Gmail’s “Add to Calendar”

A while back, Google unveiled a new feature in Gmail that automatically scans the message currently being viewed, checks for a date and time in the message body, and, if found, adds a link allowing you to add the item directly to your Google Calendar (as shown in the image on the right). Lately, I’ve noticed that that algorithm has improved greatly. I used to see the “Add to calendar” feature only appear in very rare cases, but I am now seeing it almost every time I am viewing a message that I want to add to my calendar.

Yahoo! Updates Mail Terms and Conditions

Unless you’ve been hiding in a bunker all day today, you’ve probably heard that Yahoo! has updated the terms and conditions for using Yahoo! Mail. Apparently Yahoo! will now systematically scan the contents of your mail messages in order to better target the ads they place in your mail. The update apparently includes the following statement:

Organize Your Gmail Messages

A while back, I decided to start setting up some filters in one of my Gmail-based accounts to help organize my messages. I was accustomed to the way filters and rules work in traditional e-mail systems, so I was surprised to find out that I still received copies of the messages in my Inbox, as well as the folder (label) I’d set up.

I can completely understand the value of a setup like that, but it wasn’t what I’d wanted at the time. I wanted the e-mail messages to be delivered into just the folder I’d set up, without copies of those messages cluttering up my Inbox.

After a bit of help from friends on Friendfeed and Twitter, I figured out how to stop the copies from arriving in my Inbox. It’s pretty simple, really; and I’m not sure why I didn’t notice it when I was first setting up the filters.

Minor Bug in Buzz?

A few days ago, I opened the mobile version of Google Voice on my iPhone so I could send an SMS message. While I was there, I noticed that Buzz was available from the list of mobile apps I could utilize while logged in. I popped on over and checked it out. I posted a status message, checked some of the posts that had been made within my geographical area and found a couple of people to follow.

Later, I logged into my Google account on my home computer and headed on over to Buzz in my browser. I was confronted with a button that said “Try Buzz in Gmail.” I don’t have Gmail enabled in the Google account I normally use, but I decided to click the button and see where it took me anyway. As I suspected, I was eventually (after logging in again) taken to a page asking me to sign up for a Gmail account.

Google Hosted Apps and Sending Mail From a Web Server

Recently, I discovered that while hosting your e-mail services on Google has its advantages, it also brings with it some minor inconveniences. When you use a script on most Web servers to send e-mail messages, if your e-mail is not hosted locally on that server, your e-mail messages will never arrive in your inbox. Instead, the mail gets delivered to an e-mail account on your Web server if there is one; if there isn’t, the message gets rejected and goes into a black hole.

Gmail Adds New Features

gmail-logoThe Gmail team has been busy working on new features for the Web-based e-mail service. Over the last two days, two major new features have been added.

First of all, a feature to mark part of a conversation unread has been added to the “labs” (the beta test version of Gmail). This new feature will allow you to read a portion of an e-mail thread, then mark all newer messages as unread. I still wish it was possible to mark specific messages within a thread as unread (you can do so when using a desktop e-mail client with Gmail’s IMAP interface, but you can’t do so through the Web interface of Gmail).

The second new feature, which is available to all Gmail users, is the ability to merge duplicate contacts. If you have multiple contacts set up for the same person, you can click a single button and have Gmail attempt to automatically identify all of those duplicates and merge them where appropriate. Maybe you set up a different contact for each e-mail address or phone number the person has; or maybe you set up an e-mail contact through Gmail and a phone contact through Google Voice. With the new feature, you can easily merge them without having to edit each individual contact.

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