Gmail Smart Labels

Gmail introduced new smart labels earlier this week as a Labs feature. When you activate this lab, Google will attempt to assign the appropriate label to the message.  At this time, these labels are categorized as:

  • Bulk
  • Forums
  • Notifications
  • Personal
  • Promotions

This is a great first step, but think of how much further it could go!  It would be amazing for Gmail to learn what labels it should apply to different mail depending on who sent it, what the subject is, and other pertinent data.  For instance, our developers always label security updates as a ‘ToDo Item’, as well as a label that indicates what website it is pertinent to.  While our current filters work great for this type of thing, it would make everyone’s lives so much easier if this happened in the background.  So get on that, Google engineers.  A pint of Guinness is in it for you next time we’re at the Googleplex.

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Gmail Experimenting With Desktop Notifications

It looks like Gmail engineers are experimenting with push desktop notifications in Google Chrome and Gmail.  This is a long-awaited feature of web browsers, and will allow web applications to act more like traditional desktop applications.  As more applications become web-based, ditching the traditional fat-client pieces, small things like this will help users with the transition.

Is the new option showing up in your settings?  (Click on image for full-size.)

Here’s a full explanation from the official Gmail blog.

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Gaga for Google

It’s fair to say that we are Google fanboys, or Gaga for Google, or any other variation on that theme.  Whenever we create a new website for a client or for internal purposes, one of the first things we do is signup for a Google Apps for Domains account.  For those unfamiliar with Google Apps, it allows Google to host your email server and provide many other Google services to your users.

Google Apps – Email

One of the best features is the ability to use Google as your email provider.  Not only do you remove the complexity of administering a mail server, but also remove all that email traffic from hitting your web server.  After a few quick steps, your domain is setup and ready for email.

When we setup a domain for email in Google Apps, one of the first things we like to do is setup a ‘catch-all’ account that will catch all of the email that doesn’t match a particular user.  This allows for emails to misspellings like suport (at) hollowdevelopers.com to get to the proper destination without a pesky error message going back to the sender.  Luckily, Google has made this quite easy to accomplish.  However, we go one step further on some ‘vanity’ domains that we own that were never really intended to be used as full websites, but rather are kept to protect brand integrity, etc.  For these domains, we setup a Google Apps account and forward the catch-all email to our main accounts at HollowDevelopers.com.  That way, we only have to check one account for all domains.  Obviously, this isn’t ideal for all operations, but we rely on it heavily to ensure that all of our client emails reach their intended destination.  One hiccup that we have encountered while setting up this forwarding is the missing ‘forwarding’ option in the Google Mail settings after setting up the domain for email for the first time.  If you encounter this, just wait until your MX records have been updated, and Google has had a chance to enable your account for email.

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