Tag Archives: gmail

Delegate Your Email with Gmail

Many of us have more than one email account. If you’re like me, you use one for business, and another address entirely for personal stuff. Often, our Inbox becomes so overloaded that we simply cannot keep up. If this is the business side of things, not getting through it all could be disastrous. For this reason, Gmail has introduced a simple way to delegate your email to others.

To grant access to another account, click the Settings link in the top right corner of Gmail. On the “Accounts” tab, you’ll see a new section where you can “Grant access to your account.” The account you add will get a verification email with links to accept or deny access. Once the account accepts, a small down arrow will appear beside the email address at the top right corner of Gmail which can be used to toggle between accounts. Each account will open in a separate tab or window to help keep things simple and smooth.

What a great way to share the work load. Will you be taking advantage of Gmail delegation?

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How to Turn off Conversation View in Gmail

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head as I read about Google helping users to turn off Conversation View within Gmail. In my opinion, threaded conversations are the best thing to happen to email since email itself was invented. Communication is actually much easier when you are able to track what has been added to a thread without wading hip-deep into your Inbox. As a proponent of this service, I hadn’t thought of those of you out there who actually may not enjoy being forced to have threaded conversations.

There are several people who aren’t happy with the way Gmail displays their email. Perhaps they are users who are simply stuck on the way things used to be handled by programs such as Outlook. Maybe they enjoy having to pull their boots on and having to dive into the Inbox (or whatever other folders they have) in order to track something that had been discussed already. For those people, Google has now created an option to turn OFF Conversation View. Wiltse Carpenter, Technical Lead for Gmail, has a colorful explanation for the move:

The way Gmail organizes mail into conversations is like cilantro. You either love it — and, like me, enjoy the nice citrusy, herbal finish it gives to everything from salsa to curry — or you hate it. It turns out not everyone feels the same way. And just as an outspoken minority has banded together in unison to declare their distaste of one of nature’s most delicious herbs, some of you have been very vocal about your dislike of conversation threading. So just like you can order your baja fish tacos without cilantro, you can now get Gmail served up sans conversation view. Go to the main Settings page, look for the “Conversation View” section, select the option to turn it off, and save changes. If you change your mind, you can always go back.

What are your thoughts? Can you imagine having to go back to the old ways of finding things in your email client of choice? Would you die from frustration by simply thinking about it? Or are you one of those this change was made for? If so, I’d love to hear your perspective. Perhaps I am missing an important point and reasoning you wouldn’t want to take advantage of beautiful threaded email goodness.

Boomerang Shows Email When You Need to See It

If you tend to get far too many emails every day, it’s easy to lose track of things you might not need right away. It’s happened to me before: I will let something languish in my Inbox, knowing I’ll need it in say a week or so. However, when the week has come and gone, I’ll have someone emailing me again to ask if I have forgotten about them. The original email was buried amongst the piles of other things my mail client sees, and I had completely forgotten about it. I know that’s happened to you at some point – but Boomerang isn’t going to let it happen again – as long as you’re using Gmail.

When a message hits your Inbox that you’ll need to deal with later, simply use the Boomerang tool. Tell it when you want to see the missive again, and the plugin does the rest. This comes in handy if you’re under contract to do certain things at certain times. Have the tool magically re-send the email to your attention on whatever day you need to see it – and even choose what time you want it to show up!

Another cool feature of Boomerang is to use it to schedule your outgoing mail. This is very handy for Geeks like myself. I tend to stay up entirely too late at night sometimes. I’ll often shoot out an important email, only to find later that the person didn’t see what I had sent. It was lost among the hundred other messages waiting for them when they sat down at their desk in the morning. Using Boomerang, I can now set a specific time for my message to be sent so that I don’t run into this problem again.

Likely the best part of all is that you don’t even have to be online in order to schedule your emails. Since everything is handled server-side, you can set your schedules and then synchronize when you’re back on an Internet connection. How cool is that?

Do You Miss Windows 98?

