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Google Technology

Google Bringing HTML5 To Gmail 112

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-goody-more-animation dept.
angry tapir writes "In keeping with Google's enthusiasm for the emerging HTML5 standard, many upcoming features of the company's Gmail Web-based e-mail service will be rendered in HTML5. One feature that the Gmail design team is now working on is the ability to drag files from the desktop into the browser. Gmail will also make use of HTML5's database standards. Currently the e-mail service uses Google Gears to store mail for offline reading, but over time that will migrate to the HTML5 standards."
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Google Bringing HTML5 To Gmail

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  • by Orga (1720130) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:22PM (#32717684)
    Take THAT!
  • Thats not new (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:24PM (#32717704)

    One feature that the Gmail design team is now working on is the ability to drag files from the desktop into the browser

    This has been working for over a month on Gmail now. its much nicer to attach files by dragging and dropping with HTML5. (chrome, in my case)

    now if they would allow you to insert inline graphics...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      "now if they would allow you to insert inline graphics"
      yea that is what we need.
      No thanks I wish we would go back to text only. Less chance of an exploit when you are just dealing with just text.
      Attachments are fine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "now if they would allow you to insert inline graphics" yea that is what we need. No thanks I wish we would go back to text only. Less chance of an exploit when you are just dealing with just text. Attachments are fine.

        Feel free to go back to 1990--or disable rich text or HTML rendering in your client. (Hopefully they are already disabled from unknown senders by default.) The rest of us appreciate legitimate uses of HTML+CSS, including inline images, in our e-mail.

      • by amohat (88362)

        No thanks, I wish we could go back to [some arbitrary time when the world was simpler and therefore better and somebody get those damn kids off my lawn]

      • I like Gmail's approach to graphics. You can attach your pictures as actual attachments and then they just show up at the bottom of your message, but not as inline graphics. It's a kind of best-of-both-worlds approach.

      • by severoon (536737)

        Huh, I was under the impression that the primary function of email was to enable communication between humans, not principally the prevention of exploits.

        Thanks for clearing that up!

        </snark> :-)

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Yep and fonts, inline graphics, and executable content like javascript are not required for effective communication IMHO.

          • by severoon (536737)

            I think I get what you're saying, but a multicolored chart would make your point more effectively. Perhaps an interactive animation or two.

            Look, I'm not saying text isn't sufficient for most email communications, but to decry an advance because you think it won't be done right is kind of dumb. Why not advocate doing it right?

            Attachments were not part of the original email spec--the reason they were added is that people do want to send stuff besides text. It'd be even better if it could all be inlined. And i

            • by LWATCDR (28044)

              You can send them as an attachment.
              What is really funny is while I really hate the abuses of HTML mail I do understand why some people use it.
              I would just rather see some way to include a link or use attachments instead of email. Yes in a perfect world it could be done right but nothing is as safe as having no executable content in the actual email.
              The other thing I find really funny is I really don't want to "outlaw" fonts, color, and inline pictures. What I am now king of the internet!
              I just really want p

              • by severoon (536737)

                But attachments can have executable content in the actual email...so are you for them or against them?

                I think we're due for a change. It's not right that in this day and age we're limited to sending off text notes. I want the technology to serve me, not the other way round. If I want to take up a collection of money from friends to buy someone a birthday gift, for instance, then I don't want to have to deal with a bunch of notes and start a spreadsheet up. I don't want to navigate to a bunch of websites if

                • by LWATCDR (28044)

                  But I can choose to execute execute the attachment or not. HTML mail executes as soon as you open it.
                  Honestly the security issues aside which can be solved right now with email settings I just do not want any more pink text on a lilac flowered background.
                  Email should be black letters on a white background "Or what every you have your display setting set to."

                  • by severoon (536737)

                    Why not specify you want your own stylesheet applied to emails you receive then? Or have the client allow you to apply your own stylesheet with a single click (which you would presumably do if the email is too annoying)?

                    I think email clients should not execute anything without either asking or verifying that it's ok. And I think Gmail has a nice solution to the webbug problem of HTML email, where they refuse to contact other servers when you open a message unless you say it's ok (by clicking "display images

              • You can send them as an attachment.

                I don't personally do this, but there are lots of business-types who like to have their actual signature as a JPG inline. Also, maybe a small corporate logo on the top-left.

                I understand the reasons for not having it, but I also don't think Google should be the arbiter of good taste in emails. I know it's their service and they can do what they want, but they are likely going to lose "customers" over it.

                • by LWATCDR (28044)

                  Well I would never put out a jpg of my signature. Talk about making forgery easy.
                  Corporate logo it is an email.
                  Hey if you like that so be it. Google loosing customers over it. Well as you know gmail users are not google customers. But over all I doubt that they will loose enough to worry about. Besides do may companies use Gmail?
                  I know some do but I think Google goes with the masses.

                  • The university I attend does. (and I'm sure certain members of the administration would like to have stationary-esque logos above their email)

                    Also, Wikipedia has signatures of many famous people on their respective articles.

                    Well as you know gmail users are not google customers.

                    Yeah, that's why I put "customers" in quotes - (which I guess you noticed) because obviously it's the companies paying for advertising that are the REAL customers. However, with fewer "customers" (gmail users), the service they offer to their REAL customers is of less value.

                    • Also, Gmail for Business [google.com] is $50/user/year, so in that arena it does appear they have something to lose. It also suggests that there are at least SOME companies that use the Gmail code.

                    • by LWATCDR (28044)

                      We are Google's customers in the same way a dairy cow is a farmers customer.

