Last Build Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2011 23:30:29 +0000Copyright: 2006-2008
Sun, 13 Nov 2011 23:30:29 +0000This special episode of the Gmail Podcast is a recording of a webmail security presentation I did at DragonCon in Atlanta Georgia on September 3, 2011. I co-presented for the EFF track with my Technorama co-host Kreg Steppe. It's a little longer than my usual Gmail Podcast. And at times it starts to become a Google support forum, but thanks to Kreg's facilitation, he gets things back on track. This episode contains many topics discussed on previous episodes of the Gmail Podcast, along with some new information, put together in one package. If you're looking for better ways to reduce your risk email attacks, then you won't want to miss this episode.
Thu, 18 Aug 2011 13:51:50 +0000Just a short one today... Some of you may already know this. If you use Gmail from the web browser on your iPad, iPhone, Android, or other mobile device, you might find it a bit annoying to label your messages. When reading a message, use the drop down chevrons on the upper right, select Label, and you are presented with a list of all your labels. Until recently, I would scroll to the label I wanted, check the checkbox, then have to scroll back up to the Apply button. One day I was doing this and for some reason missed the checkbox and just clicked the word “Finance” and it put the label on and went back to the message - much faster than scrolling back up and clicking Apply! Of course, if you want to apply more than one label, you will need to scroll, tick the appropriate checkboxes, and click Apply, but for just one, tap the label text for a quicker experience.
Mon, 01 Aug 2011 01:27:35 +0000I'm headed to DragonCon again this year and this time they've asked me to do a Gmail panel around security. If you're headed that way, I'd love to meet you. Hope to see you there. More Gmail Podcast coming soon...
Sat, 14 May 2011 16:15:06 +0000In this post I cover several of my favorite and most useful add-on features to standard Gmail that keep me productive and organized. For those of you who are new to Gmail or perhaps haven’t explored the labs features, here’s a little background. Gmail has a collection of features they like to test out. They think they are useful or fun, but don’t put them in the main product unless they’ve proven that they are widely adopted by the public. The features or functionality of labs features can change at any time without notice. The name “labs” comes from the fact that they are still in the proverbial research and development lab. You can get to the Labs features two ways. The first is to use the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Gmail screen next to your name and select Labs. The other way is to choose Mail Settings from the same gear icon, and select the Labs tab on the mail settings screen. Both menu options get you to the same place. Once on the settings screen, use the radio buttons next to any of the labs features to enable (or disable) them as you wish. As of this podcast release, there are 56 labs features. I have well over 30 enabled at the moment, but have tried them all at one point or another (including some that have gone in to the mainstream product.) In no particular order, here is my top five list and why. Background send - This labs feature frees me up a few more seconds while the system delivers the message in the background. This is particularly handy with large file attachments. When I process my inbox, I like to go fast. Background send helps me fire off a message and go on to the next one. Google voice player in mail - A very handy feature for those with a Google voice account. When someone leaves you a voice mail, the poorly interpreted transcript is emailed to you with a voice mail file attached. With this lab enabled, a handy player displays so you can listen to the voice mail right in Gmail without having to download the file or use another application. Nested labels - What can I say? I like to label certain messages either automatically through Gmail filters, or manually. While some people like to just archive everything and leave finding old mail to the powerful search, I find it helpful to use some tags to not only spot important messages in the conversation index (colors help with this), but also narrow down my searches later by including a label. Nested labels help reduce the clutter on the left side of the screen by grouping together common themes in a collapsable hierarchy. I can group labels such as the organizations or groups I’m involved in, my podcast related messages, or projects I’m working on. Undo send - I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent a message only to realize I forgot to include a file attachment, a recipient, or an email address microseconds after hitting the send button. The Undo Send labs feature puts a link at the top of the screen that gives you up to 30 seconds to re-edit that message. This is one of those labs features that was so popular, the Gmail folks put it right in the General Settings tab. Authentication icon for verified senders - Today, you need to be concerned about security and fraud protection. This little lab gives you a peace of mind when viewing your conversation index and messages. To date, ebay and PayPal are the only known verified senders I’m aware of. They also happen to be two of the biggest targets for fraud. Someone will send you a message that looks like it’s from one of these sites, asking you to log in and verify your settings, but it takes you to a site that looks like ebay or PayPal, but isn’t. It gets your login and password and you’ve just given up your access without realizing it by clicking on a link in your email. With this labs feature on, you know that the little gold key means the message is really from a trusted source and not a fraudulent one. While there are a lot of labs features,
Mon, 18 Oct 2010 15:43:13 +0000I've come across several new stories and features regarding Gmail that just didn't seem to fit in any other podcast so I'll cover them here. Today I'll be covering: Buzz on the sidebar A security checklist Watch out for a phishing scam Calendar notifications in Gmail To start, Gmail has a new feature being rolled out that puts the latest Google Buzz comments from the mail sender on your sidebar. When you open a conversation, look on the left and if the person writes Buzz comments, you will see them there. If you don't see the option, it could be that the person either doesn't use Buzz, or that you need to turn this feature on. You can find it under Settings on the Buzz tab just below Your External Apps. If you don't see the option there, it could be that it hasn't been released to you yet. Keep watching. Like most features, this is being released in a phased approach. Gmail is currently Google's biggest application to date. While Buzz has a few million users, it hasn't lived up to Google's expectations and still falls far short of being a Twitter of Facebook killer. Google hopes that by making Buzz messages more prominent in the Gmail interface, it will drive more people to use the feature. Next up, I came across a security checklist on Gmail's help site with 18 steps to help make your computer more secure. The checklist includes everything from keeping the latest software and patches installed to changing your password periodically. I'll include a link in the show notes so you can make sure you do your part to prevent problems and unwanted access to your computer. I went through it and found a couple things that I could probably do a little better. Thanks Google! On a security note, listener Norb sent along a phishing scam that you might want to look out for. Phishing (with a ph) is a way in which people send fake email messages to try and gain your access information. A typical one would be from someone impersonating PayPal with a link to their site that looks like PayPal to try and get you to login with your account information and bam - they've got your PayPal login and password. Bad idea. How do you protect yourself? Watch for key clues. One key way is to watch for grammatical errors. Things like "we have determine that your account is at risk. Please login to confirm account information." Another way is to check the links before clicking Once you become aware that most services like your bank, eBay, and so on don't send out messages that say "You've won", or "You need to validate your access", you can just delete these, or better yet, use the Gmail option to report phishing so it can learn and block these messages so other people don't receive similar messages. The message that Norb sent me appears to be sent from Google Service and goes like this: Our science & technology team has recently launched Google web software to protect and secure all Gmail Accounts. This system also enhanced efficient networking and fully supported browser. You need to upgrade to a fully supported browser by filling out the details below for validation purpose and to confirm your details on the new webmaster Central system. Account Name: Pass word: Country: Date of Birth: Note: Your Account will be disabled permanently if you failed to provide the details below within 72hours. Gmail will not be heard responsible for your negligence. The Google web Service. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry Again, the first giveaway is the grammar. Don't be taken in by threats of your account being deactivated. Just report it as phishing and go on with the rest of your day. Finally, I wanted to pass on a neat feature that I hadn't noticed until recently. If you're a Google Calendar user like me, then you may have noticed that Gmail will put a short alert message in the lower right corner of the screen when an appointment alarm goes off. If you've got a browser window open with Go[...]
Thu, 30 Sep 2010 13:58:39 +0000Staying away from Gmail because you don't like threaded messages (aka conversations?) Sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. I tell lots of people about Gmail and by far, the biggest reason I've heard that some people don't like is that all the messages are threaded. All messages, replies, and replies to replies are displayed as a single entry in the conversation index. Well, not any more. As of Wednesday September 29, 2010 Gmail is offering a feature to allow you to disable the conversations mode and use it like a legacy email system with one line per email message on the index. If you're one of the people who stayed away from Gmail because you don't like the conversations view, you can now find an option to disable this by clicking Settings in the upper right corner. Look for the section that says Conversations View and choose the way you want it displayed. Save your changes and that's it. If you prefer, you can always go back to the conversations view. While you've probably read all that from the press releases, I wanted to see it, test it, and let you know how this feature really behaves. My questions included: What happens when you go to individual messages? Does archive, label, star, etc. allow you to manipulate just one message? What then happens when you go back to conversations? The first thing I noticed is that the help screen is not dynamic between the words conversation and message. Everything is still referred to as a conversation. As for the shortcut keys, they still work the same, j to go down one message, k to go up, x to select, and so on. Regarding message management, I picked an example with a conversation containing two labels. Removing a single label from one message in a thread and going back to conversations view shows all applicable labels to the thread. if you go back to non-conversation mode, the individual message label settings are remembered. In short, it seems the application does what you expect it to do. As for me? I love conversations view and plan to stick with it. With so many email messages going back and forth, it's just made it so much easier to manage in conversations (especially the mute feature.) If you're new to Gmail and you've just discovered this podcast because now you want to use it because conversations can now be disabled, welcome aboard! I encourage you to go to chuckchat.com and visit the Gmail Podcast website to find out dozens of ways you can be more effective with Gmail.
Wed, 29 Sep 2010 14:11:45 +0000George Starcher joins me to share his real life experience with Google's new security feature. Brought to you by GotoAssist. Try it free for 30 days. In the previous episode of the Gmail Podcast, I mentioned that Google has a two factor authentication available to keep your login information more secure than just using a password. Shortly after I released that, I got an email from my friend and fellow Friends In Tech member, George Starcher to discuss his first week of experience after working with the new security method in his day job.
Wed, 22 Sep 2010 14:12:55 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. This week there were several news announcements in the Gmail space that I want to share with you. First, Google is rolling out two factor authentication to make using Gmail and other Google apps more secure. Two factor authentication uses your password, something you already know, with a second, temporary passcode issued to you via your phone. That means if someone gets your password, they still won't be able to get in unless they have your phone. When you sign in to Gmail, you'll provide your password, then Google will text your phone with a unique six digit code that you then type in to complete the login process. While this double password may seem like a hassle, I've used several two factor schemes in my day job and it really isn't a big deal to use. However, it is a big deal to someone trying to get at your information. The feature is being deployed in commercial and educational spaces first and will be rolled out to the rest of us shortly. No news if the feature can be disabled or not. Keep tuned in to the Gmail Podcast for updates. The second update is that Google has updated their Gmail app for Android. They made the message navigation a bit easier and even have limited support for the new Priority Inbox. And speaking of Priority Inbox, I noticed under Settings, Priority Inbox, that there's a fourth section you can enable or even change the behavior of the three default sections of Important and Unread, Starred, and Everything Else. As I've mentioned in some episodes a while back, I am a practitioner of David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology. There are times when I need to tag actionable items in email, but they're not going to be there long enough to enter and track in my system so I label them with @Actions. I've told Gmail to use that fourth section for all tasks labeled @Actions. Before Priority Inbox came along, I would occasionally lose items with that label if I happened to archive them. Sure, they'd still have the @Actions label, but they wouldn't be in the inbox any more. Priority Inbox doesn't do that. If there are any messages with that label, they'll be on that front page even if they've been archived. That means actions can't get swept under the rug (or marked completed) until I remove that special label. You could do the same thing with Stars, but I prefer to label things. Finally, Yahoo recent quoted a study from the Fraunhofer Institute to state that Yahoo and Hotmail's spam filtering are better than Gmail's. To quote: "The Fraunhofer Institute, an independent research firm, found that Yahoo! Mail users saw the least amount of spam out of the five providers tested, with nearly 40% less spam than Hotmail and 55% less spam than Gmail – meaning Gmail users in the study saw more than twice as much spam as Yahoo! Mail users." To make a long story short, the study was sponsored by Microsoft and represented six test subjects. So much for independent studies.
Fri, 10 Sep 2010 01:40:33 +0000Sponsored by GotoAssist Express - Try it free for 30 days Gmail is attempting to make your email easier to sort through by releasing a feature called Priority Inbox. I have to admit, at first I was skeptical of how this feature would work since I'm one of those people who generally keep their inbox to 10 items or less. A few times a day I go through my inbox and archive the reference information, delete the things I don't want to see again, take action on the quick items, and mark the other actions for later action. That seems to work fairly well. "What value do I get with Google guessing at the importance of my incoming messages?" was my first thought. Let me back up a bit. When your account is enabled with this feature, you will see a red message in the upper right by your login name indicating Priority Inbox has been turned on. If you like, there is a short video in the pop up window that helps explain the benefits of priority inbox. Click the "Try it now" button in that same pop up window. Once enabled, Gmail does a few things. First, it creates a new link on the left called Priority Inbox. The regular Inbox is still available just below that link. Second, it goes through your mail and makes some guesses at what mail is important to you and labels them as Important. Finally, the conversation index is divided in to four sections. By default, three of these are turned on. They are for messages labeled Important, Starred, and Everything Else. You can change these and even add a fourth section by going in the Settings under the Priority Inbox tab. You can also tweak a few of the other priority inbox settings from that same screen including the option to not show the priority inbox at all. Like spam filters, the priority inbox needs to learn what's important to you. Gmail has one of the best spam filters around and it's these same methods that help learn and identify important email as well. If it gets something wrong, you can use the new + and - tags on the button bar just above the conversation index to help it get smarter. After only a few days and a few keystrokes, I'm noticing a marked improvement. It is possible to abuse the priority inbox if you mark too many things important. What does "important" mean? That's up to you. If you mark too many things important and find that 95% of all of your email is ending up in the Important section, then it has lost its value. One other thing about priority inbox, I noticed that the shortcut keys g-i take you back to the priority inbox if you have it enabled. There doesn't appear to be a shortcut for the standard inbox while priority inbox is around, but if you find one, let me know about it. One final note, Google Voice has added email notifications for missed calls. This is not so much a quick tip, but an FYI . While this isn't terribly useful for people with Android phones who see the missed call on their handset, it is nice if you are on your desktop where you can have the missed calls noted in your Google Voice inbox or emailed to you.
Sat, 28 Aug 2010 01:29:15 +0000Try GotoAssist free for 30 days Make Voice Calls Good news for Gmail users. Gmail has enabled voice calling from within Gmail. Now you can use your computer's microphone and speakers (or a USB headset if you like) to make outgoing calls for free in U.S. or Canada and very inexpensive calls many other countries. To see if you have this feature yet, just look on the left side of your screen under chat and look for the option "Call Phone". Just click on it and enter a contact's name or start dialing. The other person does not need to have a Gmail account to make this work. You can call mobile phones or land lines. If you happen to have a Google Voice account associated with your Gmail account, the receiving party will see the incoming call with your Google voice number. If you choose, incoming calls to your Google Voice number can be received right from within Gmail. Now I'm really glad I put that Google Voice number on my latest business cards! FYI - you will need to install the voice and video chat plugin which you can get at gmail.com/videochat. Other Internet telephony providers have typically charged for outgoing phone calls. Companies like Skype are extremely inexpensive, but free trumps cheap any day for me. So far, I have only received one call from someone using Gmail. A couple nights ago I received a call on my mobile phone from my friend Kreg in South Carolina who couldn't resist testing it out before me. The call quality was about the same as typical mobile phone, with the notable exception of any dropouts hiccups or other artifacts typically associated with mobile calls. It wasn't quite as good as our Skype to Skype calls, but to call computer to phone for free, I'd say it warrants more usage. Based on initial reports of 1,000,000 calls in the first 24 hours, I'd say it's off to a good start. Google reports that all US Gmail accounts have the new feature enabled and they will be rolling it out to other countries soon. Recurring Event Update If you haven't done so recently, take a look at the details of a Google Calendar event. There are now two tabs: one for the event details and one to help you find a time with another Google invitee. They also cleaned up the recurring appointment functionality. When you click on the "repeat" checkbox just under the event title, a new window appears with the details of the event. It is now much easier to create a recurring event, although I still don't see a "Last" feature for my meeting that happens on the last Wednesday of the month. Double Sent Mail Bug Fixed Finally, there were some reports of some Gmail messages being re-sent automatically that affected hundreds of users. Google Employee "Mr Evan" reports that the issue has now been resolved. While this wasn't a widespread problem, it certainly was annoying when a Gmail user sent a message only to get a response back saying "I already got your message." If you were affected, rest assured that this bug is resolved.
Sat, 21 Aug 2010 15:46:42 +0000Solve technical issues faster with GotoAssist Express - Try it free for 30 days This past week were three main stories for Gmail and related apps. First, a new labs feature allows you to search in to your Google docs. Next, Gmail on the iPad got a nice touch to clear up some confusion, and finally, Google now supports voice and video chat on Linux. First up, you can give Gmail the ability to reach in to your Google docs by enabling the labs feature called Apps Search. Turn this on the same way you would any other labs feature by clicking the Settings link in the upper right, click the Labs tab, scroll down to the Apps Search section, click Enable, the click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen. Now when you do a search, Gmail will not only list your search results in a familiar conversation index listing, but also include a section at the bottom for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other Google docs data that matched your search criteria. As a side note, I noticed that the labs features are now grouped with the enabled labs at the top and the disabled, or available, labs at the bottom. If you're looking for something new, start scrolling until you get to the Available Labs section to save a bit of time. Next, Gmail made a slight adjustment to the user interface on the iPad to clear up some confusion that I, and some of you, have experienced. As you may have noticed, when you select messages on the left, a panel appears at the bottom left with buttons for Archive, Delete, and other options. For dealing with individual messages, the buttons on the upper right were used. Thankfully, Google was able to take advantage of CSS3 technology and remove the extra set of buttons on the left. Now when you select multiple messages, they are stacked in the window on the right. The buttons on the lower left never appear and you only need to use the right side buttons for archiving, deleting, and other actions. Perhaps they'll hear my other request make it easier to apply labels instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Finally, Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux users can now use voice and video chat. Just visit gmail.com/videochat to download the plugin. Google doesn't often neglect the Linux community, but they took almost two years to implement this feature. They promise to have RPM support soon.
Sat, 14 Aug 2010 14:30:14 +0000Sponsored by GotoAssist.com. Try it free for 30 days If you're a regular Gmail Podcast listener, you'll notice that I recently updated the Contacts and Groups podcast to be more accurate with the current user interface. That was done just in time for Google to update the interface one more time. While most of the Gmail Podcast content is evergreen, every once in a while they do a feature update that renders some of this content obsolete. I just didn't think it would be a week after I released a cast on groups. So what's new with the interface? At first glance, not much. If you look closer at the main page, you'll see on the left, Mail, Contacts, and Tasks are now grouped together. If you hover over the Mail link, you'll see a little dash appear to the right. Clicking that expands or collapses the trio of Mail, Contacts, and Tasks links to clean up your screen a bit. Also, Compose Mail is now a button instead of a link, and the other gadgets below the labels have been cleaned up. The buttons and links at the top of the conversation index have also been cleaned up. Rather than links to select all, none, read, unread, starred, and so on, there is now drop down list to the left that has multiple selections. A nice touch in my opinion. Another nice touch that is often overlooked is the fonts. It's subtle, but I think it gives Gmail a crisper look. Finally, the main changes to this update in Gmail have been to the contacts and groups management. When you click on contacts, the three column display has been replaced with a list that looks more like the way conversations are managed in Gmail. Groups are applied like labels, although they are displayed on the far right of each entry instead of somewhere in the middle like conversation labels. Like the conversation index, a dropdown list is available above the list to the far left of the buttons to select all or none of your contacts. If you select one or more of your contacts, and go back to the conversation index, when you come back, those same contacts are still selected. Nice job Google developers! Some other very nice features like sorting by last name (available under the More Actions drop down list), and my favorite, keyboard shortcuts have also been added. Clicking any one of the contacts presents a display that is significantly different than its predecessor. The layout includes all the standard fields you would expect, photo, name, phone, address, email. It also has a larger notes section and at the bottom of the left side there is an "Add" dropdown list that allows you to add additional fields in case someone has more than one email address, phone number, a nickname, or whatever. You can even create your own customer fields. And of course, there's a link to display recent conversations with that contact which can really help with those old archived conversations. As mentioned earlier, managing group membership with your contacts is now very similar to applying labels to your email conversations. If you are at the contact index, you can search, select, and use the Groups dropdown to apply or remove the groups you wish. I did a quick search for Jerry, came up with six hits, quickly selected all and created a new group called Jerry. Now if I want to send a quick message to all my contacts named Jerry, I compose a new message and start typing "Jerry" in the to field. Along with the six possibilities, I also get one with the suffix "(group)" and I send to all six at the same time. From the Contact details screen just pull down the Groups list and select the groups you wish to apply or remove. You can even type a new name and create a new group, again much like labels. You will probably notice that there is no Save Changes button on the contact s[...]
Sat, 07 Aug 2010 11:59:46 +0000Solve technical issues faster with GotoAssist Express - Try it free for 30 days I was going over the Gmail Podcast archives and discovered I covered groups several years ago. After listening to the podcast, I found that many features of managing contacts and groups had been improved so I thought it was time for an update. Groups allow you to organize and manage related collections of contacts and also address them at the same time. This podcast covers five main topics: Creating a new group Adding and removing contacts form a group Renaming a group Deleting a group Sending mail to a group Creating a group Let's begin by creating a group. Start by clicking on the Contacts list on the left side of the screen. You'll be presented with a screen with three columns. The first lists your groups, the middle column lists the members of the group you select, and the right column displays the properties of the contact or group selected. Next, select one or more contacts from the middle column by clicking on them, using the checkboxes next to each name, or using shift-click, or control-click to select multiple contacts, then click the icon just above the left column with a plus and two people. A dialog will appear prompting you for a name for the new group. Enter a name and click OK. The selected names will automatically be placed in the new group. If you don't want to select any names, you can still create a new group using the same icon. Adding/Removing people to a group Once you have created your group, you can add contacts by selecting the names in the same way as above, checking the checkboxes, shift-click, or control-click ranges of names, then use the Groups button above the right column to add them to an existing group, or create a new group. To remove someone from a group, use the same selection method and Groups button. When the selections drop down, the appropriate groups will be presented for that person or persons under "Remove from…" Renaming a group You can also rename a group by highlighting the group name, and clicking the Edit button on the right column. Just type in the new name and click Save. Deleting a group If you find you no longer need a group, simply select the group for the left column, and click the Delete group button above the right column. This will remove the group and not the contact information. If Kreg is a member of group Podcast Listeners, and I delete Podcast Listeners, I still have all of Kreg's information. You will be given a warning because removing a group cannot be undone. Using a group Now that you've got groups defined, you can simply type the name of the group in the To, Cc, or Bcc fields when you are composing or replying to a message. Groups will be listed in the auto-complete list in italics and have a suffix of "(group)". After entering the name of the group, hit the tab or enter key and Gmail will replace the group name with the names of the contacts in that group. You can create groups with as many contacts you like. However, in an effort to fight spam, Gmail won't let you send a message to a group containing more than 500. Tip: As a time saver, add people directly to a group at import time with the checkbox that reads "Also add these imported contacts to " and select the group you want to add them
Sat, 31 Jul 2010 14:13:22 +0000Colleague and fellow Friends in Tech member, George Starcher joins me for a look at his experience deploying Google Apps in the enterprise. This podcast runs a little longer than our normal format because it digs in to many aspects you should be aware of if you are thinking of replacing your legacy apps with a cloud solution. Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days
Mon, 19 Jul 2010 19:28:44 +0000Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days. One of the things that has annoyed me about web-based mail services like Gmail is when I click on an email link on a web page or document, the computer starts up Outlook, Mac Mail, or some other locally installed mail app instead of my favorite - Gmail. If this issue has bothered you, then I have a solution for you. This podcast covers the steps necessary to make Gmail your default email program for the big four browsers, Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Safari. Some solutions require additional software be installed. Links to those applications are provided in the posting on the website. Firefox users have the easiest time. Just open Preferences for Mac Users, or Tools> Options for Windows users, then select the Applications tab from the top. In the search box, type mailto and change the selection to read "Use Gmail". If you use more than one email program, then you can choose "Always ask". I would think Chrome would have been the easiest since it's a Google product like Gmail, however at this time your best bet is to install an extension called Mail Checker Plus (http://bit.ly/bUs51I). Mail Checker Plus also has some nice features to let you preview messages, and indicate how many unread messages you have on the toolbar. Mac Safari users are also required to install an additional piece of software called Google Notifier (http://bit.ly/bYxrC7). Once the software is installed, the trick is to go in to the preferences in the Mac Mail app (not Safari), and change the Default email reader option to Google Notifier. Sorry, I don't yet have a way for Windows Safari users to do this trick. Internet Explorer is probably the most complex solution to use Gmail as your default mail application. It's actually a little more complex than I have time to cover here so I'm only going to mention that the best solution I've come across is a free third party application called Affixa Basic (http://bit.ly/cT8BIR). I subscribe to the KISS, or Keep it Simple Stupid, philosophy. If there's an easy way to do something, use that. Firefox is my choice if you like an easy way to click a link and open Gmail.
Sat, 10 Jul 2010 13:20:56 +0000Try GotoAssist Free for 30 days. At long last, Gmail has provided a simple way to include different fonts, images, links and more to your signature. Previously this was done using Google Docs and some other tricks. Now you can simply go to Settings, scroll down to the Signature section, and format your signature just like your message with the WYSIWYG, or What You See is What You Get, editor. Another nice feature is that you can now use a different signature for each account, if you have multiple accounts feeding in to a single Gmail account. Me? I have about 11 at this point. Some share a common theme, but I prefer others to be specialized, including a unique title, link, phone number, or tag line associated with my organizational presence. My signature for firstname.lastname@example.org is different than my email@example.com address because they generally serve different purposes and audiences, yet thanks to Gmail, they end up on the same central point for me to read and manage. Even better, when I switch accounts while composing or replying to a message, Gmail automatically switches the signature accordingly. Now how cool is that? Here's a quick reminder on email signature etiquette. Unless you have a compelling reason, try to keep your signatures to 4-6 lines of text. Typical signature elements include your name, phone number, email address, website, title (if you're affiliated with an organization), if it's personal email, perhaps a favorite or thought provoking one-line quote. Too many times I've seen signatures that are longer than the messages they convey. Gmail also allows you to add images to your signature. While this seems like a good idea at first, I occasionally see an email client that includes the image as an attachment rather than in the signature where you expect it. Also remember, Gmail doesn't display images in messages unless you are in the recipients contacts list, sent that person a few email already, or have previously agreed to always accept images from that person. In which case, the effectiveness of the image is somewhat diminished.
Sun, 04 Jul 2010 02:05:20 +0000This show is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. Whether you are just getting started using Gmail or have been using it for years, this cast will help you manage your contacts. If you are new to Gmail, you are likely typing in the email address of the person when you send them email. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. A more effective way is to use the Gmail contacts list. Once information is in there, you can simply start typing the name of the person and Gmail will find the contact and use the proper email address. Begin by clicking the link on the left that says Contacts. You'll see three columns in the main window. The left column lists group names. You can organize your contacts in to groups such as friends, work, rocket club, and so on. Gmail provides a few examples to help get you started, but you can configure these any way you like. I cover groups more in another podcast. The second column lists the individual people in your contacts list. You may see some names listed here already even if you haven't used Gmail much. (You see) Gmail learns these by analyzing the email you've previously sent. To add a new contact, click the icon in the upper right with a plus and a single head. At a minimum, provide a name and email address and click save. Note the email field is red until Gmail determines you have entered a valid email address consisting of an "@" sign and a domain such as .com, .org, and so on. If this person has more than one address, click the little blue "add" link to the right of the Email label to enter more addresses for this person. You can also add phone numbers (handy for using Google Voice), addresses (useful for Google maps), and even a photo of the person. If you need to update someone's contact information, just highlight their name from the middle column and click the Edit button above the details column on the right to update existing information or add any new data. Deleting a contact is also quite easy; just click on the name or check the checkbox next to that entry and use the Delete contact button in the upper right of the contact details. Checking more than one contact allows you to delete multiples at the same time. The contacts database is also useful if you are trying to find a conversation you had with someone. Often times I want to verify someone sent me something or I sent something out. I can't always remember keywords or dates to search on, but I do remember who the conversation was with. To find that mystery conversation, simply click on the person's name, and just below their details in the right column, there is a link reading "Recent conversations: Show". Clicking on the show link does a search for any messages to or from that person. As your contacts list starts to grow, you can also use the Search contacts field above the three columns to help locate names and addresses more quickly. Over time, you may also find that Gmail has collected multiple email addresses or entries for the same person. For more information about merging contacts, I recommend listening to the Dec 2009 podcast on merging duplicate contacts. I also have information how to import your contacts from another mail service such as Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, and other systems from June 2009. Listen for upcoming podcasts on managing groups, importing from a CSV file or spreadsheet, and synchronizing contacts between Gmail and other services like Outlook or your iPhone.
Sat, 26 Jun 2010 16:24:31 +0000This podcast is sponsored by GotoAssist Express, Try it free for 30 days. A few weeks ago I got an iPad. Like many people, at first I thought it was just an oversized iPod Touch, until a friend of mine let me use his. One of the first things I wanted to see was Gmail. The difference between Gmail on the iPhone or iPod Touch compared to the iPad, using Safari, is massive. Some of the things I love about Gmail on the iPad include: Seeing the index and the current conversation on the same screen. This is similar to how Mac Mail or Outlook display messages and the index. There's enough screen real estate to get away with this on the iPad - not so on the iPhone or iPod Touch. I also like the new larger area to compose a message. This was introduced on June 25 and is currently only available in the US English interface for the time being. When you reply or compose a new message, Gmail brings a popup window in front to compose your message unlike before when it was in the right side window with the rest of the conversation. When you're done composing, use the Save or Send buttons in the lower right to complete your work. Of course, I like using my iPad in landscape mode and using a full size on-screen keyboard to quickly touch type my way through the interface. One thing that took a bit of getting used to was tagging conversations then using the Archive and Delete buttons on the left instead of the right. When you start checking off messages from the index on the left, it's very easy to click "Archive" or "Delete" on the upper right. However, doing so will take action on the current message, not the ones you checked. If you look closely, as soon as you start checking those checkboxes, a new set of buttons appears in the lower left. THOSE are the ones used for the checked items. I know - it took me a while to get trained on those also. Just remember, checking on the left, buttons on the left. Reading on the right, buttons on the right. I also think improvements can be made to the way labels are used. When you select the label feature from the dropdown list, you are presented with an alphabetized list of all your labels. If you have more than 20 or so labels and want to use one near the end you have to finger swipe to scroll your way down, click on it, then finger swipe back up to apply it - rather clumsy in my opinion. Predictive text like when entering names, and the labels from the desktop interface, would be much nicer. Overall, I think Gmail did a great job at adapting their interface to take advantage of the new Apple tablet format and there's room for improvement. I give it an 8 out of 10.
Sun, 13 Jun 2010 21:13:52 +0000This podcast is sponsored by Citrix. Try it free for 30 days Canned responses are a handy way to save time if you have the same message content in a new message, or a reply to someone else. One use might be if you have a routine report to send out each week. You can use a canned response to fill in the content with something like "Hey team, here's this week's report. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for all the hard work." Before you create a canned response, you first need to enable the Canned Reponse labs feature. Begin by clicking the Settings link in the upper right corner of the screen then clicking on the Labs tab. Scroll down until you see the labs feature "Canned Responses". Click Enable to the right of the description, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save Changes. To create a new canned response, click Compose Mail on the left to create a new message. Type in the subject and body text of your message.Â Just under the Subject text box, you will see a link labeled "Canned Responses". The first time you click it, the only option will be to Save a new canned response. Click on the option "New canned response" and a pop up window appears and prompts you for a friendly name. In my example, I'll use "Weekly Reports" as the name and click "OK". You've just created your first canned response. To use it in the future on a new message or reply, just click the Canned Response link and choose Insert> Weekly Reports. You can create new canned responses at any time by composing a message, then saving that message as a canned response. Two bits of information worth sharing, first the canned response only takes the message body as the canned response. The subject, recipients, and other fields are not part of the canned response. It also takes the entire message in the message body window. If you have a signature line in the canned response and you have signatures automatically inserted, you will see two signatures. If your canned response is not exactly as you wish, you can insert it, make the necessary changes, then click the link again and choose Save> Weekly Reports, for example, to update that particular canned response. If you no longer need a canned response, click the Canned Response link and choose the appropriate name under the Delete grouping. Canned responses are a quick and easy way to save time if you are sending a routine message in Gmail. Quick Tip: Enable the Google Maps Previews in mail labs feature to have Gmail automatically display a map when someone includes an address in an email. This saves you time for copying the address from a mail message, opening another window then pasting the address in to Google maps. Additionally, if you post a Google maps link in to a Buzz message, Buzz will automatically include a preview image. If you like photo, docs, and other previews, then you'll want to be sure to add the maps preview labs feature to your collection. Just click on the settings link in the upper right corner, choose the labs tab, and scroll down until you see the labs feature "Google Maps Previews in Mail". Click Enable, scroll to the bottom, click Save Changes and you'll get a maps preview when someone sends you a street address.
Sun, 23 May 2010 21:26:42 +0000Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days This past week Microsoft announced several additions to Hotmail in order to better compete with Gmail. Â No, I am not changing this from the Gmail Podcast to the Hotmail Podcast. We Gmail users snickered because many of these features like conversation view, and one-click filtering have been in Gmail for years . Within hours of the Microsoft announcement, Gmail upped the ante by announcing an API, or application programming interface, to allow developers to create contextual gadgets. Contextual gadgets allow you to interact with traditional non-email data without leaving your mail application. You may already be using contextual gadgets and not even realize it. Examples include YouTube, photo, and document previews. Watching a video within email is not something email was originally designed to do so Google thought it would be a great idea to look for YouTube (and similar links) and provide the information right in the message so you don't have to click and switch to another browser window or application, then come back to manage your email. Now these features is available to developers outside the Google Domain to extend the functionality of Gmail. Several already exist such as AwayFind that allows you to mark certain contacts or messages as urgent and flag the recipient can be alerted via phone, SMS, or IM. Contextual apps are available for those who host their domain with Google. For example, I can add AwayFind as an available feature to those with chuckchat.com email addresses because the chuckchat.com mail is hosted on Google. The only information I could find at this time regarding the installation and activation of these apps was an article on CNet.com that Google Apps Administrators can install the contextual gadgets for their users. When I logged in and went to Manage my chuckchat.com domain, a button appeared on the Dashboard near the top just below the menu bar that said "Continue with setup guide". When I clicked on it, I was brought to the Google Apps Admin Help screen that has a link at the top to the Google Apps Marketplace. If you want to just look around, use google.com/enterprise/marketplace. I went ahead and installed and configured AwayFind so I can be alerted via SMS to my Google Voice number when important messages come to a specific domain. It only took a few minutes and is nice to have for certain cases. I can manage the contextual app from the main control panel of the dashboard. While doing research for this article I noticed that labs are now available in Gmail for hosted domains while themes are not yet an option. One final thing, Google Calendar got a minor update this past week for the first time in a while. The changes may appear subtle at first. They include some tweaks to the fonts and colors to make them a bit sharper. If you use tasks in Gmail and Calendar, take note that the Tasks link in Calendar has been removed and replaced with a listing under My Calendars. When you turn this pseudo calendar on, the tasks will appear on the right hand side. Managing the tasks in Google Calendar is the same as in Gmail. See the Gmail Podcast archives for more information on tasks.
Fri, 14 May 2010 15:31:00 +0000Sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. This is probably one of the shortest Gmail Podcasts to let you know that the drag and drop feature that was announced for file attachments in April 2010 is now also available for images in the body of your message. To use it, start composing a new message. Then simply use your mouse to click on a JPEG, GIF, or PNG file and drop it on the body of your message. Once the image is uploaded, several links appear under the image that let you size it to small, medium, large, or original. That's it. Currently this feature is only available for Chrome. However, combined with the drag and drop file attachments, I'm starting to use Chrome as my primary web browser over Firefox. Although, I'm sure the feature race between these two browsers isn't over yet. Keep listening to the Gmail Podcast and watching the blog for updated information.
Sun, 02 May 2010 21:20:07 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. It's time to take a look at maintaining your Gmail security. It's no secret that the Internet can be a dangerous place. Fortunately, you don't have to be an IT security geek to protect your Gmail account. With a few simple, common sense steps, and a little familiarity of some key Gmail features, you can protect yourself from people trying to gain access to your account. You know the story. You get an email from a friend of yours who is reported to be stranded overseas and needs a couple hundred dollars to get home. This is one of the common messages and, of course, completely false. Your friend's email account has been compromised, he's got no idea until it's too late, and your name happened to be in the address book along with who knows how many others who got a similar message. Remember, they wouldn't be doing it if it didn't work at least some of the time. How do you prevent yourself from the same fate as your friend? (Not the 'getting stuck overseas part'). The first step is understanding how your account could be breached. One way is forgetting logout on a public computer (a hotel kiosk for example.) Another way would be if someone had installed keylogging software on the computer you used. While undetectable to you, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risk. First, select a strong password. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and throw in a symbol here or there. Use uppercase and lower case letters. Don't use dictionary words or common names. Make it meaningful to you. For example: iat#1gmn! would be short for (I am the number 1 Gmail ninja). Also, change your password periodically. Yes, I know this is a pain, but when you think about it, even if someone has captured your password from a keylogger, it won't be any good once you change your password. You can change your password under Settings> Accounts and Import> Change Account Settings or go to http://www.google.com/accounts Second, remember to sign out when you're done. It sounds simple, but it's easy to forget. Third, monitor any open sessions and understand what they mean. At the bottom of the main conversation index, there's a line that says "Last account activity" and a link at the end to display the details. If you, or someone else, is logged on from another computer, it will tell you there. I often see one or two other computers logged in because I forget to logout on my home computer then access Gmail from work. By clicking on the Details link Gmail displays the location and IP addresses of the other sessions, a button to terminate the other sessions immediately, and a history of recent activity. It's a good idea to become familiar with your home and work IP addresses so you can spot others that you don't recognize. Remember to periodically scroll to the bottom of the screen and see how many other seessions are going. If it's one or more, have a look at the details to be safe. Finally, Gmail has created a feature that removes some of the burden of monitoring your activity. If Google sees activity on your account from two different countries within a few hours, you will see a warning message at the top of the screen in red which starts out "Warning, We believe your account was last accessed from..." You can turn this setting off from the same Activity history details mentioned earlier, but I don't recommend it. Hopefully you'll never see this message. While it's nice to know G[...]
Sun, 25 Apr 2010 19:56:48 +0000Sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. Here's a tip how to track if your email address is being circulated and stay organized using Gmail. This past week I was out having dinner on a business trip. The hostess approached the table and asked if we would like to be emailed promotional information for their establishment. Since the restaurant chain and a place nearby where I live, I agreed; all they needed was my email address. I don't know about you, but every time I give out my email address, I get uneasy about the trust that the company I give it to won't be selling it to someone else. While I can't solve the trust issue, I can determine if they give the address away. Here's what I did. I added a "+" and a keyword to the first part of my address. For example, email@example.com if I went dining at Joe's Deli. Now I can filter on any email that has a "+" in the to address and star it, label it, or flag it someway to determine where it came from. Listen to some of the earlier Gmail Podcast episodes for information on filtering and labeling to determine how to automatically assist in visual identification of these messages. With luck, I will only see messages with the "+joesdeli" suffix from Joe's Deli. If I start to see that address appear somewhere else, I will be less trustful of Joe in the future. One word of caution, you may not be able to use this trick on web forms. Many websites don't allow the "+" symbol in an email address. They think it's an invalid character, so you may not be able to use this trick everywhere. Since I wrote it on paper at Joe's Deli, I'll let that be their problem since my email address has a higher value to them than me getting their promotional mail at this point.
Sat, 17 Apr 2010 16:24:57 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express - try it free for 30 days. Adding extra content to a Gmail message just took another giant leap forward this past week with the introduction of two features. The first is Insert Invitation. This feature allows you to stay within Gmail to create a quick appointment and see what is on the other person's Google calendar if they have it shared with you. This is much easier than the old "Add Appointment" link. Begin by composing a message and enter the recipients of your message. In my case, I'll enter my wife's email address which happens to be a hosted Gmail account and not a gmail.com address. She agreed to share her calendar with me a while ago, but if she wasn't already setup for that, I would Click the calendar link at the top of Gmail, go to the Other Calendars section on the left, click the link "Add" in the lower right corner of that box and choose "Add friend's calendar", and enter her email address to send a request to share the calendar. She has the option of how much information and the amount of control I have, if any, on her calendar. Once she has shared her calendar, it will show up on the left in that Other Calendars section and her appointments will appear in the corresponding color. If you get too many other calendars you can simply click on the name of the calendar and it will turn them off . With the calendar displayed, let's got back to Gmail's Insert Invitation feature. With one or more recipients entered in the address field, I click the Insert Invitation link just below the Subject field and a window pops up with the subject filled in as the "What". I pick the dates and times for the "When", and just below that, Gmail displays the availability of all the email recipients who have shared their calendars with me. This makes it much easier to see conflicts and reschedule. While I don't have too many calendars shared with my friends (yet), I suspect this will be a bigger benefit to companies and other organizations trying to schedule meetings. The other neat new feature doesn't need much explanation. It's a simple feature we've all come to expect from graphical computing over the last 25 years to drag items from one window to another. In some rare cases, even web applications allowÂ you to drag files from your local file system to a web application. Gmail offers the ability to attach files simply by dragging them from your desktop, or any other folder to the link that reads Attach a file. This feature currently only supported in FireFox 3.6 and Chrome, but Google promises to support drag and drop attachments in other browsers soon.
Sun, 11 Apr 2010 20:08:45 +0000This episode is sponsored by Citrix GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. For years, Gmail has been touting that labels are more flexible and powerful than folders for organizing your messages. This is because any given message can only be filed in one folder at a time, but in Gmail, you can apply more than one label. The complaint I've heard most frequently is that labels lack the ability to be nested like folders. Good news all you organized people - Gmail now has a labs feature called Nested Labels. You enable nested labels like any other labs feature by first clicking the Settings link in the upper right corner, click the Labs tab, scroll down until you find Nested Labels, click Enable next to it, scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes. To create a nested label, you first need to create the top level label first if it doesn't already exist. For my example, I'll create a label called "Podcast". Again, I go to Settings, then click the Labels tab, and scroll down to the labels section. I'll type the label "Podcast" in the text box that reads "Create a new label", then click the Create button. To create a sub-label, I use the name of the existing label, a forward slash, then the name of the sub-label. For this case, I type Podcast/Gmail, then click Create. Your nested label will immediately show up on the left. Like normal labels, you can add colors as you like. You can nest labels as many levels deep as you like. One warning, you cannot create the a new label and a sub-label at the same time. If you try to create a new label "Podcast/Technorama" before creating the Podcast label, you'll end up with a top level label called Podcast/Technorama rather than a Podcast label with a Technorama label under it. If you setup nested labels then turn the labs feature off, it's nice to know that you don't lose any information on the conversations you labeled. The label structure is represented literally as you typed it when you created the nested labels. For example the Gmail label under Podcasts, is displayed on the left as Podcast/Gmail. Right below it is Podcast/Technorama.. Another new labs feature is called Message Sneak Peak. When you enable this labs feature you can right click on any conversation on the index to see a preview of the conversation without leaving the conversation index. If theÂ conversation has more than one message in it, you can use the arrow keys in the upper right corner to scroll through the various messages. If you have shortcut keys enabled, you can use the 'h' key to bring up the sneak peek window also. Use 'j' and 'k' to move to the next and previous message and Esc to put the sneak peek window away. Update: 12-April-2010 - I am REALLY enjoying using nested labels (despite my better judgement to keep things flat). While I had to tweak some filters to apply the new labels, migrating conversations from an old label to a new label is SO simple. Just click the label on the left, click All to select all the messages (if there are more than fit on a single page of display, use the link to select all of them.) Use the "Move To" feature to apply the new label and remove the old one. When I got that done, I went to Settings> Labels to remove any unwanted labels (where it displays 0 Conversations.) Very cool.
Wed, 07 Apr 2010 01:05:03 +0000Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days. When you think of drafts in Gmail, you probably think of the auto-save feature that comes along periodically, or the fact that you can save your draft and come back to it later to complete and send. Those are terrific features and I'd like to add a couple more neat ways to use drafts to be more effective with Gmail. The first way is to use drafts to save notes. This idea was originally conceived before the introduction of Gmail tasks. While not as elegant and organized as Tasks, it can be used in a different way. The basic idea is to start composing your notes in a mail message, and save it as a draft. One idea is to save multiple copies, let's say one for work ideas, one for home ideas, one for special projects, and so on. With the rich text formatting, Gmail makes a pretty nice note taking system, especially when you factor in Gmail's search capability also looks in the Drafts folder. The second neat way you can use drafts is for temporary file storage - even beyond the 20 MB limit! Let's say you want to copy a file from one machine to another, but you don't have a thumb drive, or an account with a file sharing service like DropBox. Begin by composing a message, attach a file of nearly any size, then click Save Now to save it as a draft. Login to another computer, login to your Gmail account, go to the Drafts folder, and click on your file attachment or right-click and select Save link as... to download your file to the second machine. When you are done with that draft, you can click Discard to have it removed completely. Remember, drafts can be used for more than just a handy way to restore your work if your connection is interrupted. You can keep organized notes and file transfers using the same standard Drafts features.
Sun, 21 Mar 2010 19:55:06 +0000One of the best features about Gmail is its powerful spam detection. Spam is that annoying email that you get from people or organizations you don't know for products or services that you did not ask for. Some spam is easy to spot such as prescription medicines, or low loan rates. Others are more subtle and the spammers are getting trickier by masquerading as other popular websites such as Facebook and eBay. Recent assessments show that over 95% of all email on the Internet today is spam. If you are new to Gmail or just started an email address, you may not be receiving too much now. However, if you've had the same email address for a while and use it on other websites for registration, comments, or other ways to get information sent to you, you are opening yourself up to those people who will try to sell you something, known as spammers. Fortunately, Gmail stops a large percentage of these annoying email. However, no software is perfect and you may see a spam message in your inbox from time to time. You can simply delete the message which addresses the short term problem, but you run the risk of similar messages appearing again in the future. A better solution is to check one or more spam messages on the conversation index and click the Report Spam button at the top of the conversation index or just click the button if you have already opened a message to find out it is spam. If you have keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can use the hash (#) key. When you mark a message as spam, Gmail removes the message from your inbox and learns from the message you selected to prevent similar messages not only for you, but for all Gmail users. If you mistakingly clicked Report Spam on a message, you can click Undo at the top of the screen or use the same button which now reads Not Spam. If you have navigated away from the message you can use the the Spam folder on the left and locate your message. If you don't see the Spam folder, try clicking "more" just above Contacts. Similar to spam messages are phishing messages (spelled with a ph instead of an f). These are messages where someone is trying to get you to login to their site so they can get your credentials for the real site. You can find out more about phishing from the Gmail Podcast released October 14, 2006.
Sat, 06 Mar 2010 20:37:12 +0000Try GotoAssist Express Free for 30 days Gmail is full of so many features that sometimes I forget some of the best ones out there. One of those is the Move to button located on the button bar just above the conversation index and any conversation you open. The button works similar in both contexts. It is a combination of the label feature and archive feature rolled in to one. For more information on archiving and labeling, check the White Belt series Gmail Podcast website. To use the Move To button from the conversation index, select the conversation or conversations you want to affect then click the Move To button. A list of of your labels appear, much like the Label button. When you select one of these, the conversations you checked are immediately removed from the conversation index and archived with the label you selected. The Move To button behaves slightly differently if you are in the conversation reading mode. If you click on the Move To here, the same list of labels appears along with two options that let you move the message directly to spam and trash. These two options are identical to clicking the Spam or Delete buttons on the same button bar. Just like the mode from the conversation index, clicking any existing label will apply that label, archive that conversation, and take you back to the conversation index. Additionally, you can also create new labels from this mode, the same as using the Label feature. Because of the way the Move To button attaches one label and archives at the same time, makes it behave more like a traditional folder action than a Gmail label in that it files your conversation in a specific place with one label associated and it's done. That's not to say you couldn't display the conversations with that label, locate your specific one, and attach more labels to it, but that would defeat the purpose of this specialized button. Sadly, I cannot find a shortcut key sequence to use this so I often use (the lower case letter) 'l' to bring up the label menu, label it, and type 'y' to archive it so fast I never think about the Move to feature. As useful as this button is, I rarely use it because it doesn't have a shortcut key associated with it. Here's a quick update... Google has improved the speed which popout windows appear. Popout windows are available when you are composing, replying, or forwarding messages, along with tasks, chat, and a few other places. For example, normally you see the chat window embedded in the bottom of your Gmail window. If you click the little upward arrow in the label bar with the person's name, the chat window pops out of that browser window and becomes its own browser window. Previously this was a tedious few seconds. Now almost instantaneous. Thank you Google for continuing to improve our favorite mail program.
Sat, 27 Feb 2010 19:20:46 +0000This show is sponsored by Citrix GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. This episode is another in our getting started series with Gmail. This time I'll cover a way to change the appearance of your Gmail interface without changing the functionality. Gmail calls these themes; other systems might call this "skinning" because you're putting a new skin or motif to change the application's cosmetics while leaving the underlying system the same. Changing your theme in Gmail is very simple and quite fun. Begin by logging in to your Gmail account then clicking on the Settings link in the upper right corner. Next, click the Themes tab on the settings window. When you click on one of the themes, Gmail will instantly change the look of your interface. There is no Save Changes button to click on this page. Try as many as you like or stick with the Classic look. You can even choose your own colors. Be selective with your theme and inspect all the various things on the conversation index and compose screens. You may find some things don't contrast well. For example the light graphics at the top of the screen on the Phatasea theme makes it difficult to read the text "Show Search Options" and "Create a filter". Some themes actually change throughout the day. You may be prompted to enter your location when you pick one of the themes. If you are very mobile, you can change your location at the bottom of the themes settings. These dynamic themes change to show the proper sunrise, sunset, and even weather conditions. Yes, I've seen it snow in Gmail! If you select one of these themes, you'll see a drop-down menu appear asking for your country or region. Select the country you want, and then enter a city in the field provided. If you don't enter a city, or enter an invalid one, Gmail will set your location to the capital city of the country you selected. When you're done, click Save. One important footnote, Gmail Themes aren't yet compatible with all browsers. Themes are only available in Internet Explorer 7.0+, Firefox 2.0+ or Safari 3.0+, and Google Chrome. If you're using an older version of one of these browsers, you may run in to problems or not see the themes tab at all. Also, themes are not available if you host your own domain on Gmail. The hosting and themes have been out for quite some time, and I haven't quite figured out why Google hasn't added themes to this set of Gmail users yet. You can find more information about hosting your own domain on Gmail in the Gmail Podcast archives on the website. Quick update - Google has promoted six labs features to full Gmail features and removed five of them. Labs features are features in Gmail that allow you try out cool new things that Google is considering adding to Gmail. They may have errors and they may change, but most are useful to some degree. Again, more information on Labs can be found in the Gmail Podcast archives.
Sat, 20 Feb 2010 20:42:12 +0000This episode is sponsored by Citrix GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days This episode is another in our getting started series with Gmail. Creating and sending email may seem like an self-evident task with any email client. I want to ensure we cover everything to make you effective using Gmail. I'll cover the basics to get beginners started and you Gmail veterans may still want to listen because I'll throw in a few extras too. Let's get started by logging in to your Gmail account at https://mail.google.com. In the future, I'll assume you know how to do that, but since this is still one of the first getting started series, I want to make sure nothing is glossed over. On the left side, just under the Gmail logo, click the Compose Mail link. Next, enter your recipient's email address in the To field. If you have a list of contacts setup, you can also start typing the name or address and Gmail will start auto populating the list. If you're not sure how to spell the name, you can click the To: label and bring up the contact chooser to help narrow down your search. Don't worry if you don't have any contacts entered yet, there's another show on setting up contacts that guides you through that simple process so you don't have to remember and type an email address every time. Enter the subject of your message in the Subject text area, then click your mouse anywhere in the large text area on the screen to create the main body of your message and type away. As you type, Gmail will periodically save your message in the Drafts folder. In the event your browser or computer crash, you won't lose all your work. Alternatively, you can also use the Save Now button at the top of your message. When you've completed your text, click the Send button just above the To field to have Gmail deliver your message. You'll see a confirmation message at the top to let you know your email has been sent. Now for some extras... Below the To field are two additional links labeled Add Cc and Add Bcc. Clicking each of these links presents an additional text area for you to enter additional recipients. These are used to include additional people or groups in your message. Cc stands for Carbon Copy. When you enter a recipient here, they are included in the message, however their email client may display the message slightly differently because the message was not directly to them, but rather they were a secondary recipient. Bcc stands for Blind Carbon Copy. Like Cc, you add one or more recipients in the Bcc field, but it has the added advantage that people in the To and Cc fields do not know who is in the Bcc field. An example of this may be that I want to send a message to Dave asking him to explain his behavior in the meeting yesterday, but I'd also like to include his boss Sally without letting Dave know that Sally is included. If I include Sally in the Bcc field, she receives a copy of the message I sent to Dave, but Dave doesn't know that. Be aware, that some email systems, particularly corporate ones, may block email if your name is in the Bcc field so use it with caution. If you want to include a photo, document, or audio file, you can use the link labeled Attach a file just below the Subject field. Clicking this link presents a file b[...]
