Results tagged “GMail” from kwc blog

Shortcuts, etc...

|
  • Gmail: '[' and ']' let you archive and move to the next/previous message in your inbox with a single keystroke. I'm still waiting for the hosted Gmail to get the recent Gmail update with this shortcut.
  • iPhone Safari scrolling: two fingers lets you scroll an individual frame. The iPhone may be intuitive, but this had me stumped until today's TUAW post.

Google bits

|

Update: my kwc.org account has IMAP support now. For the first time I can send e-mail from my iPhone using that account. I also don't have to go through the duplicate effort of deleting e-mails twice anymore -- though that could sometimes be a plus.

for Kolo, I've posted a couple more screenshots of the "Manage Domain" screens for hosted GMail.

More on hosted GMail

|

Update: more screenshots

Here's a screenshot of my customized kwc.org gmail, slightly altered to block out some visible names (yes, that is my e-mail address if you wish to contact me). There's not much to review here that hasn't been said before: it's GMail. It feels a little cooler because it's my GMail (notice my little custom graphic at the top), but otherwise it's plain-old GMail: 2GB, chat, etc... My account has been 'verified' so I'm now sending and receiving e-mail with no problems other than the slight GMail slowdowns that I've noticed on both of my accounts today (@kwc.org and @gmail.com).

I'm still waiting for the day when we can get rid of our corporate IMAP mail servers and replace them with GMail boxes or something similar. I'm tired of slow search and trying to keep things filed in folders.

kwc.gm.screenshot.jpg

At last, @kwc.org e-mail (Gmail hosted)

|

Update: screenshots and more screenshots

I've never had @kwc.org e-mail addresses before. I'm just too lazy. I also prefer Web e-mail and very few options exist that would be superior to my regular GMail account. Now, in a couple short minutes -- short enough to do lazily -- I have a GMail-hosted @kwc.org account. I'm still in the setup process. I can receive, but not send e-mail (they are verifying my account or something).

The details I've gleaned so far: * you can login to both your @gmail and your own hosted account simultaneously * you get up to 10 e-mail accounts free * 2GB (I don't know if this is per address or total yet) * you can set your own logo to replace the GMail logo * you can enable/disable chat across accounts * you can customize the sign-in box color

I've always wondered why other free-mail services (hotmail, yahoo) haven't made similar moves. There is a wretched land grab that occurs with any of these services where everyone scrambles to get their screenname of choice; the late-comers are left with bob1230923x@atleastitwasfree.com . About once a month I get mis-sent e-mail for a Kimberly or a Kevin or some other poor soul would probably has some meaningless digit appended to their account name.

With domain-hosted e-mail, GMail now has effectively infinite screennames for its users. I get to have a screenname that makes sense (guess my e-mail, it's really, really easy), no one else accidentally gets my e-mail, and other people should hopefully be able to easily remember the address.

Disable that annoying GMail popup

|

gmail.gifupdate: novak has pointed out the easier "standard without chat" link at the bottom of your GMail inbox that will completely disable the chat functionality (including annoying popups).

GMail Chat has finally migrated to all of my GMail accounts. I don't really plan on using the chat functionality, so mostly I'm annoyed as the update also includes a popup window that appears anytime you hover over someone's name. It seems really, really, silly to me to see an "Invite to Chat" button when I hover over an Amazon purchase confirmation.

If you're as annoyed as I am and you have Firefox+Greasemonkey installed, Garett Rogers has written a Greasemonkey script that banishes the popup to the netherworld.

Warning: it eliminates all popup windows, including the one for the Quick Contacts pane. The popup window in the contacts pane is the only way I know managing your Quick Contacts, so if you still need to use the chat functionality you may wish to do without.

Eliminate Gmail Chat popup windows Greasemonkey script

Neat Gmail feature, never noticed it

|

Turns out that there is a 'Map This' link that appears in the right-column of Gmail if you're reading an e-mail with an address in it. There's also similar links like "Track USPS package." I found out about it here, but according to their help documentation this feature may have been there since last August. Nice feature, but the ad column isn't the best place to get me to notice it.

