It's the vicious cycle of modern life. The more important and established you become, the more email clogs your inbox. Google is out to help with a new Gmail feature called Priority Inbox. This new interface, which will be rolling out to users in waves over the coming days, will present messages more likely to be important in a separate area at the top of the inbox.
Gmail decides what is important with a good old fashioned Google algorithm. Mail similar to that which you frequently read or respond to will be marked as important an promoted to the priority area. Users can alter this sorting process, and teach the Priority Inbox what's actually important by flagging mis-categorized items. This new inbox view also makes better use of the starred mail label by creating a starred mail area right below the Priority box.
The jury is still out on how effective and useful the new system is. We just got access to it ourselves, so it's hard to say how it will work out. As usual, Google has a cute animation explaining the feature, which you can catch at the source link. Have you had a chance to use Priority Inbox? How well is it working for you?
Google announced today that in the first 24 hours of availability, Gmail users placed over 1 million calls. That's very impressive considering many accounts still do not have access to the feature, which is being rolled out gradually. The new VoIP service allows US users to make calls to any number in the US or Canada. International rates are low as well. It just goes to show you what can happen if you integrate a new feature into Gmail.
This early success indicates that users are prepared to make real use of VoIP services. When Google added Buzz to Gmail, many decried the pollution of their sacred Gmail interface with all the Buzz information. If you get the notice that the Gmail call feature has been turned on for your account, you might as well try it. Everyone else is.
Gmail has had the capability to do voice and video chat between PCs for some time. But starting today, Google is rolling out direct phone calls integrated into Gmail. In the Chat area on the left side of Gmail, users will now see a 'Call Phone' option. The first time you launch it, Gmail will prompt you to install the Voice plug-in. Then you are able to place free calls to the US and Canada. Google has pledged to keep these calls free through at least the end of 2010. International calls are billed at very low rates; calls to France, for example, cost $0.02 per minute.
The interface is a simple dialpad where users can input a number or contact search. There is also a tab for call history in this window. Users with a Google Voice account will have some interesting options here. The outbound caller ID will display your Google Voice number. Should you choose, calls to that Google Voice number can be forwarded to Gmail.
The new feature is rolling out in waves over the next few days, so if you're not seeing it already, you will be soon. To place calls from Gmail, you will of course need a microphone and speakers/headphones on your system. If you've had the chance to test it, let us know how it works.
But Premiere and Education Edition users will have to first ensure that their domain administrator has enabled Google Labs from the Google Apps control panel. “Once the lab is enabled, the “Search Mail” button in Gmail will say 'Search Mail and Docs' instead. When you run a search in Gmail, your search results will include matching documents and sites in addition to results from your email,” Google said in a blog post.
If you've got multiple Google accounts, you have probably felt the frustration at bouncing around between them in the web browser. Traditionally, you could only be signed into one at a time in a browser. Now Google is in the process of rolling out multiple account sign-in. To enable this feature, you'll have to go to your account management page. The feature is rolling out slowly, so you might not have it yet.
Just toggle the new Multiple sign-in option to 'on'. You will be able to sign-in with other accounts, and they will be accessible for fast switching from a drop down in the upper right corner of Google pages. The account you sign into the management page will be your default account. For security purposes, if you sign out of a service with any one of your logged in accounts, all accounts will log off.
For now, only Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites, Google Reader, Google Voice, App Engine and Google Code are available with multiple sign-in. If you hit a Google site that doesn't support the feature yet, it will use your default account. Is this a feature you've been waiting for as much as us?
Just the other day we got word that Google was putting VoIP technology from Gizmo5 to work by creating a Gmail and desktop interface for making VoIP calls with a Google Voice number. Now TechCrunch is reporting the desktop app is indefinitely delayed and may not be released at all. This does not affect the rumored Gmail integration.
The problems stem from an internal disagreement at Google. Many, including founders Larry and Sergey, do not want the company to create desktop software now that they have the Chrome browser to develop HTML5 web apps. This strategy is evidenced by Google's strategy as of late. They've been concentrating on Chrome, Android, and Chrome OS.
The rumor is that the development team has been asked to instead make an HTML5 web app version of the desktop app. Who knows if it will work out, but we'd like to have options for desktop and web-based VoIP solutions.
We've been wondering what Google would do with VoIP service Gizmo5 since their recent acquisition. Now we're getting the first hints of the plan. Google is apparently testing a new VoIP service that will be built into Gmail. The service is expected to allow calls to be placed from a user's Google Voice number. Could this also mean Google Voice is about to open up?
The Gmail interface will gain a new button that will bring up a phone keypad with access to contacts and a credit balance. Before now, if you wanted to make a call using Google Voice you needed a phone to route the call over a voice network. This will also allow users to initiate calls on their Google Voice connected phones.
In addition to the Gmail integration, a desktop app is also in the works. All this is still not open to the public, and Google has been tightlipped about it so far. We find this pretty exciting, you?
Google has enabled Google Maps previews within Gmail and Buzz. Once the feature is enabled by the user, Gmail automatically generates previews of places mentioned in an e-mail. The feature can be turned on from the Google Labs tab under Gmail settings.
Though previews for locations anywhere in the world are supported when triggered by a Google Maps URL contained in the e-mail, they are restricted to the US when only the address and not the URL is mentioned. But support for addresses in other parts of the world can't be far off as Google is working on it.
As for Buzz, pasting a Google Maps link in the post box will “automatically fetch an image preview of that location that you can associate with your post.”
Like many of you out there, we are Gmail addicts around here. So a feature addition to Gmail is always an enjoyable event. When it solves a problem in a really simple way, it's even better. Gmail has added the ability to drag and drop images into the composition panel, and it definitely solves a problem. This is similar to the recently added ability to drag and drop attachments into messages.
In our testing it worked very well. Even dropping in large images resulted in only a slight delay before they were visible. It's just a small addition in the grand scheme of Gmail, but when combined with other new, intuitive features it really makes it feel like a more elegant experience. We assume this is accomplished with some sort of HTML5 implementations in Gmail.
Google is currently only supporting this feature in Chrome, but other browsers are coming soon. What features do you want to see in Gmail?
It's taken Five years, but Google's email service in the UK is finally shedding its Googlemail domain, and becoming plain old Gmail. The delay stems from a trademark dispute with a company called Independent International Investment Research (IIR). The original settlement request was apparently unacceptable to Google, and they took to using the Google Mail name instead.
With the issues finally worked out, users will be given the option to use a @gmail address soon. Starting this week, anyone that signs up for a new account will receive a @gmail address. Google also pointed out that since typing gmail required 50% fewer keystrokes than typing googlemail, the change could save 60 million keystrokes per day. That amounts to 217 microjoules, or 20 bonbons worth of energy saved per day. Leave it to Google engineers to measure energy using bonbons as units.
Google said that changing addresses would not affect the functionality or settings of the account. Have any of you Brits become so attached to those extra letters that you'll stick with Googlemail?