Sat, 13 Feb 2010 19:43:30 +0000Sponsored by GotoAssist Express - Try it FREE for 30 days. This past week Google introduced a new feature called Buzz. Buzz is Google's cannonball in to the social media space. It features some of the benefits of Twitter like quick messaging, some Facebook like media sharing, and some from other social networks. Buzz is very appropriately named when you consider all the press generated following its release. Unlike many Google products in the past that have typically been released gradually or as an opt-in feature like labs, Buzz was automatically released to millions of Gmail users on Tuesday Feburary 9, 2010. While it is easy to start using it, many pundits are saying that Google forgot to think through privacy aspect of the product. Unlike some social media sites that start you with no information and connections, Buzz uses your Gmail contacts as a base for who you are following and who is following you. Initially, Buzz allowed others to see who was following you, who you were following, and some parts of your profile that you may not have intended to share. To Google's credit, they reacted quickly. Within a couple days (and lots of feedback) they added some options to allow you to control the visibility of your profile and follower information. If you're the type of person who is concerned about privacy, you might want to wait before using Buzz. On the other hand, if you're like me, and have been on the Internet for 25 years, then the horses left the barn a long time ago. With that in mind, there is no way to actually "turn off" Buzz in Gmail. It is integrated right in to Gmail which Google, at least, touts as an asset. Here's a step-by-step approach to get started with Buzz. The first time you sign in to your Gmail account after Buzz has been enabled, you are taken to a screen that advertises Buzz is available with a message "New! Google Buzz in Gmail". At the bottom of the screen is a blue button reading "Sweet! Check out Buzz." When you click on the button, you're taken to the Gmail interface only instead of your inbox, you are brought to the Buzz tab just under the Inbox. Again, if you don't feel comfortable with the maturity of the product yet, don't click the blue button. Instead use the link "Nah, go to my inbox." If you clicked the blue button by mistake, don't worry. Just use the Inbox link to get back to your friendly mail. The place where your messages usually are located is replaced with several items. First, there's a text box that works much like Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network. This is where you place the message you want to share. If you try to post a message there right away, Google will prompt you to create your profile (see Figure 1). Pay particular attention to the checkbox that reads "Show the list of people I'm following and the list of people following me on my profile". This is one of the enhancements Google made two days after Buzz launched to help protect you and your follower's privacy. If you've already setup a Google Profile, you can find this setting and more near your photo. Just above the text box are links. Clicking your name displays how the public views your profile. The Edit link lets you set your profile and share other items[...]
Mon, 08 Feb 2010 00:11:35 +0000Try GotoAssist Free for 30 days. This show is another in our getting started series with Gmail. It's purpose is to help you understand the various parts of the Gmail screen layout and the functions they perform. The largest and most noticeable object on the screen is the conversation index. It's simply a list of email messages in a condensed format, showing who a message is from, the subject, part of the message (called a snippet), and the time or date it was received. Messages with the same subject are combined in to groups called "conversations". Gmail does this to help you keep track of related information. Other email readers refer to this as a "thread". Some people find this a little confusing at first and wish there was a way to turn it off. There is no way to turn it off and I'm sure that after a time you will find the conversation layout a preferred way to see your email. By default, the message index displays your inbox, however it can display other messages you have searched for, messages you have labeled, and so on. On the left side of the conversation index, still within the list boundary, are a series of checkboxes. These are used to mark the conversations for additional actions such as archiving, deleting, labeling, and so on. You can select one or more messages by checking the checkbox or using the links just above the first message where it says Select All, None, Read, Unread, Starred, or Unstarred. This same list appears at the top and bottom of the conversation index. Also at the top and bottom of the conversation index is a menu of options labeled Archive,Report Spam, Delete, Move To, Labels, and More Actions. These menu buttons are the actions that complement the conversations you have selected. I'll get in to some of these menu options in greater detail in other podcasts. A separate link to the right of the menu, labeled Refresh, allows you to update your inbox on demand rather than waiting a few minutes for Gmail to refresh automatically. As a quick example, when you select one or more conversations with the checkbox on the left then click Archive, the conversation is removed from your inbox, but still available on the server. If you click delete, the message is removed from the servers and gone. One of Gmail's most used, but little appreciated features is it's built in spam filter. Spam is unsolicited email for products or services you have no interest. It is the junk-mail of the Internet. As good as Gmail's 'spam filter is, a few slip through. You can help improve Gmail's spam filter by selecting those troublesome messages and clicking the Report Spam button. To the left of the conversation index are several links. Just below the Gmail logo is a link labeled "Compose Mail". This link takes you to a new screen to create a new email message. Composing messages is covered in greater detail in another podcast. A little further down are a group of links to your mail messages. The first is Inbox. As mentioned earlier, this are the conversations you have received and possibly read. The number next to any of these links indicates the number of conversations with unread messages in them. You can tell at a glance if, and how many, conversation[...]
Sat, 30 Jan 2010 23:12:25 +0000This episode is sponsored by Citrix GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. This episode is the second in our Getting Started series on Gmail. I'll walk you through the basics to setup your account.If you're brand new to Gmail, you may want to go back and listen to the previous show on setting up an account. You can find it at the Gmail Podcast website, chuckchat.com/gmail, under the Getting Started page. If you've been using Gmail for a while, I recommend you still listen. You might hear something new. When you created your Gmail account, you provided a few items like your name, location, and a few other things. In this episode I'll take deeper dive in to some of the other items you can configure. Begin by going to mail.google.com and logging in to your Gmail account. Next, click the Settings link in the upper right corner of your Gmail web page. The settings screen displays several links, or tabs, across the top. These are labeled General, Accounts and Import, Labels, Filters, Forwarding and POP/IMAP, Chat, Web Clips, Labs, Offline, and Themes. This show covers the General settings. I'll go in to more detail for the other tabs in other Gmail Podcast episodes. The General tab includes the general settings to you account. The Language field allows you to set the language and character set used to display the Gmail application. This changes the menus, labels, and other aspects of the Gmail interface. If you get messages in French, this setting will not automatically translate them to English for example. Maximum page size sets the maximum number of conversations (or messages with the same subject) on a page. You can set this to 25, 50, or 100. The more messages you display, the more you can select without going to another page. However, too many messages and you may have to use the scroll bar on your browser. Keyboard shortcuts allows you to enable or disable the use of keyboard shortcuts in Gmail. Keyboard shortcuts allow you to save time by typing "c" for example, to compose a new message from the conversation index. These can be a real time saver. if you ever get confused, you can use the "?" key to show you the shortcut key help. External content determines whether or not Gmail will display images in your messages from trusted senders or prompt you each time. Since displaying messages can be a security issue, Gmail doesn't simply display all images. If you've already sent messages to a person twice, they are considered a trusted sender and Gmail will display images from that person. Browser Connection: Security is important with Gmail. As a result, Gmail offers a secure connection using the HTTPS protocol. This is the default connection between your browser and the Gmail server. When you use HTTPS, the traffic on the Internet is encrypted. I recommend you keep this setting turned on unless you have a strong reason to leave your information unsecured. My Picture lets you upload an image that people see when you email or chat. Click the Select a picture link to get started uploading an image. Contacts' pictures determines whether you are going to use the images that your contacts provided for themselves or only ones y[...]
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 01:41:34 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. This is the first epside in a series to help you get started with Gmail. In this episode I walk you through the steps necessary to create a Gmail account. This specific show is intended for people who are absolutely new to Gmail. If you already have an account, you can likely skip on to the next show where I’ll go in to more details of configuring and customizing your account. Perhaps you’ve heard of Gmail and are curious to try it out or maybe you’re fed up with your limited storage and spam collecting on another mail service and decided that it’s time to take the plunge in to the world of Gmail. I’ll guide you step by step from the first URL to that beautiful list of messages. Begin by pointing your web browser to https://mail.google.com Next, click on Create an Account (see the image on the left) A form appears. Let’s go through the fields together. (see Figure 1) Provide your First Name, Last Name, and desired login name. The desired login name is what you wish to login with, not necessarily what you WILL login with. You need to see if someone else already has that Gmail login. Click Check Availability button to see if the name is available If it is not available, choose another name Try adding your middle initial, or a significant number at the end If there are no conflicts, a message will appear letting you know the login is available. Next, choose a password Use a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols for best security Use the Password strength indicator to know if you have a strong password or not Re-enter your password to ensure you entered it properly Leave Stay Signed In and Enable Web History checked for now Web History is a feature that will provide you with a more personalized experience on Google that includes more relevant search results and recommendations. By creating a Google Account, you will enable Web History unless you turn this off. Learn More If you want Google to be your browser’s default home page, check the option labeled Default Home Page. Since I already have a default homepage, I unchecked this one. If you loose or forget your password, Gmail can ask you a security question and you reply with the proper answer. Select a security question from the list or choose Write my own question and fill in a question. Then, Provide an answer for the security question in the space provided. Provide a recovery email address where the question can be sent if you get in to a situation where you need to recover your password. Indicate your location so Gmail can set your default language and other settings A little further down the form, a graphic with wavy letters is displayed. Enter the letters in the word verification graphic. This is done to ensure that a real person, and not another computer, is filling out the form Read the terms of service And finally, If you agree to the terms of service, click I accept, create my account If everything worked, you see a Congratulations screen (see Figure 2). Click the Show me my Account button. You will also recei[...]
Sat, 16 Jan 2010 13:52:12 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist. Try it free for 30 days Welcome to part 3 of our 3 part series on texting from Gmail and Google applications. If you haven’t listened to parts 1 or 2, you can download them from iTunes or listen directly from the Gmail Podcast blog at chuckchat.com. That information is not required for this podcast, but it makes for a more complete picture of what you can do with Google applications and text messaging. In parts 1 and 2 I showed you how to send free SMS messages from Gmail and Google Voice. In this part of the series, I cover how to send SMS messages to Google Calendar to quickly create appointments. Let’s say I want to meet a friend for lunch tomorrow. I simply send a text message to GVENT (48368) with a message “Lunch with Bill at The Point tomorrow noon”. The text message gets sent to Google and put in your calendar. When the appointment is put on your calendar, you receive a text message confirming your appointment. There are several ways to construct your message. If you remember “who”, “what”, “when”, and “where” you should have no problems. Only “what” and “when” are required. The message format follows the same rules as the Quick Add feature in Google Calendar. The “what” is any text. The event title is created from this. “When” is the date and time of your appointment. Leaving the time off makes the appointment an all day event. Using the words “at” or “on” can help Google recognize the when. By default, Google calendar creates one hour appointments. You can optionally specify start and end times or a duration. You can add people to the guest list if you include “with” and one or more email addresses. Where is also any text following an “at” or “in”. Other examples are: Disc golf with Jerry at 6PM Take Cat to Vet Monday 3:00PM National conference 3/15 – 3/20 in Orlando Weekly one-on-one with Jason 10 – 10:30 every Wednesday at Jason’s Office I use this feature all the time and absolutely love it when my wife tells me something. I can quickly text to Google Calendar and know it will appear our shared family calendar. Here is some helpful reference information from Google how to create SMS text messages that get turned in to appointments.
Sat, 09 Jan 2010 13:41:57 +0000This show is sponsored by Citrix GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days Welcome to part 2 of our 3 part series on texting from Gmail and Google applications. If you haven’t listened to part 1, you can download it from iTunes or listen directly from the Gmail Podcast blog at chuckchat.com. In part 1 I showed you how to send free text messages from Gmail chat. Another way is to use Google Voice. Google Voice has several features that make it attractive, including: • Publish a single phone number and have it ring your home, work, and mobile phone or any combination based on the caller. • Free voice mail with personalized greetings • Voice mail automatically converted to text and emailed to you with both the audio file and translated text attached • Listen to, or read, your voice mail on your computer or mobile phone • Free text messaging Begin by signing in to Google Voice using your Gmail account at voice.google.com. At the top, just under the logo, click the SMS button. Begin typing the name of the contact or their phone number. Make sure you have mobile phone numbers associated with the contacts you intend to send text messages. Unlike the Gmail Chat feature, it will not prompt you for the contact if you enter only the number. Similarly, if you enter a name that has no mobile phone number associated in your contacts list, you cannot send a message. After you have entered a phone number or contact, type your message and press send. It’s that simple. Managing your Google Voice conversations from the web interface is very similar to Gmail. Responses will show up in your Inbox or you can look at just SMS messages and filter out voice mail by clicking the SMS link on the left. You can reply by typing in the text area just under the conversation and click Send. Currently, Google Voice is free and open by invitation only. Contact me if you are interested in trying it out.
Sat, 02 Jan 2010 14:06:58 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. Google offers a number of ways to send and receive text messages for free without using a mobile phone. This is part 1 of a 3 part series on using text messages, or SMS, with Gmail and other Google applications. Let’s begin with Gmail. Texting from Gmail chat is fairly easy. To do this you will need to enable the Labs feature “Text (SMS) in Chat”. You can find this in the Labs tab in the Settings page. Once the labs feature is setup, begin by opening the chat window and signing in to chat. Type the name or phone number of the person you want to send a text message to in the “Search, add, or invite” box. If this person is not already in your contacts list, don’t worry. As you type, a window appears under your text with options “Mail, Invite to Chat, and SMS”. If you entered a phone number, only the SMS option will be displayed. Finish entering the text then choose the SMS option and a window appears. In the window, finish filling out the contact information. If you entered a name, provide the phone number, if you entered a phone number then provide a name and click Save. This information will be added to your contacts list for easier reference later. When Gmail gets done saving the contact information, a window appears at the bottom of the screen – much like a chat window. Type you text message and send it with the Enter key. If the other person responds, you will receive a response in the same window. Gmail makes it as easy to send text messages as it is to chat – and best of all it’s free. Another way to send text messages from Gmail is to use the SMS in Chat gadget. This is also a labs feature that works very similar to the Text (SMS) in Chat feature. I don’t recommend using this labs feature. First, it requires the Text (SMS) in Chat feature to be turned on – so why not use that instead? Second, at the time this article was written, the labs feature seems to have a bug in that it prompts you for contact information each time instead of reusing previous entries from the contact database. This creates duplicate entries in the contact database each time you use it. Keep in mind that although the text messaging using Google may be free to you, it may not be free to the person receiving or sending replies. Currently, text messages from chat only work with US phones. Listener John writes in and asks “Is there a way to set a primary email for a contact that has multiple addresses?” While I cannot find a definitive rule or setting to make any particular email address the primary one, my own experience has shown me that mutliple email addresses seem to be ordered by the frequency they are used. The more you use a specific address for a particular person, the more likely that address will appear at the top of the list. If you’ve got information to the contrary, let me know on the blog or drop me an email.
Fri, 25 Dec 2009 17:18:06 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist. Try it free for 30 days. If you belong to one or more mail lists that have lots of traffic, I recommend the labs feature “Mark Unread From Here”. This handy labs feature allows you to mark messages from a certain point in the conversation as unread. Here’s how a typical conversation goes with me. I receive one or more messages, open the conversation, read them, and then archive the information. Later, I find the conversation has re-appeared in my message index with several new messages. If I open the conversation again, it marks all of the new entries as read, however I might not have time to read all of them. I may only read two or three – because I typically get distracted with embedded links to read, watch, or listen to something. If I go back to the index, Gmail is going to mark all the messages in that conversation as read, when in fact, I may not have read them all. If I mark the conversation as unread, it marks all messages unread. That’s where the labs feature “Mark Unread From Here” comes in handy. Enable this feature in the standard way by going to the Labs tab under Settings. Mark Unread From Here is near the bottom. Click the enable radio button and then choose Save Changes at the bottom of the screen. Now when you open a conversation with many unread messages, use the Reply (or Reply To All) button in the upper right corner of any particular message and choose “Mark Unread From Here”. The remaining messages are marked unread, while the previous ones are marked as read. Alternatively, you can use the Expand All link, just above the sponsored links on the right, to show all the messages that may have already been read and collapsed. Using the Mark Unread from Here feature acts like a bookmark for a specific conversation, allowing you to come back later and finish reading the conversation right where you left off. One final note, Google engineers are reporting that Gmail mobile now loads 2-3X faster than it did just a few months ago. For iPhone and Android users, the app is up and running in less than 3 seconds.
Sun, 20 Dec 2009 16:58:49 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days. Gmail has added a feature to the contacts screen to allow you quickly find all duplicate contacts in your contacts database. Until I hit this button, I thought I was pretty good about managing my contact, but I found that out of more than 1600 contacts, I had 163 with more than one entry. You’ll find the new magic button by clicking on the Contacts link on the left, then in the main window labeled “My Contacts”, there are two buttons labeled “View Suggestions” and “Find duplicates”. After you click the Find Duplicates button, a list of all contacts with more than one email address is presented. Review the list and uncheck any contacts you want to leave alone. Click the “details” link next to each contact to see which addresses Gmail has found for this person, or use the “expand” link at the top of the list to show the details for all duplicate records. Use the collapse link to shrink them back down to a list of names. After you have reviewed the list, click the Merge button to combine the multiple email addresses in to one contact. Verify the operation worked as expected by looking up your contacts and noting that there are now multiple email addresses for that person. Choosing a name when you compose a message is the same as if the contact was not merged. Start typing the name and all available email addresses are displayed. If you’ve been considering using Gmail as your central contacts database, this feature makes it easy to keep everything together and then sync it with your phone or other portable device. To find out more about syncing your contacts, search for the term sync on the Gmail blog at chuckchat.com. Here’s today’s quick tip – Use the question mark key (?) to see all the shortcut keys Gmail has to offer.
Sun, 06 Dec 2009 23:38:11 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it FREE for 30 days at http://gotoassist.com/techpodcast Want to put a little flair in your email? Want to get away from the standard font that everyone else is using in their Gmail messages? Try the labs feature called Default Text Styling. Like other labs features, you can turn it on by: Clicking the Settings link in the upper right corner Click the Labs tab. Scroll down the list until you find Default Text Styling and click “Enable” next to it At the bottom of the screen, click “Save Changes" Now you can define your default text style under the General tab in the setting screen. It may take a few minutes for the feature to show up if you are using offline mail. If you want to remove the formatting and go back to the default style, use the rightmost icon that looks like a capital T with a red x. When you compose new a new message, your default text style will be set to the color, font, and size you setup in the General Settings. Your signature will not use the default style if you have one setup. Here's today's quick tip. Send a free holiday greeting card through the U.S. Postal Service and let Google pay for it. You can choose from six different styles and send one card with a personalized message to anyone with a U.S. Postal Address for free. Find out more at http://services.google.com/fb/forms/googleholidaycard. A couple quick updates before I go. First, the Gmail website has been redesigned. We’ve cleaned things up and modernized. There are still a few tweaks to make, but I think you’ll find the interface quite familiar. Second, if you’re a WordPress user or are thinking about starting your own blog, watch for the book “Sams Teach Yourself WordPress in 10 Minutes” written by me and my Technorama co-host Kreg Steppe. The book won’t be out until March 2010, but you can pre-order now at Amazon.com.