One more G.Mail in.vite

|

I've got another G.Mail in.vite that I can hand out. I debated polling people via e-mail, but I think a fair metric is that whoever endures reading my blog should get rewarded :)

So who's interested? Please respond via e-mail. Also, please only respond if you intend to use G.Mail as your primary e-mail account, i.e. if you are currently using Hotmail or Yahoo as you main e-mail, then you are a likely candidate; if you run your own mail server, please hold your request.

Note: this entry will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3... 2, 1, BOOM

First real test of GMail conversations

|

As I've said before, GMail can get conversation threads wrong when it inappropriately thinks that two messages are part of the same thread, but I had my first test of when it got it really right.

One of the mailing lists I'm on just got into a debate about Tillman and other war issues. At current count, the number of e-mails in the thread are 40, and likely to grow even further, but GMail is keeping them all nice and organized under one heading. I've previously had the 40 e-mail experience in both Yahoo! and threaded e-mail readers, and it's very easy to judge GMail as the winner. Other e-mail readers make it difficult to go back to what other people said without opening multiple windows and arranging them. GMail lets me view as many responses as I want in chronological order and keep others collapsed, all in the same window. It is also remarkably easy to read the thread as your are composing your response, as the composition window is inside of the thread.

Also, I initially selected "Reply" for one of my responses, but then decided halfway through that I really wanted "Reply All." GMail let me click on the Reply All button and added in the additional e-mail addresses without losing the text I had already written.

G-Mail + Safari

|

GMail initial thoughts

|

Here's are my initial thoughts on GMail, after having used it for a day. This isn't very long, but it at least has allowed me to explore some of the more prominent features of the service. I may post another review later on.

I currently have both Hotmail and Yahoo accounts, both of which I use actively for different purposes. In my summary, I will try to compare GMail to these services to see how it stacks up. I will emphasize here, and again later on, that GMail definitely is beta; some of the things I complain about here I expect to improve over time, and some of the things I praise here may get even cooler. With their Orkut venture, Google was clearly responsive to user feedback, so I would expect to see changes made to GMail as well.

The Really Good

Search:

The search interface is the nice, simple experience you would expect from Google. I assume it will be fast once I have more e-mails to search across, but I don't know for sure.

Organizing:

GMail allows you to assign as many "labels" as you want to a particular e-mail. These labels act like folders, except that an e-mail can have multiple labels, which is very useful. I found this type of organization very useful in Photoshop Album.

In general, there are three basic ways which you can organize a message, which seem nice:
1) archiving it, which removes it from the Inbox. (All e-mail is always available under the "All Mail" menu)
2) marking it with a star. I use this in Photoshop Album to mark my favorite photos quickly, and I imagine that it will be equally useful for e-mail messages. the semantic meaning of the star is entirely up to you. Starredd messages are then available under the "Starred" menu listing.
3) labelling the message. This is an important feature, and I'm surprised that I haven't seen an e-mail client that already does this. It would be very useful for work e-mail, where I deal with a lot of cross-project e-mail

You can also report a message as spam.

The User Interface

The UI is extremely fast. They use a lot of tricks previously seen on sites like Orkut and in Google's personalized search, such that you don't end up in the "Select -> Submit" cycle that dominates most Web-based e-mail clients. They also preload common pages, like the compose window, so that when you click on a link, the page often loads immediately. The result of these two optimizations is that you can actually organize and manipulate your e-mails with ease, which is something I can't say for either Yahoo or Hotmail.

There is also no clutter in GMail. Something like this doesn't show up on a feature checklist, but when you use it, it's something that you immediately appreciate. Hotmail, especially, has a clutter problem, and Yahoo has it to some extent as well. With Hotmail, I often have to pause for a few seconds to locate the button I want to press. With GMail, the non-essential parts of your screen are the nice, unobtrusive white we expect from Google.

This is how I would summarize the UIs of the three services:
- Hotmail tries to look like a client-side e-mail application, but behaves like a slow Web-based application
- Yahoo looks like a Web-based application, and is one
- GMail looks like a Web-based application, but behaves like a client-side application

Infinite Subaddresses

You can add "+whatever" to your e-mail address when you sign up for accounts. For example, when I sign up for an Amazon account, I can specify "kwc+spam@gmail.com" as my account name (NOTE: that is not my actual GMail account). This doesn't prevent spammers from stripping off the "+" part and figuring out your real address, but it does let you setup useful filtering rules so that when I do see e-mail with the kwc+spam To: address, I can file it appropriately.

