Gmail - New Features
Google recently added some nifty new features to Gmail, their free web-based email service. Here's a look a what's new in Gmail...
What's New in Gmail?
Many people use Gmail as a primary email account for personal and business purposes, instead of the email service provided by their ISP. The popularity of Gmail has skyrocketed over the last few years, as people discover the convenience of web-based email and the benefits of not being held hostage by any Internet service provider.
But wait... there's more! Google has recently updated Gmail to include some new features, which include whitelisting, colored labels, new emoticons, chat improvements, virus scanning and the ability to access email from other email accounts. (Sorry, no free steak knives.) Here's a closer look at each of these new Gmail features.
For quite a while, I've been hoping for some sort of whitelisting feature in Gmail, to prevent stuff that I know is definitely not spam from ending up in the Spam folder. Lacking that feature, I've been scanning my Spam folder for false positives -- mail from certain people, or mail that contains certain keywords, dutifully marking them "Not Spam" and moving those messages to my Inbox. But oh happy day, there's a new Never send it to Spam option in the Create a Filter dialog. Now I can create filters to prevent the good stuff from going into the spam bucket.
It would be nice if Gmail would simply not mark an incoming message as Spam, when the sender is in my address book. What about it, Google Guys?
Colored LabelsOne of the visual improvements that Gmail has implemented is the option to use colored labels to organize your Gmail messages. Labels, which are like email folders on steroids, are not new, but the ability to specify a color for a label is a handy new feature. To use this option all you have to do is click on the little swatch located next to the label, then select the color you want for that label. A little colored block with the label name will appear next to messages with that label.
Gmail Chat with AIM Users
Gmail hat a built-in chat feature, but now you can also chat with AIM users. Gmail uses Open AIM to connect Gmail users with their AIM account. When you select this new option a popup window will appear that will allow you to sign into your AIM account. Once signed in an AIM Buddies list will pop up and it will be populated with your AIM Buddies. After your list appears all you have to do is click on the Buddy you want to talk to, a talk field will be activated and you will be able to start typing in your messages.
New Chat EmoticonsIf you enjoy adding emoticons to your IMs then you will be happy to learn that Gmail now has 19 emoticons that you can use. Some of the emoticons you can add to your Gmail chat messages include: <3 (love) :(|) (it's a monkey!) and :P (face with tongue out). In order for the new emoticons to work, both people involved in the chat need to be using Gmail chat. (If you're new to emoticons, just turn your head sideways and everything will become clear.)
Get Gmail from Other Accounts
Gmail has added to features especially to better fit the mobile lifestyle people now have. One change that they have implemented is to allow people to access up to five different email accounts from their Gmail account. To use this option will need to enter the POP3 account address for each account you want to access via your Gmail account. This allows you to pull mail from your other POP3-based inboxes and read everything in your Gmail account. That's handy if you have ISP email accounts that can't be forwarded to another address. Use this feature, and pull it all together under the Gmail unbrella. Gmail also allows you to customize your "From" address so that when you send emails from your Gmail account it will look like it came from the POP3 account that you want.
Safety is another topic the Gmail addressed in these recent updates. Now, like most other email accounts, they offer automatic virus scanning. Their new virus scanning program automatically scans both incoming and outgoing messages that have attachments. If a virus is detected in an incoming message, Gmail will try to clean the virus from the email. If it is successful you will get your message, if the virus can't be removed you will received an error message. If the Gmail virus scanning program detects a virus in one of the emails that you are trying to send you will get an error message, the system will not try to remove it.
Gmail also has anti-phishing built-in, so if you get a bogus message that looks like it's from eBay, PayPal, your bank or the IRS, you'll get a warning that it might not be safe to click any links contained in the message.
In addition to the above improvements, Gmail has made several others. For more information on all of the updates offered by Gmail visit the Gmail news page. Are you using any of the new Gmail features? Is there something missing from Gmail that you want to see? Post a comment below if you want to rant, rave or ask a question about Gmail...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 Aug 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Gmail - New Features (Posted: 30 Aug 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved