Gmail’s Preview Pane Makes it Look More Like A Desktop Email Client

I am more of a browser person and never felt the need of a desktop email client like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird. These email clients have so many features but the one I have always liked and envied is the 3 way scrolling pane in Microsoft Outlook. All messages are lined up in one pane while you can preview a specific message in it’s dedicated preview pane. The third pane lets you navigate around your inbox, jump to a label and access other options.

This helps you save time as you don’t have to jump back and forth between messages and recursively refresh your inbox folder. You can quickly preview a message, reply to it and preview another one in fewer clicks.

Some good news for Gmail users, this feature is now available in Gmail labs and after you activate the preview pane Gmail labs feature from Gmail > Settings > Labs, your inbox should look something like this:


Few days back, Google introduced inbox styles which lets you choose a specific style for your Gmail inbox. It’s about time they have realized the frustration of folks like me who have to deal with dozens of email every single day.

With the 3 way pane setup, I am never really out of the inbox and can read and reply to messages directly from the inbox. The selected message open up in a new pane while existing messages from a label are accessible from the middle one. This also helps in better organization and I can refer to the headline and date of an earlier message while I am rushing out on a reply. Sweet!

toggle-panesYou can either choose a vertical pane or a horizontal one cy clicking the small arrow icon at the right top corner of Gmail inbox. I will stick to the vertical pane as it produces an effect close to Windows Live mail  desktop client.

All other Gmail labs features e.g keyboard shortcuts will continue to work in the split view. And this labs feature is not limited to the new Gmail theme by any means.

I must mention that preview pane looks a bit ugly in Firefox 5, with scrollbars and all. At least for me, it is ugly.


Looks like Google’s non verbal communication is going strong with each day Switch to Google Chrome, will you? We have also ditched Google toolbar for Firefox.

Gmail for Android Update Fixes Annoyances, Makes it More Powerful

Google has just updated its Gmail app for Android. To be honest, Gmail for Android is already pretty damn brilliant. It offers the perfect blend of power and simplicity. The latest release enhances it further by getting rid of a couple of minor annoyances, and adding some handy power-user features.

Gmail for Android now supports label specific ringtones. If you receive dozens of mails every minute, then this feature can be a godsend. By mashing up filters, labels, and ringtones, Google has now given power users the ability to configure Gmail such that they only get notified when an urgent mail arrives. Another handy new feature in Gmail 2.3.5 is the ability to sync only priority mail. This will appeal to users who want to conserve battery and bandwidth.


As mentioned earlier, this update also takes care of a couple of major annoyances present in the existing version of Gmail for Android. Gmail can now remember your Show Pictures’ preferences for various senders. Additionally, as reported by Android Police, it is finally possible to download attachments without using third-party tools.

You can download Gmail for Android directly from your device or through the web Market.

Gmail Now Warns About Filters That Forward Email to Another Address

is definitely one of the best email providers out there and they have always been innovating and adding new features. We have written several Gmail Tips and features in the past, however, a new feature is being rolled out to users where they are being warned about filters that forward emails to other email addresses.

Gmail has always been keen on increasing the security of their service after what happened in China. They have been adding features which displays the locations you logged into Gmail from and also alerts you about suspicious logins. Additionally, Google has also added features like forced SSL and two step validation process.

The new alerts about forwarding filters is really useful and will allow users to see if anyone is forwarding emails to other accounts. In fact, I was very keen on having this feature for Gmail and had even spoken to few developers on creating an extension for Gmail, however, Google beat me at it.

Gmail Forwarding Filters Alert

The new message will be displayed on the top of the page as seen in the screenshot above and will allow users to review settings and change them if required. Currently, the "Review Settings" link takes you to the Filters page, however, I would have loved to have Gmail only display those filters which are forwarding emails to other accounts when I click on it.

A Google help page is also setup to tell users about this new feature, it states;

Why do I have a forwarding filter notice?

You’re seeing a notice to help you confirm that the forwarding filter setting that’s active on your account is accurate. If your account has this feature enabled, you should see this notice.

Forwarding filters are a pretty powerful feature that enables you to send a specific portion of your incoming email to another email account. This mechanism is helpful especially when you have more than one email account. Even so, it’s a good idea to make sure all the details are consistent with what you intend and expect. We encourage you to review your settings and verify that they are accurate.

How long will I see this notice?

For about a week, this notice will appear for a few minutes each time you sign in to your account. Displaying the notification in this way helps ensure that you have a chance to see the notice, rather than someone who might try to gain unauthorized access to your account and use this setting improperly. The notice will disappear immediately if you choose to disable the forwarding filter setting, but that decision is up to you.

