these accounts stops bouncing and gets queued up for later delivery instead.”

via Engadget

Google Launches Tool to Get Companies to Back Up Their E-mails With Gmail

Gmail_logoGoogle has just launched Message Continuity, a cloud-based enterprise solution for backing up corporate e-mail whenever Microsoft Exchange goes down.

The new product, powered by Google’s 2007 acquisition of Postini, focuses on giving companies another access point to their e-mail accounts. It essentially creates a complete backup copy of Microsoft Exchange Servers and puts those e-mails into a Google Apps account, replicating that information within Gmail, Calendar and Contacts.

The hope is that when a company’s e-mail servers go down, it will be able to boot up Google’s cloud-based solution and continue its work without interruption. Google and Exchange are constantly synced to make sure Message Continuity is up-to-date. And because it’s cloud-based, the only way it goes down is if Google goes down.

It’s also a not-so-sneaky attempt by the search giant to get enterprises to switch from Outlook to Gmail. “Since Microsoft Exchange and Gmail are always in sync with one another, there’s no need to migrate e-mail data when eventually deploying Google Apps,” the company said in its blog post.

Google acquired Postini in 2007 for $625 million for its cloud-based e-mail technology. It’s the basis for some of Google’s cloud security features.

Gmail Priority Inbox Now Learns Much Faster

Gmail_logoGoogle has upgraded its Priority Inbox, a recently launched Gmail feature that automatically places important mail on top of your inbox, with a couple of improvements based on user feedback.

The Priority Inbox now reacts much faster to users’ manual corrections. Furthermore, if you hover the mouse cursor over the importance marker of individual emails, you’ll see a short explanation of why that message is considered important.

As far as what kind of impact the Priority Inbox has had on Gmail users, Google claims that typical Priority Inbox users spend 43% more time reading important mail compared to unimportant, and 15% less time reading email overall, when compared to Gmail users who don’t use the Priority Inbox.

importance_explanations

Microsoft allows checking Gmail through Hotmail

img-33742-microsoft-windows-live-logo-450x360Microsoft’s Hotmail rolled out its new service that allows streaming mail from other vendors like Gmail and Yahoo, in an attempt to make Hotmail the primary destination for email management rather than just a repository of spams.

The new service is a feature that is borrowed from Microsoft Outlook that allows adding accounts from other email services.

Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager at Windows Live Hotmail, said in a blog post: “We understand. You already have at least one email address and you probably don’t need another. You may also use your existing address for things other than just email, such as signing in to online shopping sites, which makes changing even more challenging. Also, you might have an address that you really like, but a similar name might not be available on another email service. “

The new feature requires users to validate external email addresses and allows the management of the mails through POP. To use the new feature users need a Windows Live ID, which can be availed by registering with any email id.

The roll-out of the new feature is an attempt by Microsoft to make users choose Hotmail as the primary active web mail provider rather than a repository of spam. Though Hotmail is one of the largest email providers with more than 360 million users it has been facing pressure from Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.

With Gmail scoring with its addition of Google Voice to its email feature and with Yahoo!  having recently rolled out its socially integrated beta version of its mail service, Microsoft has a lot to contend with.

With most of the users averse towards migrating their records from one email address to other, influencing users to switch email vendors is difficult. Thus Microsoft’s strategy to allow an easy way to pool records from other email addresses to Hotmail is an attempt to make Hotmail a choice for users without switching.

(This is not something very new! just a reminder for you Winking smile )

Taken from ibtimes