The ideas behind Google Wave, a real-time communication technology the Net giant ditched, are making something of a comeback as a collaboration tool in Google Docs and Gmail.
Google announced discussions in Google Docs today, a new ability to automate the communications part of collaborations. Google Docs already let multiple people edit a document at the same time and to append comments to a document, but the discussions feature advances those abilities.
For one thing, comments now can be hidden once they've been addressed, not just deleted, and they can be resurrected if necessary.
In Gmail, I love labels. I set up filters to apply labels to incoming e-mail so it's automatically deleted, archived, sorted as travel-related, flagged as important in various ways, or organized by senders I care about.
Evidently I'm one of those early-adopter nerds, though, because Google is taking steps today to get Gmail labels to appeal to a broader set of people.
To do that, it's got a Gmail Labs feature called smart labels. Essentially, smart labels do some of the sifting for you automatically, for example categorizing messages as bulk e-mail or mailing-list postings and filing … Read more
"I have too many different phone numbers for you." "I never know where to reach you." "Calling you is so confusing!"
I wish I could label the words above a hyperbolic chorus that merely points to the perils of being a cell phone reviewer with friends outside of the tech world. Instead, it is a torrent of discontent rushing from the throats of six of my closest friends at a party (my birthday party, no less), gathering momentum as it crashes toward its inevitable destination: me.
It's important to know who you're talking to. But in our e-mail in-boxes, we're deluged with messages from people we don't know, companies we're not familiar with. Even messages from our friends and coworkers could be better handled if we had social or business context with the message.
To see what I mean, try at least one of the these three good tools: Xobni, Rapportive, and a new kid on the block, WhoSent.It. These tools all give you dossiers on the people e-mailing you by using data gleaned from around the Web, including Facebook profiles, Twitter postings, and, for business users, data from apps like Salesforce.com.
Of these apps, Xobni is for Outlook users. Rapportive works nicely with Gmail and Google Apps. WhoSent.It has a clever twist that makes it work with anything.
If you're an Outlook user, get Xobni. Like the other apps, it pulls personal data from Facebook, Twitter, and Linked in, and company data from Hoovers. Xobni also gives you relevant data from within your own e-mail archive: It gives you links to e-mails you've exchanged with the sender, and also shows you which other people the sender communicates with (taken from multi-addressed to: and cc: fields). Xobni's sidebar data panel looks great and is the front-end for a ton of additional info, though on a crowded notebook's screen it can be a little intrusive. … Read more
Thankfully, there are ways to save the contents of your e-mail account online and on your desktop, and I show you three of them in the video above. While I focus on Gmail specifically this time around, the principles are the same for any Web mail service that supports POP forwarding, as most of them do.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Google is giving its Priority Inbox feature more priority.
Speaking here at the Inbox Love event, Gmail product lead Paul McDonald said the service's priority indicators would soon start showing up even in in-boxes of users who have not turned on the Priority Inbox feature.
Gmail users won't be forced into viewing their in-boxes in the segregated Priority view, but McDonald showed how the little yellow flags that indicate a high-priority message will soon be displayed by default in the standard, unprioritized view. Users will be able to train the feature by turning the indicators … Read more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Joshua Baer, CEO of the e-mail company OtherInBox, agitated for a new addition to e-mail standards at the Inbox Love e-mail conference today. He's proposing a standard that would let e-mail messages carry with them the date of their own irrelevance.
E-mails could use the the "x-expires" header to tell the receiving in-box that they become outdated after a certain absolute date, or a certain time relative to when they're sent or received. Baer says this idea has been "bouncing around" for 10 years, but he's learned, "the best … Read more
Microsoft knows you're making throwaway e-mail accounts, and wants to make that process easier.
Today, Hotmail is getting a new feature aimed at "e-mail enthusiasts," which lets anyone create multiple e-mail accounts that can be read, replied to, and managed from their everyday e-mail inbox. These additional e-mail addresses can be had in the same manner as signing up for new accounts, but they require no extra log-ins or upkeep.
The idea is to give users a safe way to provide third parties with an e-mail address, without giving up the address they've provided to family … Read more
Windows Live Messenger is seeing its integration with Facebook chat grow rapidly.
Microsoft announced yesterday in a blog post that close to 18 million people have "connected" Facebook chat to Messenger since August, when it became possible to do so. And those folks have now accumulated more than 2.8 billion minutes of Facebook chat. All told, there have been 440 million chat sessions between Messenger and Facebook in less than six months, Microsoft said.
Microsoft, which owns a small slice of Facebook, became the first instant-messaging provider to allow its users to chat with friends on Facebook … Read more