When Gmail burst onto the scene, it garnered universal acclaim for its speed. Over the years, Gmail has continued growing and innovating. However, this growth seems to have come at a cost.
If Gmail is agonizingly slow for you, you aren’t the only one. In the words of Gabriel Weinberg, founder of Duck Duck Go, “It can take 20sec to switch labels, and even longer to search for something. But here’s the worst part–it takes just as long to send a simple message!?!”.
Fortunately for Weinberg, his blog post got noticed by a Googler. Not only did Google fix his problem, but also acknowledged that several other users may be affected by the same issue. Here is a snippet from Google’s response:
The team is still looking into your account slowness, but it initially appears that the problem is isolated to a small subset of Gmail users…They are still investigating the root cause of the slowness but in the meantime have moved your account to a different set of servers, which should help.
This isn’t the first time that Google has acknowledged this problem. Google had admitted that Gmail was sluggish and had promised to fix it back in March. While it’s nice that they reached out to Weinberg, one has to wonder what is taking Google so long. Meanwhile, if you are experiencing sluggishness, you can try some measures like deleting data from Gmail (email, labels, contacts etc.) and disabling Gmail Labs.
Gmail filters are great – you can use them for a variety of tasks. From moving selected conversations to specific labels to auto archiving replies – Gmail filters and the auto forwarding feature makes life easy, in case you get dozens of emails every hour.
Gmail has added a security layer in the auto forwarding email procedure. When you try to add a new email address where you want to forward emails from your existing Gmail account, Gmail requires you to first verify that email address.
To add a new email address for auto forwarding email, go to Settings> Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
Once you have added an email address, you are shown the following message:
Gmail sends a confirmatory link to that email address along with a verification code. You will have to click the confirmation link or enter the verification code to complete the auto forwarding set up procedure. Here is how the confirmatory email looks like:
However, if you are using Google Apps premier or Google Apps education edition, you do not have to verify the forwarding email addresses. Regular Google apps users are an exception though. More information on Gmail forwarding can be found here.
A few days back, Gmail added the functionality to drag and drop attachments from desktop in an email message. It works quite simple – drag the file(s) you want to attach and drop it in the attachment pane of Gmail. The file is instantly uploaded and attached to your email message. This has proved to be a useful feature, you no longer have to hit the old browse button, navigate to the location of the file and then click “Upload”.
Now Gmail has added another cool feature – you can attach images in the email message body by a simple drag and drop from your desktop, or from any other folder in your computer.
Suppose you have a bunch of images which you want to attach to an email message. Instead of clicking the “image upload” button and uploading each file one by one, you can select all the image files and drag them in the message body as shown below:
All the images will be uploaded one by one and when the upload is complete, you can align or resize the images as per your requirements. So simple, yet so useful.
As of now, this new feature is only available for Google Chrome but Gmail will soon implement it on other browsers as well. [ via Gmail blog ]
Gmail has added support for HTML 5, which means now you can drag and drop to attach a file in any email message. This is useful, when you have to attach a lot of files kept on a single folder. You don’t have to click the browse button again and again and can attach a bunch of files together in one go.
When you drag the files in the compose message window, Gmail shows an attachment pane to drop the files:
Earlier I used Picture paste to add images, attachments and other files in Gmail messages from the desktop. The drag and drop feature was much desired, because often the flash uploader would freeze in the middle of a file upload and you have to start the upload all over from scratch. When you want to attach a bunch of files or images – open the folder containing your files, select all files by pressing “Control +A” and drag all of them in the Gmail compose window. As simple as that.
If you want to attach an image from a web URL, simply drag the image from the web page to the Gmail message compose window. Please note that this feature works in browsers that support HTML 5 (Firefox 3.6+ or Google Chrome 4+). [ via Gmail blog ]
One of the things that sets Gmail apart is the number of features and available third party tools. We have seen Gmail gadgets, usercripts and all other kinds of software but how about a piece of hardware created just for Gmail?
If you are a Gmail addict but think that keyboard shortcuts provided by Gmail are not enough, take a look at Gboard. It is a customized keypad specifically created for Gmail that provides users with 19 finger-friendly buttons, each assigned to a certain Gmail process.
Now you can perform all these tasks with a single key stroke:
- Reply All
and some other amazing time-saving functons.
The Gboard weighs 0.3 lbs and needs a USB port to connect to your computer. It works with Windows, Mac as well as Linux but requires a US keyboard layout. There is no software to install, all you need to do is connect the Gboard and enable keyboard shortcuts within Gmail.
