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New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels

New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels Wednesday, March 09, 2011 | 10:00 AM Posted by Stanley Chen, Software Engineer People get a lot of email these days. On top of personal messages, there are group mailing lists, social network notifications, credit card statements, newsletters you might have signed up for, and promotional email from a shopping site you used once months ago. Gmail’s filters and labels were invented to help manage the deluge, but while I have about 100 filters that triage and label my incoming mail, most of my friends and family have all their messages in a giant unfiltered inbox. Last year, weContinue readingNew in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels

Xoopit, Or Channels vs Trenches

I’ve been a fan of Xoopit so I guess I am a bit surprised that Yahoo! has bought it. Xoopit, for me, was the future of email. Or a part of it. (For those of you who haven’t used it, or those who didn’t “get” it, Xoopit is a plugin for Gmail—for others, too, but Gmail is the best working one—which extends Gmail’s functionlity: better search for attachments, dovetailing with Facebook so you can see who you’re talking to on Gmail etc.) Xoopit, for me, was/is a way to push email beyond being one channel of communication to being part of a single channel ofContinue readingXoopit, Or Channels vs Trenches

Why You Should Pay for Your Email

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal. (update Dec 2011: Aliencamel is now more, unfortunately, and Fastmail has been sold to Opera.) Using free email accounts like Gmail is commonplace, but not without risk. As Loren Baker, an editor at SearchEngine Journal, found to his cost, when Google disabled his account without warning. (At the time of writing there’s no explanation why his account was suspended, nor whether it had been resolved.) The comments are supportive, but also point out the dangers of relying on a free service for business. This point, in particular, struck home; when it’s “free”, we’re not really the customers, except insofaras we’reContinue readingWhy You Should Pay for Your Email

Google Talk as a Contact Database

  (This is a shorter version of a longer post at my sister blog, ten minut.es, which take a 10 minute look at new and old products, services and websites.) One of the most undersung corners of the Google empire, in my view, is Google Talk, the search giant’s chat application (non Windows users can launch its gadget browser version.) For one thing, it’s so uncluttered it makes every other chat application look like the aftermath of Christmas dinner. It’s smooth, fast and the sound quality is good. But what I think it’s best for are the features that aren’t really features. (Most of theseContinue readingGoogle Talk as a Contact Database

A Beginner’s Guide to Managing E-mail

(This is the text of my weekly Loose Wire Service column, written mostly for newcomers to personal technology, and syndicated to newspapers like The Jakarta Post. Editors interested in carrying the service please feel free to email me.) I’m always horrified when I see people’s e-mail inboxes. They are always so full — brimming with messages that should have been answered, or should have been deleted, or should never have arrived in the first place. It’s not the way to work, since you’re bound to lose stuff that way and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll get steadily more and more depressed about all theContinue readingA Beginner’s Guide to Managing E-mail

Standing Alone vs, Well, Running

Why is everyone switching to the likes of Gmail and Google Reader, even when they aren’t sure why, or that they want to? The most compelling reason, I think, is the ease with which you can get up and running if you need to switch. Your computer crashes, or you’re away from it. Or you’ve bought a new computer. Suddenly you no longer need to find your RSS feeds file. Your email settings. Import old mailboxes. I installed Vista on a new computer just now and (after a Vista crash) I was checking my email and reading my feeds almost immediately. That never happened before.Continue readingStanding Alone vs, Well, Running

Is Gmail Not The First To Scan Emails?

(See this later posting for a response from MSN and Yahoo.) Here’s possible evidence that Gmail is not alone in scanning your email in order to target ads at you. MarketingVOX (‘The Voice of Online Marketing’) reports that “the strange mix of privacy advocates, anti-globalists and anti-commercial groups that seem to be swarming on Google in hopes of preventing the company from providing its new Gmail service might be surprised to find out that the other free email providers already do exactly what the groups seem to find offensive.” It says that Yahoo Mail “allows for searching emails”, while Hotmail “appears to target ads basedContinue readingIs Gmail Not The First To Scan Emails?

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