How do I remove unwanted forwarding filters?

If the content of the notice looks unneeded or unfamiliar, please do the following:

  1. If you see unfamiliar account access, please change your password immediately. This may indicate that someone has unauthorized access to your account. It’s a good idea to pick a strong password for your Gmail account and never use it again on other websites.
  2. Sign back in to your Gmail account and click the gear icon in the top right corner of Gmail and choose Mail settings.
  3. Click the Filters tab.
  4. Search for the terms "Forward to" and delete any filters with unfamiliar email addresses. Note, there may be more than one filter.
  5. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  6. In the "Forwarding" section, click the first drop-down menu and remove any unfamiliar email addresses.
  7. Select the Disable forwarding radio button if you want to disable non-filter based forwarding.

Kudos to Gmail on adding this feature, I have always wanted it and would have created it myself. It will definitely help people to keep a quick eye on Forwarding filters and remove them if necessary.

Why I’m Afraid to Switch to Google Apps

Google AppsI love the idea of Google Apps. I mean, who won’t get into the idea of being able of being able to access their documents from anywhere? There are so many advantages to using Google Apps. You don’t have to invest in a costly data center to house your files. You can access your files from any web browser on any computer, as long as you’re connected to the internet. You don’t have to purchase new software upgrades every time they make an improvement. This list could go on for days. I suppose what I am trying to make clear up front is that I am not a hater. In fact, I am secretly rooting for Google; however, there are things that must change before I would move my organization in its direction.

First and foremost, Google has to get serious about customer service. It’s 2011 folks! Do we really want to regress in customer service? Lately, I have read numerous articles of nightmare encounters with Google support. People want to be able to access a human being when they have a problem. More than that, they want that human being to be equipped to assist with the problem.

Google seems to rely heavily on forums; however, for their premium options they do provide email support. When you peruse through these forums you see evidence of unanswered or inadequately answered questions. As an IT Manager, my end users will not put up with me not responding  to their requests for a few minutes, much less for hours. I feel that I am not in the minority on this one. If I moved my organization to Google Apps, and my end users experienced some of the lackluster customer service responses that I have seen on Google forums, my head would be on a platter.

Make Multiple Calls with Gmail

GmailNot long ago, Gmail announced that it would offer its users the ability to call phones directly from Gmail. Today Gmail announced they have expanded their communications abilities. Now Gmail users can make or receive multiple phone calls at the same time.

In Gmail, click the “Call Phone” button. When you click the “Call Phone” button, a call window will pop up. See the picture below.

Calling from Gmail

Once you are in a call, you now have the ability to make or receive a second call. If you click the “Call Phone” button again, while in a call, that current call will be placed on hold. In the picture below, you will see an example of how two calls look side by side. At this time Gmail doesn’t appear to let you join those calls in a conference. For now, each call will be handled one at a time, placing the other call on hold.

Multiple Calls

Receiving calls works pretty much the same.  If you are in a call and you get another call, you will have the option to accept or reject the second call.  If you accept the call, then the first call you were in will be placed on hold.

Whether you make a second call or not, you now have the ability in Gmail to put calls on hold.  You also are currently limited to two outbound connections to physical phones.

Google+ Spams Users, Runs out of Disk Space

In a quick succession, several Google+ users were bombarded with multiple email notifications spamming their inbox due to a coding error after which the service that kept track of Google+ notification system  ran out of disk space.

Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice-President of Social for Google, apologized on his Google+ account to those Google+ users who were affected because of the glitch.

Please accept our apologies for the spam we caused this afternoon.

For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes.

We didn’t expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have.

Thank you for helping us during this field trial, and once again, we are very sorry for the spam.

Google+ Runs out of Disk Space, Spams Users

Google+ is currently under field test and such bugs and errors are expected to follow. Google+ has currently closed down it’s sign up process and invite feature. There are over millions of users already on Google+, revealed Eric Schmidt on Thursday. When Google+ was announced, the invite process was open for quite a few time until it was closed due to insane demand of “invites“. Google then re-opened the social network to public for a shot period of time (Just for couple of hours).

Sophos reported that high profiles sufferers like Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC’s News’s Technology Correspondent, was bombarded with emails. Jones  tweeted “Getting zillions of Google+ emails, including duplicates which is apparently a bug. Already dubious about its usefulness…”

Google+ Runs out of Disk Space, Spams Users

However, the glitch did not cause much inconvenience to users as Gmail’s threaded view feature got all emails under a single thread. But for those who used third-party email clients definitely faced a lot of problems with multiple barrage of notifications. Google states that the Google+ team is working hard to fix/kill bugs and ensure that its infrastructure is fast and reliable when it is publicly open.

