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Google Businesses The Internet Communications

Gmail Adds Features 613

Posted by timothy
from the it-seems-to-work-well dept.
tommertron writes "Gmail rolled out a host of new features today. Big improvement in the contacts list, with the ability to search it and organize messages according to contact. Also, you can now forward all incoming gmail to any email account, but, according to Google, this feature is only 'free for now.' Does this mean gmail will start charging for some features? Meanwhile, Internet News is reporting that on Monday, some gmail accounts contained an Atom link for reading your email summaries in a news reader. Also meanwhile, my decrepit Hotmail account still hasn't given me that promised 250 megabytes ..."
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Gmail Adds Features

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  • Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by (54)T-Dub (642521) * <tpaineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:20PM (#10446253) Journal
    Of course they are going to charge you to forward your email. Otherwise you could use their great spam filter and bandwidth without having to see their adds. And what do you expect from a Free email service. At least you can have some confidence that they won't sell your email address.

    Queue bitching about targeted advertising.....
    • Re:Duh! (Score:2, Informative)

      by tolan-b (230077)
      It's not the targetted advertising that gets to me so much as my searches and my emails being logged against the same unique cookie id in a country where the government wants to be able to get at all my records without even the ISP (google) legally being able to appeal to a judge...
    • My friend runs this IMAP [logenv.org] and with the wording "It's free during the test", its given hope that google will implement IMAP(as a pay service) when it launches.

      Brin talked about Imap for gmail in april but after that it seems there has not been talk about it at google. The most important features are in this order- IMAP, folders and retrieval of mail from other accounts to gmail.

      There are other feature requests which you can check here [grytoyr.net]
    • Re:Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @10:45PM (#10447107) Homepage Journal
      Forwarding all your mail still needs you to have 1gb to store it in somewhere else. You will not have its search engine, its conversation mode, and even its labels (thing you can get thru imap, afaik). Gmail package is not just spam filter, 1gb capacity and so on, is all the features combined. Even the targetted ads is potentially a feature.

      Using gmail just because its spam filter is like buying a Ferrari just because it looks nice. Is the whole engine that worths.

  • by Propagandhi (570791) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:20PM (#10446254) Journal
    Opera is my browser of choice (I've found it to be more stable than Firefox, if not as full featured) and so far it hasn't been compatible with G-Mail. Does this upgrade improve support for my favorite browser?
  • I still don't understand why I can't middle click on a message to open it in a new window...

    A one window view into my mbox is not sufficient.

  • Oh... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tommertron (640180) * on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:21PM (#10446261) Homepage Journal
    Forgot to mention that they updated the gmail notifier. New icon, and a little better. Updated automatically though, without my permission...
    • Re:Oh... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bricklets (703061)
      Gmail Notifier for my system did not update automatically. Rather, an error message (-1 code) popped up saying it couldn't check my mail. I installed the new version myself. Personally, I'd be a bit scared if it did update itself considering I don't *recall* having that setup.

      Oh, and I hate the new blue icon. I thought the red icon from before stood out more. Personal preference I suppose.
      • by Otto (17870)
        I just looked at mine, and the version claims to be 1.0.21.0. No -1 error, no obvious automatic update, nothing.

        So I just now right-clicked it, selected exit, and then restarted it. Voila. Blue icon, version claims to be 1.0.23.0.

        It's clear that it *does* have an automatic update function, and no, it does not have an option anywhere to turn that off.
  • don't be greedy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:21PM (#10446265) Journal
    Man, google gives you 1GB of free space, and you want free forwarding too? poor baby.

    gmail is one nice web application... I do some web stuff part time, and I'm currently picking it apart trying to figure out how it works... no luck so far, but I've determined they use a shit-ton of frames ;) Can't wait to check out the new features though.
    • Re:don't be greedy (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tommertron (640180) *
      Wait a second... where in the article did I complain? Just a speculation. Hell, I probably would pay for gmail features if they added them, or restricted some of the ones they have now.
    • Re:don't be greedy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PickyH3D (680158)
      It's really simple actually and quite ingenius for the bandwidth speed. For instance, if you go under IE and right click -> View Source, then you see some random looking gibberish. However, if you go under View -> Source, then you see it referencing a JavaScript file. Just look at the [obfuscated] JavaScript file and voila.
  • Atom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by javabsp (591265) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:21PM (#10446269) Homepage
    I saw the Atom link, but upon clicking on it, only a skeleton atom file is shown. It could be that I didn't have any unread mail...
    • Re:Atom (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Delta-9 (19355) *
      Here is the atom icon: I happened to post to another place about this. I have a screen shot as well, but that's kinda useless:

      http://gmail.google.com/gmail/images/atom-badge. gi f
  • Whither standards? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kgbspy (696931) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:23PM (#10446276)
    I agree with Dave Winer, the author of the RSS format. With RSS feeds becoming more and more popular across a whole raft of different applications (including tasty new integration with Firefox [mozilla.org]), surely combining the two formats (Atom and RSS) would be beneficial, lest we end up with another VHS/Beta or DVD+/-RW/RAM situation... Rather than have the two battle it out to the death, why not get the best of both worlds?
    • by prockcore (543967)
      With RSS feeds becoming more and more popular across a whole raft of different applications (including tasty new integration with Firefox), surely combining the two formats (Atom and RSS) would be beneficial, lest we end up with another VHS/Beta or DVD+/-RW/RAM situation..