Fri, 27 Nov 2009 17:27:25 +0000Sponsored by GotoAssist. Try it free for 30 days Beginning November 22, 2009, Gmail has added the ability to add attachments to email while in offline mode. This was not previously possible and frustrated many people who use offline Gmail. Now email attachments will behave just as you would expect whether you are online or offline, with the exception that you cannot do inline images when you are in offline mode. When Gmail sends your mail, it goes through the outbox whether you are offline or online. This allows Gmail to capture all the attachments. If you are online, your message is sent immediately. If you are offline, it sits in the outbox until you are reconnected. Oddly, I would have expected this behavior already since I am so used to it in Outlook. To get started with offline access: 1. Go to Settings and click on the Labs Tab. 2. Select Enable next to the Offline Gmail option 3. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page 4. Your browser will then restart and you should see an offline link represented as an icon of a white checkmark in a green circle, next to your name in the upper right corner of Gmail. Click the offline icon to start the setup process. Listen to the Gmail Podcast from March 1st and November 8th 2009 for additional information on setting up Offline Gmail and selecting specific messages to synchronize.. Here’s today’s quick tip. If you have friends with Android phones, enable the labs feature Green Robot to identify in your chat listing which people are online, but perhaps not always available because their Android phone has them automatically logged in. Android users will show up as a green robot indicating they are ready, but not ready-ready.
Mon, 16 Nov 2009 02:10:26 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days! This week, Google announced they have slashed the pricing on additional storage. If you’ve been using Gmail for a long time, you probably remember when it was introduced with 1GB of storage. Compared to the 10MB my ISP was giving me at the time, 1GB was a comfortable upgrade – and it was free. Later, Gmail increased the storage to 2GB where it stayed for quite some time. A couple years back I ran out of space so I archived everything to my local PC and wiped it off Gmail to start over. If I had only waited a few more months I would still have all my original email online. Today Gmail offers in excess of 7GB of free storage, yet some people still manage to fill up their mailbox. This week Gmail lowered their pricing on additional storage. You can purchase an additional 20GB for only $5 (US) per year. Additional increments are also available at similar pricing. What’s nice is that the storage is shared between Gmail andPicasa, their online photo manager, as well. Picasa defaults to 1GB of storage so the extra space for your photos makes a nice upgrade at a reasonable price.
Sun, 08 Nov 2009 23:59:25 +0000Try gotoassist express free for 30 days by going to gotoassist.com/techpodcast Back in January 2009, Gmail came out with a labs feature to let you access your Gmail without an Internet connection. The mail was synchronized when you were connected and then you could access it when you were offline. For frequent travelers, this is a terrific feature. You can learn more about it by listenging to the Gmail Podcast episode simply titled Offline from March 1, 2009. The downside of the standard offline mode is that it took a very long time to download the messages or in some cases, all the messages you wanted were not there due to the way the software chooses which messages to download. You might find yourself with plenty of messages from a year ago that have little value, but not all your inbox was synced. Gmail Offline now lets you choose which items to download and how far back to get them. This not only saves download time, but also ensures you have relevant information at your fingertips. For example, my Gmail archive is currently around 30,000 messages. It would take a couple hours to download all those messages, and according to the heuristics, I might not get all of the the ones I want. To setup selected offline messages, you’ll need to enable the “Offline” labs feature from the Labs tab on the Settings screen. Once that is done, you can use the “Offline” tab from the Settings screen. The “Download Options” section of that screen is where you configure how far back you want to sync your conversations and from which labels. The old method would have defaulted to all conversations from all labels. I setup mine to only go back a month and then fine tune it to first, ignore most labels, then chose some like Inbox that I want all conversations, and finally chose a few fairly active labels where I only need the past month. Once I saved those options, I was able to sync my data in a few minutes and take it on the road. This feature really makes Gmail Offline a lot more convenient, but you will need to remember to check the settings from time to time to ensure you add labels as they are needed and remove those that are not. Here’s today’s quick tip – Be sure to change your Gmail password at least a couple times a year. There are people on the Internet who make a career out of trying to steal passwords. Some guidelines to follow when choosing a new Gmail password: Make it unique. Don’t make it the same as your other Internet accounts. If someone compromises your Gmail account, they could have access to lots of other information on the Internet. If you have lots of different passwords to remember, I recommend a password vault program like KeePass available from keepass.info. I use because I have over 100 different passwords to remember at home and work. Use a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. One common trick [...]
Sat, 24 Oct 2009 16:24:20 +0000Try GotoAssist Express Free for 30 days at http://gotoassist.com/techpodcast Using webmail makes sense. It’s easy to access from any computer, and you don’t need to worry about installing and maintaing software, but the drawback is you have to keep a browser window open to know when you have email. The solution to this is to have a small application installed on your machine that monitors your Gmail account and pops up an alert when you get a message. For notifiers, I found a few options. Gmail Notifier for Windows from Google, Google Notifier for Mac (same thing for Mac with a slightly different name, also available straight from Google), Gmail Notifier from http://gmailnotifier.com, and Notify for the Mac from Vibealicious (http://vibealicious.com/apps/notify/). I know, the names are all very similar. Let’s start with the one that Google provides at http://toolbar.google.com/gmail-helper/notifier_mac.html called the Gmail Notifier. It’s pretty basic. It supports Windows and Mac, sits in your system tray or menu bar, monitors your Gmail account and pops up when you get a message. Pretty simple to download, install, and be up and running to monitor your Gmail account. Let’s say you have more than one Gmail account and you chose not to use the multiple account feature on the server to send and receive all your mail in one place. That’s where you might want to use Notify from Vibealicious. It allows you to monitor multiple Gmail accounts at once. It’s only available for Mac, but looks beautiful. It sits in the menu bar with a little icon and number of unread messages next to it. When you click on it, you get a full interface. Like the other tools, Notify is free. Finally, there is Gmail Notifier from http://gmailnotifier.com. Like Google’s product, it supports both Windows and Mac. Similar to Vibealicious, it also supports multiple accounts. It runs in the system tray (or Mac menu bar) like Google’s tool, and when you click on it, you can pop up an index of all your accounts and how many unread messages are in each. It has simple controls to let you manage the message index and select messages for deletion, mark them as read, etc. It even supports Google Calendar alerts. I was caught off guard by the default alert which announced in a female voice “Incoming messages” with my laptop volume a little high. And of course, it’s free. Of the three, Gmail Notifier from gmailnotifier.com is my pick for feature robustness and platform compatibility.
Sat, 17 Oct 2009 17:08:08 +0000Welcome the Gmail Podcast, a collection short hints, tips, and tricks to help you get more from your Gmail account. I’m your host, Chuck Tomasi. Try GotoAssist Express Free for 30 days at gotoassist.com/techpodcast Let’s say you’re a typical Gmail user and your colleagues send you links to a Google document, either a spreadsheet, presentation, or regular text document. Typically, you would click the link to open the document in Google Docs. That’s a little cumbersome when all you need is a quick peek to get a few facts or figures. That’s where the labs feature called “Docs Previews” comes in handy. Like any labs feature, you can find it under setttings, on the labs tab. Enable it and save your settings. Now when you get a link to a Google doc, an option will appear on the bottom of the message to preview the document, almost as if it were an attachment. Sorry, it doesn’t allow you to preview actual Microsoft document attachments like Excel or Word. Another handy labs feature that can save you from some potential embarrassment is called “Got the wrong Bob?” This feature looks at the patterns of recipient groups you have sent to and tries to prevent you from including the wrong one. For example, I normally send email to Kreg S, Victor C, and Steve H, about a surprise party we’re planning for Steve R. Well, it’s Saturday morning and I’m feeling a little tired from a long Karate workout the night before. I start typing and the automatic insert changed the order of my lookups for some reason so my quick typing gets me Kreg S, Victor C, and Steve R! It would be a bit of a problem if the mail went to Steve R instead of Steve H – obviously, it would ruin the surprise. Fortunately, I’ve got “Got the wrong Bob?” feature turnd on and it shows a red message just under the recipient box that says “Did you mean Steve H instead of Steve R?” Again, like all other labs features, you can find “Got the wrong Bob?” under the labs tab of the settings screen. As a side note, be aware that the labs feature formerly known as “Suggest More Recipients” has been changed to “Don’t forget Bob”. That’s all for this time… Comments, suggestions, or questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or check the website for full information and archives of all previous Gmail tips at chuckchat.com/gmail. I have no affiliation with Google other than as a satisfied Gmail user. Thank you for listening, and don’t forget to write.
Sat, 03 Oct 2009 16:18:36 +0000Try GotoAssist Express free for 30 days, by going to gotoassist.com/techpodcast Google Sync can help keep your iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Symbian smartphone stay synchronized with calendar, contacts, and email on your Google account wirelessly. This is more commonly known as “push technology” because you don’t have to manually request your calendar, contacts, or email be updated. Most people find push technology more convenient. The advantage is that you get your updates sent automatically to the native apps on your mobile device and those are synced with your Google account information. The downside is that you cannot take advantage of many of the features of the web application such as labels, stars, and archiving in Gmail, for example. Setting up Google Sync was pretty basic. I was able to follow the instructions online and get my iPod Touch setup to sync my email and calendar items in a matter of minutes. The key is to setup the account as a Microsoft Exchange account. Google Sync uses the Microsoft ActiveSync technology to do the heavy lifting. Generally, I still use the web interface or the Gmail applet on my iPod Touch so I can use the cool extras to manage my email. The place where Google Sync has made a big difference for me is the calendar. It sure is handy to have my Google calendar items, which are generally personal, right next to my work items all in the palm of my hand. Now when someone asks me “Are you available next Tuesday?” I have everything I need in one place. It should be noted that the iPhone and iPod Touch require OS v3.0 or higher. You can find step-by-step instructions for your mobile device at m.google.com/sync. Here's today's quick tip. You might want to check out the labs feature “Hide Read Labels” if you want to have a little less clutter on the left side of you screen in the labels tab. If you turn on this labs feature, it will only show you the labels that have unread messages in them, in essence, hiding all the labels where the messages are all read. This is particularly useful if you are one of those people who use labels as a to-do list. For example, saving unread messages in a label called “Weekend” will have this folder displayed until you’ve read all the messages, in effect, checking them off your to-do list, then the list goes to hidden. Just another handy way to keep the relevant information at your fingertips while keeping the interface clean.
Sat, 19 Sep 2009 13:24:12 +0000Welcome the Gmail Podcast, a collection short hints, tips, and tricks to help you get more from your Gmail account. I’m your host, Chuck Tomasi. Try GotoAssist free for 30 days at gotoassist.com/podcast This past week I came across a really neat application called “Gmail Backup”. The name says it all. All you do is download and install the tool, provide your Gmail credentials, point it at a folder on your system, and click the Backup button. It takes care of the rest. And best of all, it’s free. There’s a Windows command line and GUI vesion, a command line and GUI Linux version, and a Mac command line version only. I have heard rumors that a GUI version for the Mac is in the works so stay tuned to the Gmail Podcast for more information. Running from the command line actually makes sense if you want to schedule regular backups from a script. See the documentation on their website at www.gmail-backup.com. Regardless of your platform, you will need Gmail IMAP enabled. You’ll find this in the settings under the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab. For Linux users, you will need the wxPython (http://wxpython.org) packages installed. It also requires the ctypes module; which should be included in the Python 2.5 distribution. For earlier versions of Python you can find the package in the repositories of your distribution. I downloaded and installed the Windows XP version and was up and running fairly quickly. I created a new folder under “My Documents” called “My Gmail Backup”. Feel free to put the folder where you like or create multiple fodlers if you plan on backing up multiple accounts. You can even do this after you start the application. Currently my mailbox is using approximately 1.6GB of storage on Gmail and it took a little over an hour to backup the first 600MB before I stopped. I had to relocate which would have interrupted my Internet connection. When I started it back up again, Gmail Backup recognized how much work it had done, took a few minutes to scan past the 9700 messages already backed up and resumed where it left off. Other parameters availble in the application allow you to set a “Before date” to backup all messages before a given date, and all message since a given date. On first invokation, both dates are the same so it backs up all messages. As it retrieves the messages, they are stored in individual “eml” files in your backup directory. The ELM files can be opened by Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, IncrediMail, Thunderbird, and for Mac users, Entourage, and of course Apple’s Mail program. EML files are nice because not only do they preserve the times, sender, and other standard information, they also contain any file attachments that were on the files on Gmail. And yes, Gmail Backup also[...]
Sun, 13 Sep 2009 01:06:47 +0000Try gotoassist free for 30 days by going to gotoassist.com/podcast OK Google users, listen up. If you’re like me and use Gmail, Google Reader, Calendar, and many more apps, you likely find yourself wishing there was one single place to see and manage all that information rather than jumping between many different interfaces and applications. Even though Google hasn’t come up with a unified interface, there’s a Firefox add-on that can do it for you called Integrated Gmail. It allows you to pull together your Google applications plus third party sites in the Gmail interface. Listener John writes in that he’s got a netbook and is looking for something to offer him more screen real estate to see his conversation index and messages. I didn’t realize it at first, but Integrated Gmail add-on also offers screen controls to expand the screen usage on the top and left of the screen. Just look for the little green arrows. Whether you are a netbook user or just looking for a page to view all your Google apps, Integrated Gmail is a good choice. Here's today's Quick Tip - Hey Google Voice users, Gmail now has a labs feature that allows you play your voice mail messages right in Gmail. Google Voice is a service that allows people to call one number and ring each of your multiple phones. If you are already a Google Voice user, you are used to getting your voice mail notifications as email. After someone leaves a voice message, you get an email with a transcript of the message (with varying degrees of accuracy) and a link to play the message. Previously, if you used the link it would take you to a different page to play it. By using the labs feature, you can play the message right from within Gmail. To use it, go to Settings, then click on the Labs tab, look for Google Voice player, select enable, and save you changes. Now when you get a message, the player will appear right below the message in Gmail.
Sat, 29 Aug 2009 12:22:01 +0000Try GotoAssist free for 30 days Have you found yourself trying to send a message to someone and you cannot remember their last name? John? John? What was John’s last name? OK, John’s not your closest friend and you don’t send him email all the time. In fact, you don’t even know if you added him to your Gmail contacts, you may have only sent a message to his email address and never used his full name. You start typing j-o-h-n in the To: field and auto-complete comes up with the people who have John in their name and you don’t find the person you are looking for. Was he even in the hundreds of contacts you have listed? Now I have to admit, there are times when I would love to just browse my contacts list, or type a few characters, or even just poke around the contact groups I setup to get a better idea where John might be hiding. The latest update to Gmail answers this question. Google has placed a link on the “To”, “Cc”, and “Bcc” labels that bring up a contact chooser (see the image.) This works similar to the buttons next to the fields in Microsoft Outlook, only better. If you type in text in the area marked “Search my contacts”, Gmail will start filtering out your people. In my case, I typed “tomasi” and got several of my family members. Now I can just click and choose them. I can also narrow down the search to my groups by using the drop down list just below. This is a nice addition to the auto-complete feature if you’re really not sure how to spell someone’s name or want to quickly select all the Tomasis at once. Here’s today’s quick tip. Listener John wrote in about the Goto Label feature. He says: “One of my computers is a netbook, so the space saving tips catch my ear. The "G" "L" combination to go to a label sounded like a great feature, but there is no drop down reminder. So I have to remember the name of the label. My solution - kind of clunky - was to rename my labels so they all start with “L-“ Now when I enter "G" "L" and then "L", I see a list of my labels.” Thanks for the tip John. I generally use a dozen or so labels frequently; then there are some obscure ones that may go unused for months and I don’t recall their names or functions. Your suggestion seems to address that nicely. If you’ve got an tip about Gmail, send it along. I’d love to hear from you. That’s all for this time… Comments, suggestions, or questions can be sent to email@example.com or check the website for full information and archives of all previous Gmail tips at chuckchat.com/gmail. I have no affiliation with Google other than as a satisfied Gmail user. Thanks to you for listening, and don’t forget to write.
Sun, 23 Aug 2009 19:12:32 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist.com. Try it free for 30 days. A few days ago my mobile phone at work was replaced with a Blackberry Curve. I've used many smartphones in the past, but this was my first Blackberry. I am still learning my way around the interface, applications, and their options, and I have to admit - I can see the attraction to this platform. It was only a couple days later that my Technorama co-host, Kreg Steppe, let me know that there is a new plugin available for the Blackberry that lets your standard Blackberry mail app work better with Gmail. Until recently you could send and receive email using the standard IMAP protocol, but that fell far short of the functionality that many Gmail users want including labels, stars, and more - causing them to download a separate app to manage their Gmail. Well, those days are over. With the Enhanced Gmail plugin for Blackberry, you can: Add and remove labels and stars from your messages, report spam, perform local and remote searches, archive mail messages, view related messages as a single conversation (also known as threads in other mail programs), and much more. The plugin requires Blackberry Device Software version 4.5 or greater and Google Mail Integration with the Blackberry service. Most of you probably already have this if you have a recent Blackberry. Begin by pointing your Blackberry web browser to blackberry.com/gmail. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. If you have an existing Blackberry mail setup to Gmail, you will need to remove it and recreate it. It should also be noted that mail synchronization is one way, from the Blackberry device to Gmail. Many changes that happen on the Gmail web interface are not reflected on the Blackberry. To find out more, visit the link to the Blackberry forums, found in the show notes on the Gmail Podcast website. http://supportforums.blackberry.com/rim/board/message?board.id=Hello&message.id=198#M198 Finally, if you use the Blackberry Storm, this functionality is built in to version 126.96.36.199 so you won't need to download this plugin. I don't yet know if the enhanced Gmail functionality will be a standard feature of other Blackberry phones in the future. Stay tuned to the Gmail Podcast or visit the website for updates. Here’s today’s quick tip. Gmail now has a feature to email your task list. From the Tasks window, choose the Actions menu, and select “Email Task List”. A new message is composed with all the items in that list shown as bullet items and completed items are crossed off. This is a good way to show project status, or let someone know how busy you are and why you haven’t gotten to something they asked you for. Of course, you’ll want to[...]