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read the title of this forum post on Geeks. At first, I thought the original poster had lost their mind. With all of the advances in operating systems over the years, why on Earth would we miss Windows 98? However, the chuckles faded away as I read one of the follow-up comments in the thread, which stated “I miss the simplicity, but not the lack of reliability”. How true that statement is.

Back then, things were much simpler. Sure, we couldn’t DO as much as we can now, but is that always a bad thing? We are much more stressed out these days, more overworked. We try to do too much at once, and leave other aspects of our life untended. All of this is accomplished with the help of our powerful computers and uber-awesome operating systems that run on those pieces of hardware.

I can completely understand the sentiment about missing the simplicity. It makes me remember that I need to slow down a bit at times, and appreciate the world around me more. No one will pass out if I don’t reply to their email the instant it hits my inbox. The World isn’t going to come to a screeching halt if I don’t get this blog post written in the next five minutes. I might, however, break out in hives if I don’t take a break for a few minutes right NOW.

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Keep Your Gmail Safe

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During the Gnomedex conference this past summer, we held an open mic session. Anyone in the audience could get up on stage and share their favorite website, tips, trick and resources. In this short video clip, we were all reminded of how simple it is to secure our Gmail when viewing it from a public location (such as a conference or an Internet cafe).

When you are logged in to your Gmail account, go up to the top of the page and click on Settings. The fifth header down on the page is Browser connection. Next to this, click the little button that says to Always use https. This will ensure that no matter where you are at, you are logging in to your email securely.

Thanks for the tip!

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How to Enable the Best Gmail Tweaks

If you didn’t already know, there’s a set of features you can enable in Gmail to enhance your experience with the email service – right now. They’re tucked away within the “Labs” Settings pane. As of today, a few more of these “Labs” scripts will be enabled by default.

It’s time to turn on a few of these unofficially-official Gmail features (if you haven’t already done so). To me, these are the top 10 Gmail Labs settings to use:

  1. Message translation – If you communicate in more than one language, this one is a must.
  2. Superstars – If you’re into visual navigation, enabling these additional “stars” will prove useful.
  3. Pictures in chat – I realize that Gmail is all about being lean, but I love seeing avatars in my IM window.
  4. Sender Time Zone – Unless the only people you know are in your time zone, you’ll want to turn this feature on.
  5. Right-side chat – Hey, the space is there for you to fill!
  6. Advanced IMAP Controls – This is a must if you, like me, experience Gmail from your desktop email client.
  7. Default ‘Reply to all’ – For some reason, people don’t realize that this is a useful function when there are more than just two people involved in an email conversation.
  8. Navbar drag and drop – If you’re a customization freak, toggle this feature and tweak yourself silly.
  9. Inbox preview – This is one of my favorite Labs features. Even on a fast Internet connection, using a fast browser, this Labs script shows you a barebones list of what’s sitting in your inbox before the page has fully loaded. Believe me – you want this.
  10. Create a Document – if you’re a Google Docs addict (like me), this’ll just make it easier to create a new item from within Gmail.

Okay, so I also happen to like: Undo Send, Title Tweaks, Don’t Forget Bob, Got the Wrong Bob, Inserting Images, Extra Emoji, Send & Archive, Mark Unread From Here, Google Calendar Gadget, and the Google Docs Gadget.

What are you waiting for? Make your own Gmail better!

How Do You Manage Your Inbox?

One of the longest-running issues we all seem to have is trying to deal with an Inbox that is too full. There have been many pieces of software developed over the years in an attempt to help us manage these monstrosities. However, they’ve all fallen short of the mark. However, there’s a new kid on the block who promises to deliver in ways others never have. The only catch is that only Gmail subscribers can use the service.

Gtriage is a service that scans all your email messages and to determine which ones are the most important to you. It then tags those messages “Important” with bright red labels so they don’t get missed. The way it works is nothing short of ingenious – as long as it does as promised. Their algorithm for measuring the email weights is being called “powerful machine-learning technology” by the company. They even have two cartoon-looking characters representing the two parts: Buckminster and Blockhead. Blockhead learns the universal characteristics that make email important, and Buckminister learns what you find to be important.