      Why not just have the readers support both? Firefox supports both RSS and Atom feeds. Although there are technically 3 different RSS formats because of the non-backwards compatible changes they keep making.

      I hope they'll stick with RS
    • by ar32h (45035)
      First off, Firefox also includes Atom support.
      Secondly, Atom [atomenabled.org] is more than a syndication format. Atom also includes a counterpart of the Blogger API for authoring. Thus you only have to deal with one standards group for both authoring and distribution.
      Thirdly, Atom is a open standard with an open development and review system, unlike RSS.
      Lastly, the RSS which? 0.9x, 1.0, 2.0, they are all quite different.
    • by Quantum Jim (610382) <jfcst24NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @02:33AM (#10448230) Homepage Journal

      ...surely combining the two formats (Atom and RSS) would be beneficial, lest we end up with another VHS/Beta or DVD+/-RW/RAM situation...

      That's actually why Atom was first proposed. After Netscape lost control of the standard, RSS spintered into seven incompatible versions [diveintomark.org]! Atom is an attempt to merge and stabilize the best of "Really Simple Syndication", "RDF Site Summary", and everything in between. The reason Google uses Atom, is because Blogger is a major sponser. Personally, I think Atom has an impressive design (although some is still a little clunky). Note that the final draft has yet to be published, as Atom isn't even 1.0 yet!

  • ATOM feed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pridkett (2666) <slashdotNO@SPAMwagstrom.net> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:23PM (#10446278) Homepage Journal
    So I noticed the big red new features thing yesterday, clicked on it and saw a message saying they were adding new features, but nothing about them. I also had the mysterious ATOM feed as a button on my sidebar. I clicked on it and saw that it was a feed of new messages in my mail box. "This is a cool step in providing cool technology to the masses," I thought to myself.

    Alas, it had one major problem. No API. So there was no way that I could actually subscribe. This is because the URL was non-descript and requires an authentication (as I would hope a feed of my new messages would). Today I went back to take a screenshot of the new sidebar and blog about my adventure in GmailAtom land, and the link was gone. Sad. Here's to hoping that it comes back soon.
  • by Rebar (110559) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:24PM (#10446285)
    OK, so who still does NOT have a gmail account? I have two invites left - what goodness will you do to humanity if I give you one?

    AND - if gmail use is growing exponentially (I got 6 invites after 2 weeks use, and of 4 invites sent out, there are 2 new users), how long until eveyone on earth is buried in gmail accounts?

  • by Rie Beam (632299) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:24PM (#10446286) Journal
    Time to test Google's true capabilities...two GMail accounts fowarding messages to each other...

    "Send"
    • Re:Time To Test (Score:5, Informative)

      by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:29PM (#10446328)
      Won't work. They use a "Delivered-To:" header, like Postfix (and most current mailers?).
  • POP 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    I will always like pop 3. They just dont fill up, and even if you can only use them on 1 computer, I have a laptop, so i can just take it with me.
    • Re:POP 3 (Score:2, Interesting)

      by FiloEleven (602040)
      I used to be a POP kid. 'Course, I didn't have a laptop. I love the fact that I can get my mail anywhere, which you said was not a concern of yours.

      The kicker, though, is the killer interface. Conversations are great, though they're missing some key features, such as a way to add new people to the conversation (present) and send them the entire contents of the conversation before they joined (not present). I have, of course, suggested this to the google kids.

      It's also very nice to be able to find anyt
      • I don't think it'll be much of a strech for a mass mailer to strip descriptors from e-mail addresses.
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:29PM (#10446322) Homepage Journal
    While its features are more iterative than revolutionary, I believe GMail is the logical next step in how we all do e-mail.

    We are all inundated with e-mail nowadays. Semantic parsing and bayesian filtering are commonplace, but no conventional e-mail client allows automatic grouping by subject in quite the manner of GMail. I enjoy the ability to search messages rather than arbitrarily tossing them into folders to be forgotten. Indeed, e-mail has called out for intelligent grouping for some time now.