Misc:

There is an autocomplete engine for typing in e-mail addresses. It matches either the name of the person, or the e-mail address. This is extremely useful and brings GMail on-par with e-mail applications like Outlook and Mozilla.

The spell checker on GMail is also friggin' awesome. It is far superior to Hotmail's and Yahoo's checkers, and I would even venture to say that it's faster and easier to use than my Mozilla Thunderbird spell checker. You click on "check spelling," and it instantly underlines the words that are mispelled. You can then click on those words and pop-down menu appears with spelling alternatives. I am amazed they were able to accomplish this so well.

The Good

There are a lot of little tidbits that GMail throws in that make you wonder why other services haven't done them. They are so simple, and show that Google put a bit of thought into the e-mail problem. Here are some examples:

- Google includes the first several lines of each message next to its title in the Inbox, which is useful for identifying spam or poorly labelled messages. (Hotmail and Yahoo do not do this)

- The login page is encrypted by default (Hotmail and Yahoo are not)

- no annoying redirects on URLs, unlike Hotmail which records every URL you click on in an e-mail message. (Hotmail also opens all URLs inside of a frame with a Hotmail banner on top, which makes it harder to bookmark).

Slightly Bad

It took me awhile to figure out how to delete individual e-mail messages instead of entire conversations, because the option for deleting individual messages is hidden under "more options," whereas the menu option for deleting an entire thread is in the pull-down menu that's always visible at the top of the message. I know that there philosophy is that you won't have to delete messages, but this disjoint + hidden menu fooled me for awhile.

It would also be nice if there were some import mechanisms. I don't blame them for not having import, but it would be nice. It's really not intersting testing GMail's search capabilities when I have so few messages to search across.

Bad

Problems with threading:

GMail relies on messages being organized by conversation/thread, but it doesn't provide you the tools for correcting it when it incorrectly groups messages correctly. I don't believe that GMail can possibly determine the e-mail thread correctly all of the time, and I've already found two cases where it does not.

(1) It is common practice for people to find an old e-mail with the recipient list they want, and use that to write a new e-mail. I tried this within GMail, and GMail grouped my reply in the original conversation thread, even though I completely changed the subject line.

(2) I forwarded an e-mail from Yahoo twice to my GMail account, because the first time I didn't include the forward the way I wanted to. GMail grouped these two messages together. This case isn't as bad as (1), but it is incorrect.
I'm hoping that in the future, final release of this, there are more tools to correct GMail when it's wrong.

Attachments:

It doesn't appear to handle e-mail forward attachments as well as I would like. I initially forwarded some e-mail from my Yahoo account to GMail using the "forward as attachment" setting, which is the default. Instead of displaying the text of the attachment in e-mail window, you have to click on the attachment, which then opens up a Notepad window, which, of course, doesn't display the e-mail message very well.

Contacts

The contacts UI is rather pathetic right now -- it doesn't appear that it got much lovin'. You can currently enter in a name, e-mail address, and notes per person. My Yahoo account has fields for phone numbers, addresses, etc..., and it also integrates this information into it's IM client. In my mind, at least, an address book and e-mail go hand-in-hand, and it's difficult for either to be great unless they are well integrated.

Bugs

GMail appears to lockup Mozilla's autocomplete sometimes. When this happens, I'm not really able to type anything. This isn't necessarily GMail's bug, but at the same time they need to be aware of it as it is frustrating to have to leave a page and come back again so that your cursor starts working again.

I've also had issues with using the star labelling mechanism. I would click on the star, but when I click on the Starred folder, there would be no messages.

I've also had issues with the Contacts folder. The field for entering in the name of the contact disappeared on me, and I had to leave the page and come back in order to re-enter the contact.

The spell checker doesn't check the title of the message.

Spam:

I currently have my e-mail forwarded to both GMail and my Yahoo mail. Yahoo count is currently 11/11 in combating spam, while GMail is 5/11. It was a bit of a surprise for me to start seeing so many spam e-mails again. (Note: My Yahoo account usually lets about two-five spams through a day on average).