According to their website, Gtraige learns about you and gets even better once you’ve been using it awhile. After it’s set up, you just use your Gmail account as you normally would, while Buckminster and Blockhead watch your actions – and customize themselves to your behavior. In theory, the end result is an email filtering program that works without your having to actually DO anything. Will it work? Only time will tell. This isn’t something that can be tested in a matter of days. I will have to reserve judgment until I’ve used it for awhile.

For now, the service is free… if you can get an invite code. The company has set up pricing tiers, and is confident that Gtriage will work so well, you’ll want to pay for the service. While that remains to be seen at this point, it will likely be worth the cost if it delivers as promised.

The Buzz About Google

Google has stepped up their game yet again with today’s introduction of Google Buzz. Buzz is touted as a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting and share updates, photos, videos and more. It’s built into Gmail, so there’s nothing to sign up for, install or configure. Buzz makes use of your current contact list within Gmail, so you already have a built-in set of friends, as well.

You can choose to share publicly with the world or privately to a small group of friends each time you post. Connect other sites you use, such as Picasa, Flickr, Google Reader, and Twitter. This lets your friends keep up with what you’re doing around the web in one tidy little place. Don’t feel you have enough connections in Gmail? Google Buzz will suggest new contacts for you. Buzz will recommend posts from people you’re not directly following, usually from places your current friends are having conversations. If you’re not interested in a particular recommendation, just click the “Not interested” link.

Over on ReadWriteWeb, they are making a case for Google Buzz replacing FriendFeed. The author makes some very valid points, which focus on Google’s already built-in userbase, as well as the fact that they are working hard to integrate mobile applications. The article is compelling, making one wonder if Google Buzz will, indeed, bring about the end of FriendFeed. I still maintain that both services are quite different, offering different things to their users. I don’t see Buzz as replacing or killing FriendFeed. However, I could be wrong. It’s happened once or twice before!

Google Buzz will be rolled out everywhere within the coming days. If you don’t already have it showing up in your Gmail, you will soon. Keep an eye out for a Buzz link under your Inbox. Check it out… try it on for size. Let us know what you think of the newest offering from Google. Is it a bunch of hype? Or… is the buzz about Buzz on target?

What Easter Eggs are Found in Google?

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Devir has done a few screencasts for us in the past, with a lot of positive reviews. This time, he decided to have some fun, and show off several of the Easter Eggs he has found around Google’s sites. Don’t adjust your screen. The video is pausing at the beginning on purpose! That was Devir’s way of having a little fun with you all!

The first Easter Egg deals with the infamous Loch Ness Monster. Apparently, if you have iGoogle configured right, you will see this mysterious monster! If you change the theme to the Beach theme, you may see something interesting at precisecly 3:14am for about 60 seconds. This is a rumor, and is something that supposedly happens daily.

The next trick is a little simpler. Head over to Google.com/intl/xx-pirate/. This will take you to a search page that allows you to search like a pirate! All of your search results will be what you would normally receive. However, all of the text on the original page is pirate-speak!

You can also go to http://www.google.com/intl/xx-hacker/ to have hacker terminology on your main page!

Next you can have a bit of actual Easter fun! Point your browser to google.com/Easter/feature_easter.html. You can use your mouse cursor to help the little Easter bunny catch eggs in his basket, and spell out the word Google! You’ll probably end up addicted to this little game.

Now we’re going to head over to your Gmail account. Click on the Settings button. Now click on the Labs button. Now scroll down until you find the title Old Snakey and enable it. Make sure you save your changes. Now, whenever you are on your main Gmail homescreen, you’ll be able to click the & sign on your keyboard, which will allow you to play the Old Snakey game at any time, with just that one click on your keyboard.

The last trick Devir has for you is an old April Fool’s joke that Google played on us all a couple of years ago. Head over to google.com/mentalplex/. Once you’re there, you can enter a search term, or search smarter and faster using the Mentalplex. Stare into the moving circle while imagining what it is you want to search for. Let the Mentalplex show you your results! People really believed that this was something real, and was hilarious!

Thanks for another fun screencast, Devir. Great work!

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