Android 4.2 Gmail App To Feature Pinch To Zoom And Swipe To Delete/Archive A Message

With the launch of the next Nexus handset from LG coming closer, leaks have started flowing in almost daily. While we now know nearly everything about the next Nexus handset, what we don’t know is which version of Android it will run and what all new features it will bring on-board.

Today, the folks over at Android Police have managed to get their hands on the Gmail APK that will be included in Android 4.2. The latest version of the Gmail app brings with it one of the most requested and much needed features – the ability to pinch to zoom in an email.

Other than pinch-to-zoom, the new version of the app also includes the ability to swipe an email to archive it or delete it, which is thankfully user configurable and finally, the ability to mark an email as a phishing attempt. The Android Police guys managed to get the Gmail app work on their Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean without much of a hassle.

Sadly, they are not allowed to share the APK with the Internet, so we will have to wait until someone else leaks the APK or Google releases the Gmail app update in the Play Store.

Google Introduces Free SMS in Gmail

Gmail almost singlehandedly redefined the entire webmail segment after its launch in 2004. Since then, Google has steadily expanded the scope of its webmail service. It started off by integrating Google Chat with Gmail, and later added support for video chat, and recently integrated video conferencing through Google Plus Hangouts. Today, Google added another dimension to its mail service. You can now send free SMS to users around the world right from Gmail.

To be honest, this isn’t strictly a new feature. SMS in Gmail Chat has been available as a Labs feature for several years. Google is simply graduating this feature from Labs. To send an SMS to a contact who is offline, simply type his name in the chat window, and you will get the option to send an SMS from the “More options” section in the floating box that appears to the right of your contact. Of course, this will only work if you have your contact’s phone number.

Free-SMS-in-Gmail

SMS in Gmail Chat supports all operators in the United States, and most prominent operators in more than 50 countries. In India, it supports Aircel, IDEA, Loop Mobile, MTS, Reliance, Tata DoCoMo, Tata Indicom, Vodafone (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Gujarat, A.P, Bihar, W.B. & A & N, Assam, N.E. circles only). The two big names that are missing from the list are Airtel and BSNL.

SMS in Gmail Chat is free; however, it does have some restrictions to prevent abuse. Initially, you will have a credit of 50 messages. Every time you send an SMS through chat, your credit will decrease by one, and every time you receive an SMS in Chat, your credit will increase by five. If your credit hits zero, you won’t be able to send a message. In such cases you have two options. You can either wait as the credit will increase back up to one 24 hours later. Or you can send an SMS to your own phone, and then reply to that message multiple times. Every time you send a reply message, your SMS credit is increased by five. Effectively, you will be buying more messages by paying your phone company for these outgoing messages.

Google Now Includes Gmail in Search Results

Yesterday, in a blog post titled “Building the search engine of the future, one baby step at a time“, Google unveiled some interesting information about the future of its search engine. Perhaps its most surprising announcement, is that it plans to include information from your Gmail account in your search results.

gmail result
Gmail Search Results (Courtesy Google Blog)

At the moment, this program is voluntary and you have to join their field trial to participate in the service. The link for the trial is https://www.google.com/experimental/gmailfieldtrial. Pictured above, you can see an example of what the Gmail results might look like. In Google’s example, they imagine that you may be going on a biking trip. When you type the search query “biking in tahoe”, you will get the typical search results, but out to the side you will see email results from friends where they may have suggested good trails or eateries nearby.

Some other cool features they’re considering involves organizing information from Gmail in a very readable way. The example they used was typing the query “my flights” into the search box. Pictured below, you can see they pull the pertinent information from your email and display directly on your search results page.

flights
(Courtesy Google Blog)

Google is trying to make its search more relevant. One of the ways it wants to do this is by making information more personal. The biggest threat to Google search is Facebook. Simply put, Facebook has ridiculous amounts of personal information on its users and if it ever figures out a way to “monetize” this information, look out Google! Another point that Google made was about its voice recognition service. Below, you can watch a sample of Google’s enhanced speech recognition for search.

[Video Link]

Google is trying to do everything it can to enhance its search. It seems that most of its diversification attempts haven’t been very successful which leaves it in the vulnerable position of being a one trick pony. Unfortunately, past endeavors to tap into user data exposed some serious privacy issues. It appears that Google is being a little more cautious with this attempt as it currently is an opt-in service.

Google Brings Google+ Hangouts to Gmail

Whether you like it or not, Google today has announced to integrate replace the video chat option in Gmail with the newly launched Google+ Hangouts. And this change is inevitable.

In a blog post, Google announced the new change stating that Hangouts will “deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality” to your chats.

Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.

All Gmail users will benefit from the new replacement. The Hangouts integrated within Gmail will enable users to video chat with up to nine people at once, and enjoy all the Hangouts features that you can within Google+, including watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen.