Sun, 16 Aug 2009 23:34:32 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist - try it free for 30 days. Have you ever wondered what to do with those messages that you get because you are on someone's mail list? You don't read them regularly (or at all), but you just don't see a quick link, or you are not ambitious enough to unsubscribe. Well the geniouses at Google have an answer for that now too. The feature is called auto-unsubscribe. The feature is quite simple to use. Just open the message like you normally would, and click the "Report Spam" button. If the message is recognized as a mailing list, Gmail will present a popup window with an option to unsubscribe or identify the message as actual spam. The main difference is that marking it as spam won't stop the sender from sending more messages in the future. If you click the option to unsubscribe, Gmail will send back an Unsubscribe request to the list. This request could take up to several days to process, but I found it to be pretty reliable. I read about this feature several weeks ago, but it took a while before it started working on my account. Here's today's quick tip… actually two tips regarding labels. The first is my recommendation to enable the labs feature called Goto Labels. Begin by enabling keyboard shortcuts in your general settings, then enable to labs feature Goto Labels. Now you can use the keyboard shortcut 'g' then 'l' (letter L) which brings up a quick popup window allowing you to type the label. Like addresses, quick typeahead is available. Using this, combined with the condensed screen options mentioned a few shows ago, this gives you rapid access to your labeled messages while maximizing your screen real estate. Which is very important if you have a smaller screen such as those found on netbook models of portable computers. The screen resolution of many netbooks is 1024x600 which can be a little constraining for people used to much higher resolutions on desktop or full size laptop machines. When you start applying and displaying one or more labels, you lose the effectiveness of the subject line. Fear not, there is a labs feature for this growing problem also. The feature is called "Hide Labels" and it allows you to turn off labels on the conversation index without affecting the functionality of the labels themselves, like the Goto Labels labs feature just mentioned. Now you can use your netbook and enjoy Gmail even more with the Hide Labels labs feature. Finally, it was discovered this week that Gmail has surpassed AOL mail and moved in to third place for online mail services with 37 million users, right behind Hotmail with 47 million, and Yahoo with a commanding lead 106 million unique visitors. That’s a[...]
Sat, 25 Jul 2009 23:50:41 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist.com. Try it free for 30 days. This past week I found myself trying to use a website that manages meeting invitations and keeps track of recipients. Unfortunately, I found out that the email sent from this site is blocked by many firewall and spam filters meaning my invitation did not reach all the people I had hoped. It was about that time that I discovered that Gmail has a way to create an event invitation. You can find it just above the text box for your message body when you compose a new email. Begin by composing a message as you normally would by entering names in the "To" field and enter a subject. Next, click on the link just below the subject labeled "Add event notification" - several additional boxes will appear allowing you to provide an event title, location, and starting and ending date and time. You can place more details, such as a meeting agenda, in the body of the message. When you're done, just click Send as you normally would. If you did not intend to use the event invitation, use the "remove" link just to the right of the event name. If your invitation is received by an Outlook user, for example, they see it like any other meeting invitation and click on the "Accept" or "Decline" button. If another Gmail user gets the invitation, they can click on one of the options "Yes", "No", or "Maybe" next to the question if they are going. As the meeting coordinator you can easily click on "Calendar" at the top of your Gmail screen, locate the event, and see how many people have responded and what their response was. This is important when you need to know whether to bring one or two plates of cookies. I found this much more straight forward to use than the website I had previously tried. There are some things to keep in mind when sending invites. First, if you send an email to 500 or more people, or you send a large number of undeliverable messages, you could find your Gmail account temporarily disabled. For those using a POP or IMAP mail client such as Outlook Express, Thunderbird, or Mac Mail, your sending limit is 100 recipients. If this happens, your account should be re-enabled within 24 hours. Also, if you need to communicate with a large number of people, you might want to consider a Google Group. Creation and setup of Google Groups is a bit beyond the scope of this podcast. I found that while Google Groups are great for shared discussions it can be tricky to use them to send meeting invites since the responses either go back to the entire group, or appear in the event's attendees list with the group name instead of the individual who replied. Unfortunately, I am [...]
Sun, 19 Jul 2009 00:15:02 +0000This show is sponsored by GotoAssist.com - Try it FREE for 30 days! Let’s face it, sooner or later we all forget a password. There are just so many of them to keep track of. Gmail has made this a little easier by allowing you to recover your password via text message. Begin by going to http://www.google.com/accounts. Under the personal settings, you should see a section labeled "Security". Click on the link that says "Change password recovery options". You'll need to provide your Google Account credentials one more time to verify your account. Once that is done, you can add email addresses to send a reset link, or set a mobile phone number to send a password reset code via text message. To this, click on the link under the section "SMS" labeled "Add a mobile phone number". Choose your country and enter the mobile number you wish to send the text message to and make sure to check the checkbox labeled "Use this phone number for password recovery via text message". Finally, click the "Save" button at the bottom. Now if you lose or forget your password, click on the link labeled "Can't access your account?" in the login box of any Google application. On the right, look for the article labeled "I forgot my password" and click it. This link is also available on the bottom of the page. You will then be taken to the password recovery page where you first need to provide your username. In my case, I entered chuck.tomasi and clicked Submit. You'll need to enter the text in the captcha page, one of those graphics with squiggly letters. I'll admit, sometimes these are a little hard to read and I often have to enter more than one. Once you've passed that test, you will be given several options to reset your password based on the account options you chose. If you set an alternate email address, you will receive an email to initiate the password reset process. If you setup the SMS option, you'll get a text message with a recovery code. Here's today's quick tip. Fight phishing with new labs feature. If you are unfamiliar with the term, Phishing, with a "ph" is a term used for nefarious email that tries to lure you to a website that impersonates another in order to get secure information from you. The most notable of these are eBay and PayPal. For example, some Internet villain will send you a message that looks like it is from PayPal and take you to a site that looks like PayPal, only to get your login and password and exploit your real account. This Labs feature in Gmail verifies that an email that says it's from eBay or PayPal actually is from one of those sources - making it more trustworthy. To use this,[...]
Sat, 11 Jul 2009 22:19:58 +0000This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist.com. Try it free for 30 days. As of July 7, 2009 Gmail is no longer a beta product. After five years, many jokes, and even questions regarding the nature of beta software, Google has dropped the beta tag not only from Gmail, but from the other Google Apps as well, including Calendar, Docs, and Talk. I’m not sure what the trigger was, or what, if anything has changed in the beta to non-beta release. Traditionally in a beta release of software, the publisher releases to a small community of people to test the application and provide feedback on bugs or enhancements. If you have been using Gmail before February 7, 2007 you’ll remember that the limited audience part was dealt with by invitations. You could only start using Gmail if an existing user invited you. However this was somewhat of a gray area because nobody ever seemed to run out of invitations, therefore you could invite people as much as you like. So what was the point? Once the invitations were dropped and the product was opened to the public, many thought the beta moniker would also be dropped. Not so. After the development of many of the other features and tweaks including labs, offline capabilities, mobile apps, and dozens of others, many thought the beta tag would be wiped away, but it persisted. Even the support channels seem to be the same as they were in the beta world. So we are left to wonder what caused Google to finally dump the beta tag. Was it constant harassment and joking from the public? I doubt it. Some say it was reluctance from the corporate world to move their enterprise to products that still carry the beta label. I’m not convinced of that argument either. According to the official Gmail Blog there is no real reason, only a lot of speak about WHAT they have done, not WHY they did it. And now that they’ve left the beta world, what benefit is it to us, the Gmail users? What’s more interesting is they created a labs feature called “Back to Beta”. If you to go Settings, then Labs, and enable this you’ll get the “beta” tag back on the Gmail graphic. The IT voice inside my head tells me to be cautious of turning this on. I suspect it will preclude you from recognizing new features that come out in the future because you chose to stay in the beta world with the “back to Beta” plugin. We were all scratching our heads why the product remained in beta for so long and without decent feedback from Google, we are confused even further on what the difference is. Had this been Microsoft, Apple, or some other major software company, an announc[...]
Fri, 03 Jul 2009 15:19:32 +0000This show is sponsored by GotoAssist.com - try it FREE for 30 days! Gmail has made some significant changes to the way you label and store conversations. They have now made labels work more like folders in more conventional mail applications by adding drag-and-drop actions. Once again, Google has impressed me with their web programming savvy. Before getting started on the drag and drop feature, you should be aware that your labels have moved and are displayed a bit differently. Labels are no longer in their own little side window, but are now parked right underneath the standard system folders Inbox, Trash, Spam, and so on. You may also notice that all your labels are not displayed as they once were. Only the most used labels are displayed by default. If you don’t like this, click on the little down arrow just below the first few and click “Settings at the top of the new window. You can also get to this location by going in to Gmail Settings and click “Labels”. In this redesigned Labels settings screen, you can show or hide any number of the standard folders or your labels quickly and easily. Go ahead and give it a try. You could save yourself a lot of screen real estate. If you don’t like it, just turn them back on. I should point out that if you used the “Right Side Folders” labs feature, that it no longer functions. It is the first of the Gmail Labs features to be retired. A pity, I kind of liked having labels and chat on the right of the screen. OK, now that you’ve got your labels and folders displayed the way you like, it’s time to try that drag and drop feature. You can drag any conversation on to a label or any label on to a conversation. To grab the conversation, click on the dotted area just to the left of the checkbox. Your mouse may change to the shape of a hand with all fingers extended, as opposed to the standard link cursor with just the index finger pointed out. Once you have the message, continue to hold the mouse button and drag the message to the desire label. This moves the message to that label and archives it, effectively treating it like an operation of moving a message into a folder. If you would rather just apply a label and leave the message in the inbox, place your cursor over the desired label and click, then drag the label to the specific message shown on the conversation index. It’s really that simple. Remember, if the label you are looking for is not in the list, try the down arrow to show them all. I have to admit, I’m very impressed with this new way of doings from a developer’s perspec[...]
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 00:39:12 +0000This episode is brought to you GotoMyPC.com. Try it free for 30 days! After three and a half years of doing the Gmail Podcast, the features of this web application are really starting to add up. Some are fairly simple and some are more complex. This past week, Google posted their collection of features to teach you to become a Gmail Ninja. I’ll post a link on the Gmail Podcast web page. The tips are organized in to categories according to rank. For example, a Gmail white belt gets a few messages a day and uses stars to indicate special conversations, uses labels to organize messages, perhaps spices up their environment by applying a theme, and archives instead of deleting. A green belt might use video chat, use tasks, create filters to further organize email, preview attachments without downloading them, avoid email gaffes with the Undo Send labs feature, use the Google Chat status to tell their friends what they are up to, and use the vacation responder to let people know when they are away. A Gmail black belt, uses more advanced features like keyboard shortcuts to navigate quickly through the interface, use more advanced search operators, use the plus sign to create personalized email addresses for later filtering, use Gmail offline, use canned responses, and “EOM” in the subject to avoid the warning message of having no text in the body of a message. And finally, the highest level of Gmail Ninja is the Gmail Master. A master does things like bring Google Docs and Calendar in to Gmail using the sidebar widgets, knows how to sign out of another computer remotely, personalizes their own web clips, always uses https to access their email securely, and hosts their own domain email using Gmail. Which level of Gmail Ninja are you? If you’ve been listening to the Gmail Podcast for a while, my guess is you are a black belt or master. If not, keep listening or go back in the archives to get specific instructions on these, and other, great tips. Tip: Here’s today’s quick tip. Use the Gmail Labs feature “Send and Archive” to add a button to the bottom of the message compose screen that lets you send your response, and archive the conversation in one step. You can add this feature from the Labs tab in the Settings screen – use this and you’ll be one step closer to being a black belt Gmail Ninja. Finally, I have one commentary on a recent feature added to Gmail. I love the features that Google has provided in the Gmail application, both desktop and mobile. This past week, they tweaked the mobile applica[...]
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 23:46:11 +0000This episode is brought to you by GotoMyPC.com - Get your free 30 day trial today! If you’re an iPhone or Android user, you’ll definitely want to look at the recent changes to the mobile web Gmail interface for those devices. Google has made some major improvements to the UI. First, Gmail mobile now supports labels for your email conversations very much like the desktop version. Now you can add color coded tags to respective emails for managing your inbox while you’re on the go. You can find the Label feature in the new “floating menu bar”, as I call it, that also has buttons labeled “Archive”, “Delete”, and “More”. Click on “More” and select “Label As” just below “Mute”. Another new addition is address auto completion of recipients’ names. Now you can simply start typing a name and Gmail will start filling in the name for you. Finally, my favorite – keyboard shortcuts. Yes, now you can use keyboard shortcuts if you own an Android phone. Most of the same keyboard shortcuts map the same way they do on the desktop. From the official Gmail blog at Google, "if you're reading an e-mail you can press 'u' to return to the inbox or 'n' to move to the next conversation." Interestingly, these changes to the iPhone and Adroid platform came at the same time in April 2009 when they completely redesigned their mobile application. This is a change from previous enhancements which came out on the larger target audience of the iPhone first. This new Gmail interface is available for iPhone/iPod Touch with OS 2.2.1 versions and Android-powered devices in U.S. English language only. Look for more nice tweaks to the mobile version of Gmail in the future and keep listening to the Gmail Podcast to stay up to date on them.
Sun, 14 Jun 2009 23:35:07 +0000This show is brought to you by GotoMyPC.com - Try it free for 30 days! Gmail is rolling out a feature that will allow you to migrate your email and contacts from other email providers including Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and many others. For years, you’ve heard me – and probably dozens of other people – preaching the virtues of Gmail. To some of us, it practically IS a religion. We want people to convert and Google understood the downfalls of changing from one email service to another. It can be painful to switch all your contacts using some clumsy export and import using a CSV file. No only that, what do you do with all your legacy email? Now Gmail makes it much easier to make the transition. This feature is enabled for all new accounts and is being slowly deployed to all existing accounts. Unfortunately, businesses and schools using Google Apps won’t have this feature available to them any time soon.You’ll know you have it if you go in to Settings and you find a tab labeled “Accounts and Imports”, formerly just labeled “Accounts”. There you will find a section with a button labeled “Import Mail and Contacts”. Click that and you’ll see choices to import contacts and mail immediately, continue importing email for the next 30 days, allowing you to take Gmail for a test drive, and even apply a Gmail label to all imported mail to quickly identify it as information from your other account. If you don’t have the option, or prefer doing things the more traditional way, you can still use POP3 mail fetching or CSV export and import to retrieve your old information.
Sat, 06 Jun 2009 16:34:06 +0000This episode is brought to you by GotoMyPC.com - Try it free for 30 days! You’ve just worked a 40 hour day and your brain isn’t functioning at 100%. You’re tired and stressed that the project is behind schedule because of someone not ordering the right part. You write up a quick email and think you’ve got the attachment for the correct order, only to find you forgot the attachment right after you hit the send key. How about this one; you’ve spent hours setting up a surprise party for your co-worker. You’ve got everyone in the recipient list and click the Send key only to discover in your haste that you included the birthday boy in the list. Yes, a similar situation has happened to me. Don’t you wish you could undo that send? It is for situations like this that I highly recommend you try the Gmail Labs feature Undo Send. This feature can save you from embarassment, incomplete thoughts, or even a career ending email. Just turn on Undo Send like you do any other Labs feature under the Settings link and click the “Gmail Labs” feature. Locate “Undo Send”, click enable to the right, scroll to the bottom, and click “Save Changes”. Now when you send an email, you’ll have an Undo link appear allowing you to grab that message before it gets sent and take you back to the compose screen. Sadly, the feature cannot pull back an email once it has already been sent, it just holds your message for five seconds so you have a chance to hit the proverbial panic button. For some reason, if you close Gmail or your browser crashes, the message will still get sent. I have it turned on and used it several times. If I ever put together a top 10 list of Labs features to enable, this one is definitely on that list.
Sat, 30 May 2009 21:30:48 +0000This episode is brought to you by GotoMyPC.com. Try it free for 30 days! Let’s face it, few of us take full advantage of the full power of the Gmail search feature. We look for a keyword or email address and perhaps we add “has:attachment” if we know the message included a picture or something. If done properly, the search would look like “firstname.lastname@example.org filename:(jpg OR png)”. I’m sorry, that’s a little too geeky. Fortunately, Gmail Labs includes a feature that can speed up and simplify the search process. It’s called “Search Autocomplete”. Turn it on by going to Labs under Gmail settings. Now as you type in the search box, Gmail will provide suggestions as you type. The nice thing about this is Gmail also provides the “geeky” way of doing the search. Let’s take the example above. I start typing “Chuck Tomasi” and Gmail provides my address. Now I just type “photos” or “pictures”, select “has photos” from the drop down list and the search query automatically inserts (filename:(jpg OR png)). Similarly, you can type in the word “attachment” and Search Autocomplete will list the most common attachment types for you. Gmail includes the geeky query for you so you can tweak it as necessary. Say you want to include GIF image types to your photo search. Just manually change it to “filename:(jpg OR png OR gif)”. Personally, I think Search Autocomplete should be on by default because it really cleans up the search process. You’ll save so much time you can send me a note writing a quick review for this podcast on the iTunes Music Store.
Tue, 26 May 2009 10:57:06 +0000This episode of the Gmail Podcast is brought to you by GotoMyPC.com. Try it free for 30 days. OK, here’s a situation. You sit down to read your email from a friend who lives in England. The email has a few questions that really need to be responded to over a phone call. Unfortunately, you cannot remember what time it is in England and you don’t want to wake them up at an unreasonable hour. That’s where the Gmail Labs feature called “Sender Time Zone” comes in handy. To use the feature, click on the Gmail Settings link in the upper right corner of the screen, then locate and click on the Labs tab. Locate “Sender Time Zone” and click “Enable” next to it then scroll to the bottom and click “Save Changes”. Now Gmail takes a peek at the sender’s timezone in the message header and conveniently places a green phone icon next to the people if their local time is between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM and a red icon if the person is outside that time range. If there is no timezone in the message header, no icon is displayed. If you click on the “Show Details” link, Gmail will display the time zone information that it uses as well as the current time of the sender.
Sat, 16 May 2009 20:11:31 +0000One of the handiest labs features I have found is called “Suggest more recipients”. Like other labs features, you can enable this by going to the Settings link in the upper right, clicking on the labs tab, then locate the feature called “Suggest more recipients”, scroll to the bottom and click “Save Changes”. This podcast is sponsored by GotoMyPC. Try it free for 30 days! Once you have enabled the feature, begin by entering at least two names in the “to”, “cc”, or “bcc” boxes, Gmail will add a link labeled “Also include”. Gmail scans previous messages you have sent and received in groups and provides those email addresses as suggestions. Now when you find yourself communicating with the same three or four people over and over, Gmail will find those names for you and you can simply click on them to ensure you haven’t forgotten anyone. Tip: Gmail Podcast - Title Tweaks Begin by enabling the lab feature. This labs feature changes order of elements in the browser title bar from "Gmail - Inbox (20) - email@example.com" to "Inbox (20) - firstname.lastname@example.org - Gmail". This way you are able (most of the time) to see if a new mail has arrived even if Gmail window is minimized.