    It opens up some fantastic marketing opportunities as well. Already they exploit this with the excellent GoogleAds along the side of the screen that have relevance to the e-mail one is perusing; however, with the gradual acceptance of commercial e-mail by people and by legislation I believe there is a great deal of future potential in selling/buying general profiles of e-mail accounts using this same data. As search engines and e-mail combine, the quality of the search interface becomes a mute point; the most interesting information is pushed to the user based on relevance to their online lives.

    The only real concern is privacy, but I'll bet it's possible to sell really general-type information without violating any policies -- thus using advertising to continue to deliver the kinds of features users expect without costing them a dime. If only they could do something like this with online backup/recovery as well.

    • by groomed (202061) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:58PM (#10446544)
      Threading of messages has been around for decades. Searching is easy and fast on modern hardware. Storage is perhaps not quite a dime per GB yet but that day is not far off. Spam detection technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. The only benefit of gmail is that it's accessible anywhere you can access the WWW. That's cool, but personally I much prefer to SSH into my home machine.

      I'm not trying to downplay the significance of gmail. It's a very nice application. Even if it wasn't, new sources of throw-away email accounts are always welcome. And it keeps Hotmail in check. But grandiose proclamations like "I believe GMail is the logical next step in how we all do e-mail", well, that's just liturgical bullshit.
  • Subaddresses (Score:5, Informative)

    by sploo22 (748838) <dwahler@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:29PM (#10446325)
    One feature that's been there since the beginning, but apparently isn't mentioned anywhere on the site, is unlimited sub-addressing. Say I sign up for foo@gmail.com; I automatically receive mail addressed to foo+work@gmail.com, foo+urgent@gmail.com, foo+slashdot@gmail.com, or whatever I make up. Then I can filter or forward messages based on these criteria. Why isn't this nice feature getting any press?
  • by Froze (398171) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:33PM (#10446357) Homepage
    I just recently acquired a gmail account and the one feature that I have not been able to find anything on is permenancy(sp?). I would like to use gmail exclusively but without any gaurantee that I will always have my account it is a step that I am not willing to take just yet.

    Get your Free flascreen whatevers here! [freeflatscreens.com]
    • I sent them this question about two months ago. Here is the reply I received:

      Hello Alice,

      Thank you for your message.

      Once you have a Gmail account, it is valid. This means that even after Gmail becomes more widely available, you will be able to keep your account, and your username will remain unchanged. Hopefully, this eases your concern.

      We hope you enjoy Google's approach to email.

      Sincerely,

      The Gmail Team
      • by ari_j (90255) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @01:59AM (#10448101)
        They must have replied more nicely and quickly due to your gender. It took me almost a year to get this response:

        Dear Ari,

        Once you have a Gmail account, it is valid until we decide to give it to a female requesting the same user ID. As Gmail becomes more widely available, we plan to use this to accomplish several goals.

        1. To ensure a balanced user base, consisting mostly of attractive young geek girls who feel empowered because they stole accounts from men
        2. To deprive you of your ability to communicate with cute young geek girls, as we will also be blocking incoming mail from outside the Gmail system

        In effect, the Gmail staff will be the only men able to communicate with the cute, young geek girls. We wish you luck, and hope that you enjoy using our service for the next several weeks until we can find a suitable female replacement for you.

        Sincerely,

        The Gmail Team


        It's really not fair.
  • My old (not deleted because I have no idea who has it, and it is listed as point of contact in places that have no way to update that) was updated less than a week after the announcement was made. Of course I have had it since the day that hotmail opened (long before MS brought it, which was the day I stopped activly using it).

    Those at the new end of the spectrum might have to wait, but us old timers are rewarded already :o)
  • I'm using firefox 0.8 on SuSE linux 8.0, linux 2.4.28. At work, so I can't change things.

    I repeatedly get seg faults whenever I try to enter something into the subject line. Not the message body. Not the recipient. The seg fault is limited to when I type the first character in the subject line. The whole browser crashes, and I get a seg fault error displayed to the terminal. It's the only site I've come across that gives me any trouble, but it's trouble sufficiently large that I can use gmail because
  • Konqueror (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cranx (456394) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @08:51PM (#10446495)
    When do you think gmail will support Konqueror?
    • It supports Apples safari which AFAIK is based on Konqueror. You have to hit reload sometime because it sticks, but other than that I've had no problems. So soon.
  • Now if only... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kneecarrot (646291)
    Now if only GMail would add a calendar and notepad functionality, I would dump Yahoo Mail in a heartbeat.
  • by taylortbb (759869)
    It looks like they have actually responded to what I wan't. About 3 months ago I sent a request asking for more contact info, and here it is. (If you doubt me, I can post the message I got back from them about it). They actually listen to customers, its great.

    Its too bad we live in a world run by corporations, its rare to get that kind of service.