There have been spammy Google Plus invitations that are spreading viral all over the Internet. There are people who are selling Google+ invites which are fake. Please be aware that Google+ is free and there is no need to buy invites. Please be patient until Google+ is  opened  to public again.

By the way, we have been using Google+ for weeks and you might want to read through our series of articles which will be helpful to you when it comes to using and understanding Google+.

Gmail Will Soon Introduce New Inbox Styles For Managing Email Overload

When it comes to managing email from 6 different accounts at one place, I always prefer using Gmail over Yahoo, Hotmail and other free webmail providers.

That’s because Gmail is so clean, easy to use, has a priority inbox, better search features and supports custom filters. It’s not that other webmail providers don’t have these features but I have always found Gmail to be more user friendly and easy to use.

The earlier week, Gmail announced a redesign of their inbox which is still a work in progress and will be rolled out in a few weeks from now. Looks like Gmail developers are also focusing on organization and easier management, as they are testing different inbox styles to help users manage their mail in the way that works best for them.

Different users have different style of handling email and Gmail wants to provide you an inbox which is in harmony with your habits and requirements. Some users never delete old email, some frequently star important messages while some of us prefer a zero inbox. This is the reason why Google will soon roll out inbox stylesin Gmail which will let users choose a different style for their inbox, as shown in the following image:

Gmail Inbox styles

Once Gmail inbox styles are activated for your account, you can choose any of the inbox style that meets your requirements and habits. Gmail is kicking off this feature with 4 inbox styles, as described below:

1. Classic Gmail Inbox: This is the general UI of Gmail inbox that most users see and use. Incoming messages are organized chronologically from top to bottom in the order they are received. Almost 90% of users I know use this inbox without any labels or filters and they have like more than 1000 messages lined up one after another in their Gmail inbox.   Though very unproductive, it’s a fact that some users are too lazy to learn all the advanced features that Gmail offers.

2. Priority Inbox: This one is ideally suited for those, who get tons of email every single day. Enabling the priority inbox feature of Gmail will add a second inbox on top of your regular Gmail inbox. Gmail will automatically filter important messages and will move them to the priority inbox folder of your Gmail account.

3. Important first: While the priority inbox is only for unread messages, the Important firstinbox will hold both read and unread messages. This inbox will contain only those messages which you have marked as Important, rest of the stuff will go to your normal inbox.

4. Unread first: This inbox style will put a separator between unread messages and read ones. Not so useful for me but it will be surely useful for those who get hundreds of email every day and prefer reading some messages on weekends.

5. Starred first: This one will put all the starred messages on the top, everything else will be at the bottom pane.

After you have selected your preferred inbox style in Gmail and have settled with it, rest of the tabs will automatically go away. Gmail will roll out this feature in a matter of few weeks so let us know your favorite Gmail inbox style in the comments section.


After Google Search, Gmail Joins The Redesign Club

Google is on a redesigning spree!

Few days ago, they rolled out a redesigned Google search for everyone and launched their social gig Google Plus on an invite only basis. Previously, we reported time and again that Google is heavily experimenting with the design and overall usability of search result pages. They removed the I am feeling lucky button, added a black navigation menu bar and introduced quite a few search enhancements for more meaningful results.

Now it’s Gmail’s turn.

Google is rolling out a complete redesign of Gmail in phases and here is how your redesigned Gmail inbox is supposed to look like:


Gmail’s new design aims to gift you a clutter free inbox, more white space between labels, items, individual messages and tries to soothe your eye with bold colors. Red, Blue, Grey, Black…maybe Green and Indigo are next.

If you are still on the older UI and want to test Gmail’s upcoming redesigned interface, follow these steps:

1. Click the Settingsicon at the right top corner of Gmail inbox and choose Mail Settings


2. In the “Settingspage, switch to the Themestab, scroll down and activate the Previewtheme for Gmail. There are two versions: light and dense.

The dense version will give you a compact Gmail inbox with less spacing between different items. If you get tons of email every single day, the dense version will be ideally suited as you will have to scroll a little lesser. However, if you want to get rid of the clutter and want a clean layout – go for the light one.


Gmail says in a blog post that Google wants to provide a unified experience across all Google services. Whether you are using Google search, Google Reader, Google Plus or Gmail – you will see the same design and colors, once the design roll out is pushed globally.

Personally, I am not a fan of boldcolors and I think they distract me a little. But it’s just a matter of time when my eyes gets used to the new Gmail design and I will start loving it anyway.