I'm hoping the spam issue is simply an issue of training and tuning, and that as I use the account GMail's filters will improve. Yahoo has the benefit of millions of users, many of whom submit spam to them. GMail's users probably still number in the thousands.

The Unknown

I have yet to see a single ad on my own e-mails. The only e-mail that had any AdWords was the initial e-mail from the GMail Team. In that message, at least, the ads weren't the least bit distracting, and there was also a "relevant pages" list that I presume might come in handy, but can't say for certain.

There is also concern over GMail's privacy terms. Personally, I really don't care if they run their engine over my e-mails to show me text ads or to find spam, because the experience is still better than Hotmail and Yahoo, which displays gigantic ad banners. Also, I wonder why there isn't similar uproar over the fact that Hotmail tracks every single URL you click on in an e-mail message. A 1GB of e-mail per person is going to cost Google several dollars per person, and their answer for paying for that doesn't seem very offensive to me.

Summary

You have to see GMail in action to appreciate how fast it is, and how nice of an application it has the potential to be. The capabilities for searching and organizing e-mail is also something that I have longed for in an e-mail application. There are still some bugs, which are a result of its ambitious javascript, and I imagine that those will be fixed over time.

I anticipate that I will use GMail as my mail e-mail account in the near future, but for now there are some final bits of polishing that I need. There's no way of receiving notifications when you have new e-mail, for example. It would be nice if the Google Deskbar was modified to provide this sort of capability. The ability to import my Yahoo e-mail and address book will also be a stumbling block. If I forward my e-mails over from Yahoo, I will lose the sender information, as well as the temporal information of when I original received the e-mail. Perhaps if GMail improves it's parsing of forwarded messages, or allows me to extract the forwarded message as a separate message, this transition might be easier. For now, though, I see no easy way of transitioning.

Update: Please do not post requesting a GMail account. I do not work at Google, and I do not have any accounts to give.

Goodbye Yahoo?

|

After an act of shameless begging on my part, Jason Shellen hooked me up with a GMail account. I will be posting some reviews as soon as I've gotten some significant use out of it. Step one will be setting up my mit e-mail to start forwarding it there as well.

As a favor to me, please do not send e-mail to my yahoo.com account. Use my alum.mit.edu account if you have that in your address books.

Gmail screenshots

|

heerforce posted his initial comments on his new GMail account, which reminded me that I promised someone that I would post some screenshots of GMail, so here you go. It appears to have the same, clean UI you would expect from Google, without the ugliness of Yahoo! Google appears to have taken some interface cues from Photoshop Album (or they share a common ancestor). You can star e-mails, and instead of folders they have "labels." My guess is that you'll be able to apply multiple labels to a single e-mail, which feels much more appropriate for e-mail.

April Fools roundup

|

Google is hiring. In related news, according to CNN, despite the corny press release, Google's Gmail, which offers 1GB of mail storage, is real.

EFF and Department of Justice Merger

PC EZ-Bake Oven

Just about every article posted on Slashdot, including IF Quake

Speaking of Slashdot, Gadget Madness was Slashdotted

Microsoft Halts Plans for Xbox 2, Halo 2 in Jeopardy

AMD to drop Athlon 64 taxonomy for Intel's

Update:
Orkut is adding a random "desires" field to people's profiles. Mine is: "desires: take the red pill, get away with it." Here are some more:

- meta's: figure out how Cookie Monster eats all those cookies when he's only a puppet, blow my nose silently
- pqbon's: be the last woman on earth, find a laptop that fits on my lap
- remember that "charitable" is not some new type of furniture, grow another limb
- cause a wardrobe malfunction, win second place in a beauty contest (collect $10)
- learn that it's okay to share, surf the waves on Titan
- a +2 broadsword of slaying with +3 to dexterity and charisma, have as many friends in real life as on orkut
- speak at least twenty fictional languages, learn how to spell "Supercalifragilistic-".... whatever.
- be the last woman on earth, oo ee oo aa aa ting tang walla walla bing bang
- isolate 3 milligrams of 98.3% pure praseodymium , getting that energizer bunny to stop

Ask Jeeves in skivvies

ThinkGeek :: PC Hamster Case Mod

Leaked Episode III footage

and many, many more