    I think we should be thankful we get 1000mb free, who cares if they charge to foreward?
  • Features are all fine and dandy, but although most of my email travels across the world "barenaked" anyway I'd still feel a bit uncomfortable allowing a US-based publically-traded (investors über alles!) corporation (which also kow-tows to the Chinese dictatorship) to sift through all my mail. I'm actually surprised by the lemming-like eagerness of many otherwise so privacy-conscious geeks in signing up.

    A cool and innovative "messaging service" (email, IP calls etc.) but without the (potential) darker

  • by philipdl71 (160261) <slashdot@yh[ ]com ['bt.' in gap]> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @09:18PM (#10446682) Homepage
    I know I will probably get modded down for this one but it lacks the ability to take a message in your inbox and forward it to people in your address book while looking at it (i.e. using checkboxes for forwarding). You can type in their names and use autocomplete but there is no easy way to choose from amongst your address book who you are going to forward to.

    I don't really forward emails off to a gazillion people but it apparantly is a very common thing these days which was the reason I could not get my Grandmother to switch to gmail (she's one of those people that forwards every joke email she gets onto you thinking you'll read it).

    They do have this feature for sending new mail to people now, however.
  • People will keep complaining about GMail and its lack of features, GMail and its privacy issues, GMail and its ads.

    Don't complain about a free service that no one is forcing you to use.


    Cheers,

    Adolfo

    PS. I have a couple of invites left. Email me at adolfojp at g mail with a good reason or with a funny story and I will send you one.
  • by ccnull (607939) <null@nosPam.filmcritic.com> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @09:28PM (#10446731) Homepage
    Gmail's biggest flaw is that you can't sort your messages by anything (i.e. there's no heading bar at the top of the mail listing that you can click, a la Subject, Sender, or Date). Yahoo Mail is seamless at this. With Gmail you get sorted by date, that's it.

    Now you might say I could just search my inbox, but that's no good either. Why? The search results suck. I have 171 emails with the exact same subject line right now (running a promotion), and searching for that exact string gets me 68 results. Great... You also can't sort those results, either.

    Love the interface otherwise, but the technology needs work and the interface needs sorting!
  • by astrashe (7452) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @09:57PM (#10446891) Journal
    The thing I love about gmail is the javascript client -- it's really usable.

    I'd love to see an open source competitor. Maybe even something that does good full text indexing of your mail, and provides those nifty searches.

    Then whether google was going to charge, or whether they'd provide IMAP, or whatever, wouldn't matter. Anyone could do whatever they need.

    I don't have any idea how you'd write something like google's mail client -- I didn't know client side javascript was good enough to do something so usable. If anyone knows of any tutorials (books, web sites, etc.), I'd love to hear about them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @11:08PM (#10447253)
    There's been a lot of discussion on the Atom feed at InsideGoogle [blogspot.com], including a link to make your own Gmail Atom feed if your account doesn't have a link yet. Also, some stuff here [blogspot.com] and here [blogspot.com]
  • by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @12:55AM (#10447844)
    Does this mean gmail will start charging for some features?

    Ok. I blame the american school systems for people who think businesses are there to give them everything for free.

    First off, can we all just agree that Google is now a business with shareholder money? The guys who own the stock are a bit more concerned with generating a short term gain than giving several million geeks free *@gmail.com addresses with many features.

    Do you really see Google sustaining itself on banner ads and advertising partners alone? I know you would like to see that happen, but if you were coherent in 1999 you would find this is not the case in most publically held companies.

    I will be sure to link back to all my ill-modded posts about Google being a business to generate cash once it becomes another Hotmail or MSN in a couple of months/years.

    Just speaking from the gut.
  • Still top-posting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chrysalis (50680) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @03:48AM (#10448441) Homepage
    It's nice to see Gmail add features, but it still lacks an obvious one: the ability to properly quote emails when replying to them.

    The raw copy of everything with "--original message follows--" is really lousy. How can you quote pats of the message that way? How do you insert answers to different questions of the original mail?

    I would love to see Gmail do better than this Outlook brain damage.

  • by A Guy From Ottawa (599281) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @07:50AM (#10449073)

    Gmail rolled out a host of new features today.

    Is anyone else disapointed that the submitter didn't slip a vulgarity or two when describing the new features?

    If I had submitted it I would have at least worked in one... like:
    Gmail rolled out a fuck-ton of new features today.

    Like at work yesterday, this newbie kid was like:
    "How come we don't make a linux version of our software?" My reply was something like
    "Because that would take a fuck-ton of money. Dumbass."

    Anyways... I digress.

  • by jbarr (2233) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @09:22AM (#10449606) Homepage
    The forwarding feature is also more extended than I expected. In the "Settings", click on the "Forward" tab and you can enable a "Global" forwarding where EVERY received message gets forwarded to another email address. You can also further configure what to do with the received message. But did you know that "Filters" now have a Forwarding option? You can optionally have a Filter forward a message to any email address based on the filtering criteria. This gives you a lot more flexibility

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