Google Hangouts

With Hangouts in Gmail, users will not only be able to video chat with Gmail users, but friends on Google + and the Google+ iOS and Android apps as well. However, users need to have Google+ accounts to take advantage of all the Hangouts features to work in Gmail. Additionally, Google says that the Hangouts has a list of fun effects that you can try out. Wearing a virtual mustache or pirate hat is one such effect.

For Gmail users who have been using the earlier video chat feature on a regular basis, the Hangouts integration will certainly be a big improvement, with a complete new experience. However, for users who are not really happy with the integration, the best option you have is to get used to it.

The company has been focusing a lot on its social networking site Google+, and is trying to integrate many features that it offers with all other Google services. While the new change is rolling out slowly from today, Google says that it will be available to all Gmail users in the coming weeks.

Google Acquires Popular Mac and iOS Mail Client – Sparrow

Sparrow, possibly the best email client available for Mac and iOS, have just announced that they have been acquired by Google. The company’s CEO announced that they are “joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision.”

Below is Sparrow’s CEO, Dom Leca’s full statement about the acquisition -:

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.

We had an amazing ride and can’t thank you enough.

Full speed ahead!

The acquisition by Google does not mean that Sparrow will be dis-continued. The developers will continue to provide support to its users. Google had earlier acquired a popular IM client earlier, Meebo, and with Sparrow’s acquisition, it looks like the big G is finally working hard on merging Gmail with its chat (Talk/Hangout/Messenger) services. Considering how talented the Sparrow team is, it will be really interesting to see what new features they bring to Gmail, and perhaps to the email?

Google Launches Gmail SMS in Africa

Google has launched a new service — Gmail SMS — which enables users to access, receive and send email from their phones via SMS. While smartphone shipments are at an all-time high, a significant amount of the population, especially in third world countries is still using feature phones with no mobile internet access.

In order to enable access to email for them, and grow its user base further, Google has launched Gmail SMS in three African countries – Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. This might be a test run, following which Gmail SMS would probably be rolled out in many other countries.

“Gmail SMS works on any phone, even the most basic ones which only support voice and SMS. Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS. You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread!”

Gmail SMS can be enabled from the Account tab in Gmail Settings. Users can just add their phone numbers and verify them to enable Gmail SMS on their numbers. They can also customize notification and forwarding settings on their phone.

Do note that while the service is free from Google’s end, users will still incur the standard SMS messaging charges.

All in all, a pretty cool move by Google to bring email to the unconnected masses.

via Google Africa Blog

Gmail Starts Sending Suspicious Sign in Prevented Emails

I have been using for a few years now and have come to love their spam filtering and security among other things. Gmail was probably one of the first free email provider to allow users to see where they logged in from and also provide an additional security layer with 2-step verification logins.

Some of the most interesting features in Gmail have been the ability to detect suspicious emails from your contacts, ability to alert you whenever any suspicious activity takes place in your account and the feature which alerts you whenever any filters have been setup to forward emails to another account.

However, there is a chance that most of the users do not access their accounts through the web interface and instead prefer using IMAP, notifying such types of accounts is harder. To overcome that problem Gmail has now started sending out emails to users saying that they have detected and prevented a suspicious login from an unknown location.

Gmail Suspicious Sign in Prevented Email

The email which arrived in my inbox earlier today can be seen in the image above. The message reads:

Keith,

Someone recently tried to use an application to sign in to your Google Account, [redacted]. We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt:

May 8, 2012 8:37am GMT
IP Address: 204.15.240.72
Location: Sunnyvale, California, United States

If you do not recognize this sign-in attempt, someone else might be trying to access your account. You should sign in to your account and reset your password immediately. Find out how at http://support.google.com/accounts?p=reset_pw

If this was you, and you want to give this application access to your account, complete the troubleshooting steps listed at http://support.google.com/mail?p=client_login

Sincerely,
The Google Accounts Team

This email approach from Gmail seems to be new and will allow users who don’t access the web interface to find out if their account is being compromised. It is not clear though whether the user was able to login successfully or not. Nevertheless, you should definitely change your password if you receive it.

If you need help generating strong passwords, you can check out 4 unique apps to generate strong passwords.

Also Read: How to find if your Gmail account is hacked and what to do

Update: For all those asking I had already confirmed that this is a legit email and a Gmail community manager has also confirmed this it is legitimate in a stack exchange thread:

I am the Gmail Community Manager, and I can confirm that we do send email notifications in certain cases such as described here.

Always carefully check the URL and never enter your Google password on a page that is not hosted at google.com. For example, it is OK to enter your password at https://accounts.google.com or https://mail.google.com, but not gooogle.com, g00gle.com, etc.

Update 2: Turns out that Google is now actively blocking login attempts from services like Plaxo and . A thread on Dropbox reports similar emails being sent out to users.