The Gboard is currently being sold for $19.99 and can be bought here. The dimensions in inches are 4.88 X 3.5 X .38.
With Gmail already the best email service out there, would you spend money to make it more convenient for yourself? Do you think these extra keyboard shortcuts are worth $19.99 or are you satisfied with the current shortcuts that Gmail provides?
Google calendar does a fantastic job of letting you setup reminders. However, if you are offline quite often then you Google calendar reminders might not be the best solution for you. In such a case, it is good to use a desktop based application and GMinder is an an excellent app for that purpose.
GMinder lets you manage your Google calendar even when you are offline by letting you access the desktop client. You can add events, delete events, set pop-up reminders and even browse through events to see more details.
You can also snooze or dismiss the reminders and customize their appearance by tweaking the color and sound. GMinder allows you to manage multiple Google calendars from the same desktop client. All you need to do is sign in with your Google account and your Google calendar will be downloaded for offline access.
Download GMinder here.
Gmail Notifier Plus is an improved version of Gmail Notifier which has been developed from scratch by Baptise Girod. The basic purpose remains the same – alerting you whenever you have a new message. However, what sets Gmail Notifier Plus a part from the official Gmail Notifier is its tight integration with Windows 7.
Gmail Notifier Plus is portable software and doesn’t require any installation. The focus during development was clearly on simplicity and utility. Gmail Notifier works entirely from the Windows 7 Superbar (Taskbar). Hovering over the Gmail Notifier button reveals a thumbnail preview of your messages. Right clicking exposes the Jumplist which contains latest messages as well as common tasks like composing a mail and opening the inbox.
Gmail Notifier Plus supports multiple Gmail accounts and does its job brilliantly. It’s designed to remain out of your way. The only Window that you are going to come across while using Gmail Notifier is the Configuration Window. Everything else is done directly from the taskbar.
[ Download Gmail Notifier Plus for Windows 7 ]
Since Gmail has launched the newer version of their email, it takes a little bit longer to load your emails for the first time, this can also be terribly slow if you have a slower internet connection.
If you are eager to see a summary of your inbox before Gmail loads, you can now do it with a new feature released by Gmail Labs called Inbox Preview.
Continue reading Preview Your Inbox While Gmail Loads
A couple of months ago, PDF viewer was integrated into Gmail. Now the same viewer has been upgraded to support PPT (PowerPoint) presentations and TIFF (Tagged Image File Format – which are sometimes multi-page and you were able to see only the first page in the previous setup) with in the browser.
This means that there is no need to download the files to your desktop, no additional software required (a benefit bestowed for those who use public / others PC when on the move), to view the content. You can go through the content of the files, in the same browser and later download if it is necessary (such a saver from all those forwarded PPT’s, which you normally skim through and delete immediately!!).
The old “View as slideshow” technology is integrated into the ‘viewer’ which significantly increases both – the user experience and productivity.
Some of the useful functionality of this new feature are :
- Zoom in and Zoom (with the help of the + / – sign in the right sidebar),
- Use the arrow buttons (in the right side bar), to navigate to the slide/s or alternatively you can use the slide bar and select any particular slide.
- You can copy content directly from the slides and save it on your system ,
- You can search the slides using the ‘Search‘ feature in the right side bar,
- Download the documents or Print them or view them as plain HTML
- You can edit the documents online, and this is integrated with your http://docs.google.com account. After editing, you can select “Share and close” option and the edited document will be saved in your Google docs account. You can download it from your account, whenever you need it.
Gmail has added another interesting feature to the Gmail Labs family, where it adds a green or red phone icon next to emails, this green phone icons would indicate that is early in the day in the sender’s time zone, a red icon tells you that it is pretty late to call in the sender’s time zone.
Let’s convert this to a real life example, you emailed a client from a different country say United States about a work you were doing for them, now your client emails you back, but when the email arrived while you were sleeping, some of the content in the email confuses you and you need to have a verbal chat with them to clarify your confusions.
But what is the time in your client’s country? Would they probably be awake to answer your call or would you be invading on their sleep? With the Sender Time Zone labs feature, Gmail will show you a green phone icon, if it would be ok to call the other person, translating into working hours for any given time zone.
If you see a red icon, it would probably mean that, it’s pretty late in the client’s country to be making a call, clicking on the message should show you the current time in the sender’s time zone.
This feature will only work if the originating message contains time zone in the header, if you are looking to view the current time from different time zones, take a look at the World Time Zone gadget for Gmail.
To enable this feature, just go to Settings > Labs and activate Sender Time Zone feature.
New in Labs: Sender Time Zone [Official Gmail Blog]