Note: In order to get Gmail’s redesigned inbox, it is not mandatory to have a Google Plus account. Some users have this confusion that the redesigned Gmail interface is only available to users who have signed up for Google Plus. It’s not true and Google apps users can also test the new dense and light themes of Gmail.

Now considering the fact that Google is rolling out it’s new design across all Google services one by one, how would Google Reader look like in the coming days? One user created a pretty similar mockup of Google Reader here


Who’s next? YouTube?


GeeMail v1.0: An Adobe AIR Desktop Alternative for GMail

geemasil-logoMany a time just opening a browser for the sake of checking your emails isn’t a great option. Specially if you have a browser starting which means losing out on your memory resource. GeeMail is a desktop client for GMail distributed by Sourcebits. This small application helps you to check your email right from the desktop. It allows you to perform elementary email tasks too.

Some of the best features of GeeMail are as follows :

1. No configuration is required to allow communication with your GMail.When you are online just run the application and login as you will from a browser. It will automatically fetch your mails from Google.

2. You compose your mails offline and click send. When GeeMail detects an internet connection it will send your mails automatically.

3. The user interface looks exactly like GMail . So you don’t have to spend time getting used to it.


1. Download GeeMail. The tiny app runs on Adobe AIR platform. Hence you need to have it (Adobe AIR) installed on your PC before you could try GeeMail. In case you don’t have Adobe AIR already, download it here.

2. Run the geemail.air file to install GeeMail in your computer.


3. You need to confirm the installation to start it. Click Install.

4. Installation preferences are already checked for you. Change them if you need to and click Continue.


5. Once the installation is complete, the GeeMail window will open up asking for your username and password. You will to need provide that in order to log in to Gmail just as you do while using a browser. Following is a look at your Gmail account using Geemail.


7. Click Sign outwhen you are done and it will sign you out of your Gmail Account.

During my brief experience with it, it performed a bit slower than the regular Gmail web interface. However, the interface is brilliant and put together in a clean manner unlike other heavy-duty Gmail desktop clients. GeeMail is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac.

Nice, isn’t it? Though it is not offering the extra edge as of now, don’t be surprised if it does so in future. So from this point on, you need Gmail, u won’t need a browser.

CloudMagic: Search GMail and Google Docs Even Faster

The usage of cloud-based services is increasing every day. Though good search features are offered by Google for Gmail and Google Docs, it is not always as fast as desktop search. Also unified search results across multiple services are not provided. CloudMagic was developed with these requirements in mind. It offers extremely fast, offline, search-as-you-type feature for online data.

CloudMagic has been launched with Gmail and Google Docs. CloudMagic can search across multiple Google accounts for presentations, spreadsheets, documents etc., and present a unified search result. It also offers instant email message previews as well as drag-and-drop feature for search results.

Online data is indexed and stored in your local hard disk. Relevant text data is indexed leaving out all kinds of attachments and binary data. Only a fraction of the entire data is indexed. So it occupies very little of your hard disk space. The index gets updated automatically when you are online. The indexed web pages need not be kept open for updating an index. You do not need to store passwords with any third party servers because the index is stored in your local hard disk.

Currently CloudMagic is available for Firefox and Chrome. Here are the installation instructions for both the browsers.

Installation on Mozilla Firefox

1. To install CloudMagic in Firefox click Tools > Add-ons in the menu bar to open the Add-ons window and search for CloudMagic.


2. Click on the Add to Firefoxbutton. The following license agreement window is displayed.


3. Click Accept and Installbutton .Then click on Install Now in the Add-ons window. Once the installation is complete, restart Firefox. The CloudMagic icon will appear in the toolbar as shown below. Click on it to open the CloudMagic page in a new tab.



Installation on Google Chrome

1. To Install the plugin in Chrome open Cloudmagic homepage in Chrome and click the Install Now button.


2. Once the plugin download is complete, click Install as you are prompted to.

3. When the installation is complete the CloudMagic icon is displayed in Chrome.


4. To use CloudMagic you need to add your Gmail accounts first. Click on CloudMagic icon and then select Manage Accounts drop down arrow beside the search box.


5. In the following page, one more click brings you the add account page.

6. Add as many Google accounts you wish.


7. Next click on the Preferences link to set the search preferences. You are now all set to use CloudMagic.


The next time you open your GMail or Google Docs account you find a CloudMagic search box as shown in the screenshot below.


Isn’t that great? If you are power user of Google docs and Gmail, CloudMagic is an indispensable tool. Try once and you’ll love the instant search that the tool provides. With tons of emails stuffed in your mail this certainly makes your life easier. Happy searching. Do let us know if this has made your search experience better.