Gmail Gets New Features: Automatic Message Translation, Smart Mute and Title Tweaks

Back in 2009, Google launched the automatic message translation tool in Gmail Labs, which enabled you to translate emails that are in foreign language into a desired language that you understand. The auto translation of messages became immensely popular and successful, and thus Google decided to graduate it from Gmail Labs and move into the real world. That is, the feature will now be enabled by default to all users.

Google Translate has always been a very friendly and immensely useful tool. Incorporating the same feature in Gmail is a good move from Google, as many times we do receive email messages that are not in a language we understand.

Gmail Translate

Unlike the earlier days, we would not be required to copy the text and translate it using either Google Translate or a different translation engine. With the integrated translation, it’s not only easy to translate messages, but also save your time.

This is how the feature works in action –

Gmail Automatic Translation

All you need to do is click on “Translate message” to translate the message in your desired language.

You can as well choose to permanently translate a particular language to your desired language by clicking on “Always translate: [language]” option on the top-right of the message. You can always disable the feature if you’re a bi-lingual and don’t need translations for a language. All you need to do is click on “Turn off for: [language].”

If you have accidentally turned off the message translation feature for a particular language, or don’t see the Translate message header on a message, click on the down arrow next to Reply at the top-right of the message pane and select the Translate message option in the drop-down.

Also Read: Translate Google+ into More Than 50 Languages

In addition to this, Google has also graduated the Smart Mute and Title Tweaks feature from the Gmail Labs. The smart Mute feature is basically used to mute noisy email thread and makes sure that it stays out of your inbox. Click here to know more about muting email threads.

The Title Tweaks feature changes the title in your browser’s tab to tell you that you have new messages. The tab now reads “Inbox (20) – [email protected] – Gmail” instead of “Gmail – Inbox (20) – [email protected]

Along with the new features, the Gmail team has retired some older and less popular Lab features in the next few days. Those features include – “Old Snakey, Mail Goggles, Mouse Gestures, Hide Unread Counts, Move Icon Column, Inbox Preview, Custom Date Formats and SMS in Chat gadget. Please note that the SMS in Chat lab is not being retired, just the gadget associated with it.”

Gmelius Extension for Firefox, Chrome and Opera Makes the New Gmail a Bit More Usable

Beginning this week, Google is forcing Gmail users to switch to the new interface. While the new interface looks slick and modern, it suffers from numerous poor design choices that have users up in arms. Some of the issues are fixable with a few settings tweaks. For example, you can use the compact, high-contrast theme to reduce the wastage of space and enhance readability. But for others, there is seemingly no cure.

Thankfully, few users are taking up the challenge themselves, and are trying to make the new Gmail more intuitive through extensions and userstyles. Among the better attempts is Gmelius, which is a free, cross-browser compatible extension that tweaks and refines the new Gmail interface.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the stuff that Gmelius does:

  • It reclaims space by collapsing the Search and Share bar, stripping away the footer, and removing the People widget. Gmelius can also be configured to block all advertisements.
  • It enhances the appearance of Gmail by adding subtle row highlights, and disabling fancy fonts and colors in incoming mails.
  • It makes navigation more intuitive by colorizing the navigation icons and supplementing them with text.
  • It adds an auto-scroll to the top action that can be triggered by clicking on the black Google bar.

Gmelius

Gmelius Gmelius is dead simple to configure, and the tweaks it offers go a long way towards enhancing the new Gmail interface. The new navigations icons drove me nuts for weeks, and even after using the new interface for a several months, I still get confused occasionally. I only wish that I had discovered Gmelius sooner. There’s undoubtedly a lot more stuff that Gmelius could do. For example, it could bring back the reply links beneath every message or re-enable color coding of conversations. However, Gmelius already does enough for me to encourage you to go ahead and install it. It’s currently available for Chrome, Firefox & Opera.

[ Download Gmelius ]

Hate Gmail’s New Interface? Get Old Gmail Interface with This Stylish Script

Just like the new Facebook timeline, also recently forced their new theme on users and apparently many people are not happy with this decision. While Gmail earlier provided a simple way to revert back the Gmail interface, that option is no longer available. This has definitely not gone down too well with Gmail users.

So is there any way in which you could revert back to the old Gmail interface? Well, not officially, but you can still do it thanks to a Stylish script.

Old Gmail Interface

The Return of Old Gmail Stylish script is one which resembles the “Old Gmail” interface the most. Although the overall interface is not as neat (see screenshot above), it definitely is one of the best options if you despise the new Gmail interface. The script in question reverts back some of the Gmail styles to the older one and also reverts back the top navigation in Gmail.

You will also find several other Stylish scripts for Gmail, however, the one listed here seems to be the best alternative to get back the old Gmail interface. You can also try out several other themes for Gmail by using this Stylish search.

Please note that users will have to install the Stylish before using the scripts. users can also install the Stylish extension or install the Stylish script as a script and run it as an .