Sun, 10 May 2009 21:31:51 +0000It is no longer necessary to use workarounds to put images in your messages or attach them. There is now a labs feature that allows you to insert images as easily as your favorite word processor. This episode of Gmail Podcast is sponsored by GotoMyPC.com - get a free 30 day trial! Begin by going to Settings and click on the Labs tab. Search for the feature called “Inserting images” and click “enable” next to it then scroll to the bottom and save your settings. Now when you are composing a message, you should see a toolbar icon like this: You’ll want to make sure you are in Rich Formatting mode or the icon won’t show up. If you don’t see it, look for a link that says “Rich Formatting”. Once setup, just click on the little image icon and you can insert images in a couple different ways. First you can upload an image from your computer, or you can provide a web URL to a specific image. To protect you from spammers, Gmail does not display URL based images in messages by default. If you are missing images, you’ll need to click on the link near the top that says “Display images below” or “Always dislay images from…” to see images you embed.
Sun, 01 Mar 2009 23:30:38 +0000I have to admit I was excited to hear about the Gmail Labs feature simply called Offline. The offline feature allows you to use Gmail when you are offline or on a flakey internet connection. To get started with Gmail Offline, begin by going to Settings> Labs. You'll first need to enable the offline feature and save your settings.You should now see the "offline" icon as a little green circle, or the words "offline" in the upper right by the settings link. Click on this link and walk through the steps of installing Google Gears. Once the installation is complete you make need to restart your browser - the installer will tell you if you need to do so. The process will then begin to synchronize your online folder with a local copy that you can use when you are not online. You can hide the status window at any time by clicking the "X" in the upper right corner of the small window. To see it again, click the little green circle again. The sych process will take a while. In my case it took about 20 minutes. From the sync pop-up you can also take some additional actions including: "Sync Now" to resynchronize your offline folder immediately, pause the sync for the next hour, which is always handy if you are in a limited bandwidth situation Disable oflfine Gmail, which allows you a quick way to turn off the offline system and Offline settings - this goes directly to the Settings> Offline tab where you can: Enable/disable offline mode (yes, this is redundant) Set the date range - allowing you to set how far back you want to keep online data locally. By default this is about six months, depending on the number of messages and their size Specify the maximum attachment size - which allows you to limit the synchronization of large file attachments. By default this is unlimited. Create a desktop shortcut and a link to a troubleshooting page to help you out if you have any problems. I ran this on my Windows machine under Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7 and it worked fine in both situations. Using the offline feature allows you to use Gmail in your browser, read, compose, and even archive messages without an internet connection. When you get back online, the changes you made offline will be available online, and new messages on the server will be downloaded automatically without you doing anything special. [...]
Sat, 07 Feb 2009 17:40:56 +0000One of the most interesting new features in the Gmail Labs is called Multiple Inboxes. If you need more information on Gmail Labs, check the Gmail Podcast Archives for plenty of details on what it is and how you can enable dozens of useful features. Multiple inboxes gives you a very nice way to see items that would normally be cluttering up your inbox in separate window panes on the same screen. Combined with labels and filters, multiple inboxes makes for a very powerful organization tool. Begin by enabling the Multiple Inboxes feature under Settings> Labs. You'll notice your main conversation index now shows a sort of split-screen view of your normal conversation index as well as search results on the right. By default it comes up with search results for starred and draft items. To change this, go back in to Settings and you'll see a new tab labeled "Multiple inboxes". There you will see five lines, labeled "Pane 0-4" that you can put in the search conditions you want to display. You can also set a maximum number of conversations you want to display and if you want the panes displayed above, below, or to the right of the inbox. Now, back at your inbox, you'll see a whole new layout. Using filters, you can immediately label and move messages to their own window for better organization. At the top of each pane you can find a link on the right labeled "View All". When you click on that link the particular pane will take over and take up the whole index. Be careful not to get carried away with Multiple Inboxes. While they can be a powerful feature to keep you organized, I found the more I tried to configure them with filters, the less organized I became. I thought it would be helpful to take some of my more common messages and bypass the normal inbox by applying them to a label and making them appear in one of the other inboxes. For example, all my incoming notifications from Facebook would simply "appear" in a facebook pane. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a keyboard shortcut to move me to another pane (yet). Maybe something like g 0-4 would be helpful to allow me to select, label, archive, and delete conversations in those other inboxes. Try out the multiple inboxes and see what works for you. I have to say, I'm rather impressed with some of the other changes in Gmail r[...]
Sat, 20 Dec 2008 14:59:54 +0000It seems like Gmail is more and more becoming the online version of Microsoft Outlook. In mid-December they added Tasks to the list of features available in the Gmail labs. Tasks are a way to keep track of what you need to do and what you've already done. To begin working with Gmail tasks, click on the little green bottle in the upper right. This is really just a shortcut to Settings> Labs. Next, click on the button labeled "Enable" and scroll to the bottom of the screen and click "Save Changes". Once back at the main Gmail screen, take a look on the left. Just under Contacts, you will see a link labeled "Tasks". When you click it, an embedded window will pop up with your tasks. You can also get this window by using the keyboard shortcut "G" then "K" (short for Goto tasK). Be sure you have keyboard shortcuts turned on by going in to Settings> General and enable keyboard shortcuts. The first time you bring up the tasks window, the list will be empty. If you have some tasks on your mind, you can simply type them in and hit enter after each task to enter the next one. On the right side of each task you will see a little chevron symbol. Clicking that will bring up additional details about the task, allowing you to put in a due date, or add additional notes. For example, I've got a trip coming up and I need to get a few things done. One of the tasks I'll enter is to sign up for an ID card. I enter the task "Sign up for ID card", then click the chevron to set a date. In the notes section, I'll enter the web address where I need to go to enter the ID information. Once I have completed a task I simply click on the checkbox to mark it complete. There are lots of other options on the task list window. Like a chat window, you can minimize and maximize the window, and make the task list an independent browser window by clicking on the arrow icon in the upper right of the list. If you wanted it embedded again, click the link on the bottom of the new window labeled "Pop-in". On the bottom is a link called Actions. From here you can manage your tasks by moving them up down, or changing the indent level. Of course, I recommend using the keyboard shortcuts which are clearly labeled next to the action for fastest manipulation of your tasks. Indenting allows you to [...]
Sun, 14 Dec 2008 23:41:33 +0000Yes, you heard right. This episode is about the Google Calendar. I'm not running out of Gmail information, on the contrary, I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the cool new stuff coming out. Recently I found a new feature that ties Gmail with the Google Calendar. To begin, I'd like to give you a wonderful use of the Google Calendar that my co-worker Kevin in Raleigh North Carolina told me about. He said that he keeps all his appointments outside normal work hours in his Google Calendar. This way he can share it with his wife and maintain it from anywhere. I started thinking about our family calendar that hangs on the refrigerator at home. There are some drawbacks to this simple, and somewhat effective means of family communication. First, there isn't always room to write what you want so you have to make shorthand notations, which can be difficult for your spouse to decipher. Second, you cannot check the piece of paper at home if someone at work asks "Are you available next Tuesday evening?" This past weekend, I took the three sheets of paper from the refrigerator and entered them in to Google Calendar. I will spare you all the details of setting up and managing a calendar. However, I will let you know that I discovered quite a number of nice features such as notifications via email and SMS, as well as sending a daily agenda to my email box each day just before I wake up - saving me a step of reading my email and reviewing my calendar each morning before we get going. Next, I shared the calendar with my wife Donna and gave her access to modify it. Finally, to appease Donna, I printed out not only a monthly view, but a weekly view as well to better see conflicts. After all, what good is a new piece of technology if you don't have a process to drive it. I'll be out of town and she isn't quite comfortable with managing the calendar from the web yet. OK, you may be saying "Chuck, I've been doing that with our family calendar for years. What took you so long?" To that I respond "Thanks" and admit I'm not always on the leading edge of all technologies. OK, here's the tie in with Gmail. I discovered a Gmail labs feature called "Google Calendar gadget" which displays upcoming events in a window on the left side. There is a[...]
Sun, 16 Nov 2008 23:42:26 +0000It was only a matter of time before Google integrated video in to their GoogleTalk protocol and made it available directly from Gmail. Well, now you can talk face to face with your friends with voice and video without leaving Gmail. The first step is to ensure you have a camera and the proper drivers installed. If your camera is built in to your machine, you likely don't have anything to worry about at this point. If, like me, you use a USB camera and move it from machine to machine, you'll want to go to the manufacturer's site and download the latest drivers. Next, you will need to install a tiny bit of software from Google on your machine. Start by going to http://mail.google.com/videochat and clicking on the button labeled "Install voice and video chat". From the looks of it, this is for Windows XP and later users. Keep an eye on the site and keep listening to the Gmail Podcast for updates. The installer takes only a few seconds, however it does require that you restart your browser. Once restarted, you will be brought to your Gmail settings with the Chat configuration settings listed. In the listing, you will find a new section labeled "Voice and video chat". Make sure things are working right by clicking on the link "Verify your settings". If everything is working, you should see your camera image in the window. If not, try troubleshooting your settings with the link of the same name. As a friendly tip, mine was not working right at first. I simply checked to make sure the camera was selected, changed the microphone to the camera, and hit save settings. When I went back to the chat settings and verified, everything was working fine. Now when you sign in to Gmail chat, you will see a camera icon next to your name and be able to do a video chat with others. If you start a text chat, you can use the link "Video and more" to start a video session. It's simple and fun. Here's today's quick tip: If you find yourself answering the same questions or fending off the same vendors many times, then the Canned Auto Repsonses feature in the Gmail Labs may be for you. You can enable this by going in to the Gmail Labs under Settings or clicking on the little green bottle next to the Settings link in the up[...]
Sun, 19 Oct 2008 21:41:45 +0000There have been several additions to the Gmail Labs since I originally told you about it in June of 2008. If you haven't listened to that podcast, I recommend you go back and listen to it to better understand what Gmail Labs is and how to use these terrific extensions to the software. One of the new features is called "Mail Goggles". The idea behind it is that it gives you time to gather your senses before sending and email you might regret. By default, Mail Goggles is enabled late at night when you are most likely to send an angry email to your boss, or a message to your ex-girlfriend wishing you had gotten back together. To enable Mail Googles, click on the "Settings" link in the upper right, then the "Labs" tab. Scroll down until you see "Mail Goggles" and enable it. Mail Googles works by making you do a few simple math problems before you can send your mail. The idea is that if you aren't in the right mind to do some simple brain work, you aren't in the right mind to be sending that email to your ex-girlfriend. Another new feature in the labs is Advanced IMAP Controls. This is handy to use if you find your mail client getting bogged down by a large Gmail "All Mail" folder for example. Once enabled, just go to the "Labels" tab under "Settings" and you'll find a new checkbox next to your labels that reads "Show in IMAP". Uncheck the box and the corresponding folder will disappear from IMAP. There are also some more obscure options for those of you who want to make Gmail's IMAP work more like traditional IMAP providers: you can turn off auto-expunge or trash messages when they're no longer visible through IMAP. The IMAP protocol allows messages to be marked for deletion, a sort of limbo state where a message is still present in the folder but slated to be deleted the next time the folder is expunged. In Gmail's standard IMAP implementation, when you mark a message as deleted, Gmail doesn't let it linger in that state -- it deletes (or auto-expunges) it from the folder right away. If you want the two-stage delete process, after you've enabled the Advanced IMAP Controls, just select 'Do not automatically expunge messages' under the 'Forwarding and POP/IMAP' tab in Setti[...]
Sun, 21 Sep 2008 21:01:50 +0000One of the main reasons I, and many others, love Gmail is for its excellent spam filtering capabilities. Spam is a term used for those annoying advertisements typically regarding your health or finance. In some cases this content can be as high as 90% of your email traffic. Gmail does a pretty good job at automatically recognizing this type of content and moves from your inbox to a separate location labeled "Spam". However, nothing is foolproof and every once in a while a conversation ends up in the spam folder by mistake. Fortunately, there is a quick and easy way to retrieve the email and identify it as a valid message; at the same time have Gmail learn not to make the mistake again. By clicking the Spam link on the left you will be shown all the conversations that have been identified as questionable content. At the top of the conversation index, you'll see a couple buttons. The first is labeled "Delete forever". This moves any selected conversations to the Trash folder. After 30 days they are completely removed from the system. The second button is labeled "Not Spam". By selecting one or more conversations and then clicking "Not Spam", the content will be moved back to your Inbox and Gmail will learn not to make the same mistake. If you are Gmail search savvy, there's a catch to this. First, click on the Spam link on the left and take a look at the search box at the top of the screen. See how it says "in:spam"? As of this writing there is a minor bug in Gmail. If you type the search "in:spam" manually, you will be brought to a standard search results screen which does not have a "Not Spam" button. Ironically, you are now looking at all the mail that has been tagged as spam, but you still have the option to report it as spam with the "Report Spam" button. Hopefully Google will correct this oversight at some point. Here's today's quick tip: If you have used the Gmail contacts to create groups of people, you can type the group name and address multiple recipients with one single label. For example, if I want to send my entire family an email, and I have created a group called "Tomasi family", I can compose a new message and use the address "[...]
Wed, 16 Jul 2008 00:38:18 +0000It helps to step back and take a look at the Gmail interface once in a while - you never know what you'll see that you hadn't spotted before. This week I took a close look at the bottom center of the screen. While I was familiar with some of the items, I notice something new. I also realized that I hadn't discussed any of these items with you. So let's go through them together.Just below the blue bar that indicates the end of the conversation index or currently viewed conversation you should see several lines of text. The first is a helpful hint, such as common keyboard shortcuts, the fact that you can forward your mail to one Gmail account, or noting the availability of Gmail in multiple languages. These messages change every few minutes so don't forget to glance down there from time to time for a bit of new information. You can typically find out more on these items by clicking on the Help link in the upper right corner of the Gmail screen.The next line of information, in green, is the amount of space you have available and how much of that is being consumed. This is always handy to know - like looking at the fuel gauge on your car now and then. If I've learned anything from using Gmail over the past several years, this amount also changes - it goes up, so don't forget to take a look.I don't know when Google decided to add the next line of information, but I noticed it only recently - and I like it. It tells you when the latest activity was on your Gmail account. What's more, if you're running Gmail from multiple computers, it will tell you when and where it was accessed. This is a great security feature and kind of fascinating too. I was using Gmail at work and noticed it said there was one other connection to this account. I clicked on the Details link and it said it was my home IP address. This made sense because I often leave the web interface running at home. If I had seen something suspicious, I could have clicked a link and sign out all other sessions - leaving my current connection at work still working. Since there are multiple ways to access Gmail, there is a log of other connections from web, mobile, IMAP, [...]
Sun, 08 Jun 2008 13:47:15 +0000The people at Google have found a creative way to let you try various experimental features of Gmail and provide feedback. They call it Gmail Labs. You can access these new features by clicking on the Settings link in the upper right, and then clicking on the tab labeled "Labs". Some of these features are cosmetic such as date formats or removing the number of new messages from the various locations where messages are stored; others provide improved capabilities or time saving features like customizable keyboard shortcuts. Have a look in the Labs tab of the settings screen from time to time and see if there is anything of interest that might improve your Gmail experience. You can choose to enable or disable any of them by using the appropriate radio button choice to the right of each option. When you've chosen which features to turn on or off, click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the screen. According to the help page, there are a few things to keep in mind when you try these features out. First, they may break at any time. Remember, this is experimental software. Second, they may be removed from the feature set at any time. And third, they may work so well, that they may be promoted to regular features in Gmail. If you use any of the Labs features and suspect you are having problems, you can temporarily disable them by modifying your web address, or URL, to https://mail.google.com/mail/?labs=0. Feel free to provide feedback, report bugs, or suggest new features to Google by joining the Google group gmail-labs. Look under the "More" menu at the top of the screen for Groups, or follow the link in the show notes for this episode on the website. Here's a comment from listener Douglas E. Welch over at Technology IQ. It seems he had a stuck key on his keyboard and as a result, inadvertantly locked out his Gmail account "up to 24 hours" due to invalid access attempts. As Douglas stated in his blog posting, "It is a little distressing that a rather simple computer malfunction can result in a day-long lockout and the fact that there is no appeal process for such a lockout.". Hopefully Google wi[...]
Sun, 01 Jun 2008 02:24:56 +0000Before I dig in to this I would like to thank my long time friend, co-worker, and mentor, Scott Reynolds for passing on this wonderful tip for Gmail. Those of you with iPhones, Macs and Gmail will find this very helpful. This is based on a recent article at googlemac.blogspot.com showing how you can sync your Mac address book with your Google contacts. Before you start, we strongly recommend that you back up your Mac Address Book. You can do that in the File menu by choosing Export, Addressbook Archive. That way if anything goes wrong, you'll still have your original data. The key to syncing your Google contacts is in the Mac Address Book. Go to the Address Book menu, choose Preferences. Under the General heading, at the bottom of the screen check the box that says "Synchronize with Google". It will ask you for your Google login and password - use the credentials you normally use to get access to your Gmail. Now start up iSync under the Mac Applications menu. Click "Sync Devices". Depending on how many contacts you have, it may take a few minutes to synchronize all the changes. When it's done, click on the Card menu and select "Look for duplicates". You can resolve conflicts one at a time by choosing which card you want to take precedence, or you can merge the changes by highlighting one or more cards and click "Merge cards" or using the keyboard shortcut Cmd-Shift-| (that's a verticle pipe character). Click "Sync Devices" one more time and your contacts in your Mac Address Book and Google contacts are now in sync. To keep things in sync in the future, just use iSync periodically. It's a bit manual, but once setup, it's only a couple mouse clicks away. Here's today's quick tip: Fiona King over at collegedegrees.com has posted an article titled "57 tips of highly effective Gmail users". If you're a long time listener to the Gmail Podcast you'll recognize many of these and I encourage you to go over and take a look - there are some great nuggets of information like backing up your messages, cleaning out your contacts, or tricking out your labels. If you've got [...]
Sat, 12 Apr 2008 21:11:04 +0000Before I get started, I owe you an apology. I have been using this feature of Gmail so long I nearly forgot I was using it. It wasn't until a few days ago that I was reading my email via a web browser on my cell phone that I thought "I don't think I told the Gmail Podcast world about speed dialing on the phone." OK, I made that term "speed dialing" up for this feature, but I think it's a pretty accurate way to represent the ability to use numbers instead of scrolling down and pressing OK or ENTER on the link you want to use. Let me explain with an example of what I'm talking about... I've got a Samsung Blackjack SmartPhone running Windows Mobile 6, but this tip should work fine from any mobile device with a browser. From time to time I use Internet Explorer to read my Gmail when I'm on the go. When reading messages, especially long ones with lots of included text, it can be cumbersome to scroll ot the bottom of the screen to click on "Archive". Instead, think of those options with numbers 1-7 next to them. If you like, write them down until you've got a few key ones memorized. Like: 1: Reply 2: Reply to all 3: Forward 4: Archive 5: Mark unread 6: Add Star 7: Delete So... you're reading your message and want to archive it. Don't bother scrolling down past links in the messages, past lots of text, through the options at the bottom until your highlight lands on "Archive", just press "4". Done. Next message. You want to delete it, press 7. Keep in mind that the numbered options here do not correspond to those on the Java applet, except 7 - by coincidence only. Now, go out and read, archive, reply, and delete your email quickly from your phone's web browser.
Sun, 09 Mar 2008 03:13:44 +0000If you use Gmail half as much as I do, then I'll bet you have more than one Gmail Account. We've covered the Gmail Notifier on this podcast in the past as a way to monitor your Gmail, but that only monitors one accountat a time. GmailAssistant is a notifier for multiple Gmail accounts. It accesses your Gmail accounts securely using IMAP over SSL. You can choose from different notification options, such as unread mails in your inbox, all mails, or notification on messages with specific labels. Gmail Assistant also lets you choose from different alert methods like popup messages, a chime, and evening a keyboard LED blink. Gmail Assistant runs on any OS with the Java Runtime Environment 6 or greater. You can get the JRE at http://java.sun.com/j2se. It's free and open source, written in Java and released under GNU Public License version 2. ---- Just a couple things for you iPhone users of Gmail via the Mail app. Apple recently changed thew ay the "delete" key works. If you tap the delete key, messages will be moved to the Trash folder and removed after 30 days. Also, after upgrading to version 1.1.3, your Gmail access will convert from POP access to IMAP, meaning actions you take on your iPhone will sync with actions taken on the Gmail web interface - for example, messages you read on your iPhone will show up as read in the web interface. ---- Here's a handy little tip I picked up in the past few weeks, the GoogleTalk instant messenger supports a status labeled "invisible". It allows you to remain logged in to GTalk, but appear to others as if you are not online. This is often handy if you are having a private chat or voice conversation and don't want to be interrupted. I have used this when conducting voice interviews for one of my other podcasts, Technorama. ---- There has been some buzz around the net recently about the domain googlemail.com and it's comparison to gmail.com. For all intents and purposes, you can use your same address @gmail.com with the domain @googlemail.com as a second account with the[...]
Sun, 03 Feb 2008 12:45:33 +0000A while back I did an episode of the Gmail Podcast where I showed you how to switch your internet domain to be hosted by Google’s mail servers. This gives you the freedom of managing your own mail accounts, distribution lists, and other aspects of your mail environment, while providing all the benefits of Gmail like unmatched spam filtering, a large mailbox, and all the other wonderful features Gmail has to offer. Consider this show an update to the previous one. I noticed that the procedure has changed a bit since the last show and rather than have you frustrated at icons and links that weren’t where they were supposed to be, I figured it was time to provide you with some updated information in case you’ve been thinking of making the switch. A little warning, of all the things I’ve covered on the Gmail Podcast, this is probably one of the more complex. Not to worry, I’ll walk you through every step. Where specialized steps are needed, depending on your configuration, I will defer to Google’s excellent step-by-step documentation. Let me first start by explaining the basics. First, we’re going to setup a hosting account on Google for your mail. Next, we’ll tell the Internet that mail for your domain is no longer with your old hosting system, but rather, all your email should now be sent to Google’s servers where it can be transparently delivered and received by you, or anyone in your domain. Start by going to http://www.google.com/a Click "Get Started" Next, click on "Standard Edition" (Sign Up button) If you already have a domain, choose “I want to use an existing domain”, otherwise choose “Create a domain”. For this example, we’ll assume you already have a domain. Enter your domain name – then click "Use my domain" Fill in the fields for your name, a current valid email address, and other required information to sign up When you’ve completed the necessary fields, click "Continue" button On the next page, enter the email address on your domain[...]
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:42:08 +0000Google has been very busy lately adding some very nice features to their version 2.0 interface. As a reminder, the ver 2.0 interface requires IE 6 or later or FireFox 2.0 or later. if you haven't been following the blog on the Gmail Podcast website I'll bring you up to date on a few announcements from Gmail in the past few weeks. At first glance, the feature of colored labels doesn't seem like a big deal, but the most I use it, the more I like it. If you look at your labels on the left, you should see very light squares next to each of the labels. By clicking one of these squares you can set a color for that label. Now when you glance at your conversation index, the colors really stand out to help identify groupings of messages. As a side note, I also noticed while reading a conversation, the labels at the top of the message have a little "x" next to them. If you click on the "x" you remove that label from the conversation. If you click on the "x" next to the Inbox label, you archive the message. That's a lot quicker than pulling down the "More Actions" list and going to the bottom to remove a label. Another new feature that will make you GoogleTalk users happy is that Gmail now allows you to import your AOL IM buddies directly in to GTalk. And yes, the chat transcripts from AIM conversations are saved to your email archive like the native GTalk conversations. The final addition in the past few weeks is the use of a very useful keyboard shortcuts help screen. Besides the cool factor of transparency, being able to reference the help screen at any point. There is a lot of information on that screen so I suggest picking one or two keyboard shortcuts, get used to using them and then go get a couple more. One of my recent favorites is the "." key that triggers the "More Actions" drop list. Now I can label messages with just a few keystrokes. Something tells me we can look for plenty more new little features like this in the future. Google has proven that [...]
Sun, 02 Dec 2007 20:28:55 +0000Gspace is an add-on to the Firefox browser that allows you to use your 5+GB of Gmail storage as drive space. Start by downloading GSpace from http://addons.mozilla.org. If you enter GSpace in the search box at the top of the screen, you shouldn't have any trouble finding it. The download process is straightforward and requires Firefox to restart. Once that is done you'll notice that the Tools menu now has an option labeled "GSpace". When you select that option, Firefox will open a new tab that looks and works like a file transfer client. There is also a little icon on the Firefox status bar to bring up an embedded browser window to manage your files. The first time you use GSpace, you will want to click on "Manage Accounts". Enter your Gmail credentials and you're ready to go. Don't forget, if you host your own domain with Google you can use that account as additional, but separate space. You should find GSpace very easy to use. It operates much like any other graphical file transfer program with the files from your computer on the left and the remote files on Google on the right. Transferring data is done by highlighting files or folders then using the arrows to move items back and forth. Status windows at the bottom of the screen show which items are being transferred and which are done. You can create a folder hierarchy in GSpace just like any other filesystem on your computer or network. What's really happening behind the scenes is Gmail is mailing you a message with your files as attachements. If you check your inbox you will see that you have received a message from yourself. You can retrieve the files from any computer, even if it does not have the GSpace add-on installed, by using the web browser and downloading the file via the Gmail web interface. Once you delete the files in Gmail, they no longer show up in Gspace, however I found deleting files from GSpace appeared to delete the files and associated email message[...]
Mon, 19 Nov 2007 02:11:35 +0000Listener, and fellow Friends In Tech member, Steve Holden sent in an audio clip comparing Gmail to several other popular online mail services. Listen to find out the results.
Fri, 02 Nov 2007 01:11:33 +0000Gmail now supports IMAP. What's IMAP you say? IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. This is just another way for your Outlook, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, or even your iPhone, to communicate with Google's mail server. So what are the advantages of IMAP? For users with many, or large messages, IMAP can result in faster response times. Unlike POP3, You can have multiple clients connect to the same mailbox. That means you can leave your computer connected at work and any changes you make at home are reflected at work, or any other client that is talking to the server. IMAP also allows you to access parts of a message independently. This is really done in the background without your knowledge. What this means is that messages with large file attachments don't retrieve the large attachment unless told to do so. You can retrieve and read a series of messages much quicker with IMAP. In short, IMAP is a more modern and bandwidth-friendly protocol. You can enable IMAP by logging in to your Gmail account on the web, going to the Settings link in the upper right and select the tab that now reads "Forwarding and POP/IMAP". A new section has been added labeled "IMAP Access". Click on the radio button that says "Enable IMAP" and then the button labeled "Save Changes". It's that simple. There you will also find a link to help you configure any number of popular applications. If you haven't noticed, storage space has increased. After gradually going up from the original 1GB to 2 and then nearly stopping at 2.8GB, a sudden surge starting in October 2007 has seen significant growth in the Gmail mailbox. As of this recording I'm over 4.5GB. Sadly, the storage increase happened right after I archived all my mail to a local Thunderbird application and cleaned out Gmail entirely. It seems funny to only be using 5% of my storage space again. Keep listening to t[...]
Sat, 08 Sep 2007 15:45:18 +0000For those who use Twitter for your social networking, they have added a nice feature under the "Find & Invite" section to allow you to invite people from your Gmail address book quickly and easily. As a quick side note, Twitter is similar to instant messaging on a web page. You login with an account then answer the simple question "What are you doing now?" with a short text phrase such as "listening to the Gmail Podcast". There two types of people, those you follow, and those who follow you. When you post something, the people who follow you will see it. When someone you follow updates their twitter status, you'll see that update. It's a simple concept that is catching on quickly. To use your Gmail address book, login to Twitter at twitter.com. If you don't have an account, simply register. It's free and quick. Next, click on the link near the top that says ""Find & Invite". There you will see an option to use your Gmail address book. You will be offered a secure login for your Gmail credentials and then the screen will go to your contacts. Once Twitter imports the information you can simply click on names to follow and whether to turn on or off the notifications. It's that simple. When you're done, click "Next" and another page will come up suggesting to invite people you email the most. A pretty neat idea for inviting a lot of your friends to join Twitter without a lot of effort from you.
Sun, 08 Jul 2007 23:13:10 +0000I don't know when the Filter Assistant feature first appeared, but I have found it very useful. You'll find the link to the filter assistant in the upper right of any message. When you click on this link, an orange section appears that looks a lot like the content when you are creating filters via the Settings screen or the "Create a filter" link near the search box at the top. By default the From and To boxes are filled in, but you are free to remove that content and filter any other way you like. The bottom part of the orange box is to tell what actions to take on the filters you have created. Again, similar to doing the same thing from the settings tab. Let's walk through a quick example... Let's say you spot a message on your index from a mail list you got on and cannot seem to get removed from. Go ahead and open the conversation from the index by clicking on it. Now locate the Filter Assistant link in the upper right of the conversation - it will be the same distance down the screen as the sender's name. For this example, you're really only concerned with who the message is to, not necessarily who it is from. That sender may send you valid information later. It's your choice, but for this example I'll remove the information in the From box. Once that is done, I go to the second half and check the box next to "Delete it". Finally, I click on the "Create Filter" button. If I ever need to remove or modify that filter, I can do it via the "Settings" link in the upper right of the screen and click on the "Filter" tab the same as any other filter. Quick Tip: Here's a quick tip for all you Mac users who are also using Firefox; if you right click (or Ctrl-Click) on a message in the conversation index you will get a pop-up, or call-out, with the message content. Across the top of this you can Close the window, Archi[...]
Thu, 14 Jun 2007 02:24:17 +0000Gmail now recognizes Microsoft PowerPoint attachments. When you have a message with a PowerPoint attached, Gmail will present a link labeled "View as slideshow" near the attachment. When you click on that Gmail will open a new window and start displaying the slides. In theory, it's pretty straight forward, but here's what I found in reality. First, Gmail does not yet support PowerPoint 2007 files. Also, when I sent a PowerPoint file from my Mac (one that was originally developed on a PC) it did not recognize the file and said it couldn't convert it despite the fact that it opened up fine on the Windows and Mac machines. I also noticed using the Gmail web interface with Firefox on Mac, that the file attachment icons on the right, next to the date on the message index, the icons showed up as file types, for example a little PowerPoint icon when a PPT was attached, not paperclips like on Windows (Firefox or Internet Explorer) Finally, despite the fact that Google does not currently allow you to edit the PowerPoint file, they claim they will have a way to edit PPTs "this summer". We can only hope. Quick Tip: If you haven't already noticed, Gmail increased the file size limit on attachments. You can now attach up to 20MB files, up from the former 10MB. A word of caution, that's more storage than the typical ISP mailbox. Be careful who you are sending large attachments to, unless of course they are using Gmail.
Sat, 12 May 2007 22:16:52 +0000Here's a quick tip how to select multiple conversations with just two mouse clicks. To check a range of conversations from the index, click the checkbox next to the first conversation then hold down the shift key while selecting the last conversation. If you are familiar with selecting a range of cells in a spreadsheet, this is very similar. Automatically, Gmail will highlight and select all the conversations from the first one to the last. Again, check the first conversation, hold down the shift key while selecting the last conversation. Instantly you'll have 3, 12, or 20 conversations selected at once. You can do this repeatedly on the same screen if you have multiple ranges to select. Unfortunately I haven't found a keyboard shortcut for this yet. Once the conversations are selected you can label, archive, delete them, or any other regular action that you perform on one or more conversations.
Sun, 01 Apr 2007 01:19:36 +0000Listener Steve Holden pointed out that while reading messages, he noticed that the Gmail web interface has a link on the right side of the screen to add the event to your Google calendar when a date appears in the body of the message. I tried doing little experimenting to see if I could trigger the link, but was unsuccessful. Once Steve sent me a sample, I found out the format. If you have a line of text in your message, then on the next line a date followed by a semicolon and a time, the link will appear. Gmail is pretty good about recognizing a wide format of dates. I have used month/day/year digits as well as spelling out the month then digits a comma and a year. As long as the date and time are on their own line and a semicolon separates them, the link will appear. I will include some examples in the show notes on the web site. My Special Event April 3, 2007; 5:00PM Pay Taxes (US) 4/15/2007; 8:00AM Why is this useful you ask? For the same reason Gmail presents a link when it recognizes package tracking IDs or a Google Map link when it recognizes an address - to be more helpful and save you time. When sending an email to a gmail user, you can include a date and time for an event and have it easily added to the calendar. Quick Tip: If you have shortcut keys enabled, you can use the "#" key to delete messages. From the conversation index, begin by checking the messages, or using the "x" key, then clicking "#". If you need more information on how to enable shortcut keys, have a listen to the podcast from January 2005.
Sat, 24 Mar 2007 21:10:14 +0000You can use your Gmail account as a secure way of checking out of dozens of online stores. Many offer a discount! Learn more by listening!
Sat, 10 Feb 2007 23:13:28 +0000Gmail now has a way to get email from other accounts with a feature called Mail Fetcher. This differs slightly from the existing technology available in the "Send Mail As" feature described in an earlier podcast. Send Mail As is a "push" technology meaning that your mail is pushed from the original source (say your ISP mailbox) to Gmail. The Mail Fetcher is a pull technology, meaning that Gmail will pull information from your Internet Server Provider, or ISP, mailbox. While this may seem like semantics at first, the underlying technologies differ quite a bit and the use for one over the other is up to you. Mail Fetcher is configured from same screen as Send Mail As. Begin by logging in to your Gmail account and clicking on "Settings" in the upper right corner of the screen. Next click on the "Accounts" link. Find the section labeled "get mail from other accounts". Normally there won't be anything configured yet so click on the link "Add another mail account". At this point, you can add up to five accounts. Now enter the email address of the account you plan to pull the information from. For example if I want all my mail that normally goes to email@example.com to arrive in my firstname.lastname@example.org, I would enter email@example.com since that is where it will first be delivered according to the mail routing rules setup on the internet name servers. Sorry if this is a little too technical. Now, click "Next Step" You will then be prompted for credentials regarding the other account. you should have your login and password handy. It will also prompt you for the POP server. This is the system which provides access to your mail on that server. If you don't hav[...]
Sun, 04 Feb 2007 18:01:21 +0000Learn how to use Google Alerts as part of your Gmail account to know when your favorite topics are found on the web.
Sat, 13 Jan 2007 22:29:47 +0000I was surprised to find that I had not covered this topic yet.
Sat, 06 Jan 2007 19:16:31 +0000Some quick updates I picked up in the past week or two regarding Gmail.
Sun, 17 Dec 2006 18:49:22 +0000You may have not even realized that Gmail provided anti-virus protection, but it's there. Listen and find out more about how it works.
Sun, 19 Nov 2006 03:30:43 +0000While the Signatures option in the general Gmail settings allows plain text only, there is a way you can leverage Google Docs to help you create a signature with different fonts, styles, and even images. Listen to this episode of the Gmail Podcast and find out how.
Sun, 22 Oct 2006 17:41:03 +0000Gmail has a page to allow you to suggest features. Choose from some of the more popular suggestions or create your own. Find the page here.
Sat, 14 Oct 2006 18:07:07 +0000Tired of those nasty messages from bogus sources impersonating sites PayPal, eBay, or your bank in order to gain access to your information? Gmail has a feature to help combat this situation. It only takes a couple mouse clicks to help you and your fellow Gmail users. Listen and learn how.
Sun, 24 Sep 2006 00:24:09 +0000Learn a little bit more about filters and how you can apply them to existing mail conversations.
Sat, 16 Sep 2006 21:55:25 +0000Learn how to customize (or even disable) those messages at the top of your mail index and messages.
Sun, 03 Sep 2006 00:01:07 +0000Those pesky spammers are getting tougher and tougher to beat. This little hint should help keep their latest tactic from bugging you.
Sat, 26 Aug 2006 19:27:16 +0000Despite the "beta" label, Google Notifer for the Mac v1.9.65 is available for download. You can find it here. It's a handy way to keep tabs on your Google Calendar and Gmail account without firing up the browser and logging in to Gmail. If you need to get to either of those items, they are only one click away.