                      What you say is true but I wonder just how many people would choose to not use gmail for that reason? Also wouldn't most businesses use Google's business class service or some other business class service?
                      I find people using gmail, hotmail or yahoo mail for formal business communications all a bit iffy. if nothing else hopefully their web host offers a redirect.
                      In the end is that "feature" worth the risks or the effort? To me not r

                    • I find people using gmail, hotmail or yahoo mail for formal business communications all a bit iffy.

                      I agree - I automatically think twice about doing business when I see a @yahoo or @gmail on a business card.

                      However, even the free Gmail allows you to use your own domain such that you have user@domainname.com instead of user@gmail.com

                    • by LWATCDR (28044)

                      It also depends on the type of business.
                      If it is a programmer than yea. Car dealer also iffy.
                      A guy that does tile work... I know a really good guy that does that and uses hotmail for now. He just isn't a techie at all. But man can he put down some good tile.

      • by antdude (79039)

        So you can do that still with Mozilla's e-mail clients, Pine/Alpine, Mutt, etc. I still use them! Frak HTML, RTF, etc.

    • Re:Thats not new (Score:4, Informative)

      by ghee22 (781277) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:29PM (#32717786)
      There is a Gmail Lab for this feature: Inserting images by Kent T Allows you to insert images into a message body. You can upload and insert image files in your computer, or insert images by URLs. This lab will not work if you have offline enabled.
    • by stickytar (96286)
      They do (in Chrome), just drag an image file to the body instead of the attachment area.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spintriae (958955)
      They demonstrated HTML5 notifications for Google Talk in Gmail at I/O this year. I've been looking forward to that feature. Please don't tell me that's been just a click away for month now. Or on second thought, please do.
    • They do allow you to drag and drop inline graphics!

      http://webworkerdaily.com/2010/05/12/drag-and-drop-images-into-gmail-messages/ [webworkerdaily.com]

    • by naz404 (1282810)
      Google should make this mandatory to finally kill that $!#$&#$ IE6.
      • by BobMcD (601576)

        Google should make this mandatory to finally kill that $!#$&#$ IE6.

        Unless they all simply switch to hotmail, because it 'is the only one that works on my computer'.

        • by bjartur (1705192)

          In my experience, old versions of MSIE don't work so well with Hotmail. I've had to use a Firefox installation in my "My Documents" (sadly, ~ was locally hosted due to Windows storing it straight on C:) when students couldn't download homework attached to self-sent email (as they couldn't ((f)user)mount their $HOMEs on school PCs).

    • by Eros (6631)

      They already have this feature too. Just click the green beaker in the upper right hand corner and search for "Inserting Images". It is a labs project now. But it is there.

    • You can. [blogspot.com]
  • Slower and slower (Score:3, Informative)

    by JustinRLynn (831164) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:25PM (#32717728)
    No matter how many features they pile into gmail, no matter how flashy and pretty they make it, any time I need to actually quickly check my email or read several in new tabs, I am going to use 'basic html view'. The advanced modes are better for searching/sorting though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ghee22 (781277)
      Agreed. With over 35 labs enabled, my gmail tab in the latest version of Chrome steadily increases its memory usage. I have repeatedly experienced a 300% increase in memory usage over a 4 hour period.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by eggled (1135799)
        Increased memory usage over time is often not a memory leak, and not always a bug.

        If the memory usage increases without bound and begins to conflict with other programs that are attempting to use memory, then it's a bug. Anything else may just be good caching behavior (If you can cache something to improve performance, that's better than leaving memory underutilized).
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ghee22 (781277)
          I recall this being Firefox's defense arguement (http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/14/2154224).

          I have not analyzed Gmail's code, so I am not, with confidence, to state that Gmail is increasing memory usage to cache data.

          However, I have not noticed any, significant or insignificant, performance boost from Gmail at 300% memory usage at +4 hours versus Gmail at 100% memory usage at +0.25 hours. I am currently attempting to debug my issue by disabling individual labs, and comparing memor

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:41PM (#32717968)
        Well, of course. There is a reason they are called "lab" extensions, they aren't stable, they aren't guaranteed to not increase memory usage, the majority of them are to add a feature quickly, then later work on an elegant solution.
      • Agreed. With over 35 labs enabled, my gmail tab in the latest version of Chrome

        Don't do that then.

      • Isn't that kind of like the people that install every free game and puzzle they can find on their computer, then wonder why its slow? I mean 35 beta tools plugged into a web page?

  • Wake me up when they add easy account switching to GMail. Then I'll be impressed with the "updates" to the system.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Wake me up when they add easy account switching to GMail. Then I'll be impressed with the "updates" to the system.

      How much easier is sign out followed by signing in on the page it leaves you at?

      One click followed by a username/password and you're back in gmail. That's not too many more keystrokes than it takes me in Windows two switch users.

      I don't find it to be an onerous task -- or, are you hoping for one click to logout, one click to select login from a drop down, and then have everything happen for fre

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by VGPowerlord (621254)

        Unless your other accounts are done through Google Apps [google.com], in which case, it's sign out, find the Google Account's sign in page for the correct domain, then sign in.

        • If that's your biggest problem, have your administrator do his job and set up domain aliases. I have Google Apps and my login page is mail.myfirmname.com.

    • I have multiple email accounts, but there' no reason to switch between them. You can compose mail "From:" any account you want (even non-gmail accounts), and you can forward the mail from one account to another (or have gmail collect it via pop/imap). I log into one account, have access to the mail from the multiple accounts and can respond appropriately. Why waste time switching between accounts?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RJFerret (1279530)

      The simple solution I found is to use Firefox's private browsing to check another gmail account.

      I can check a different account's email using "private", then easily switch back to regular and my voicemail, calendar and docs tabs haven't logged me out. (Or worse, put that other email's contacts into MY voicemail account.)

      (The only liability I can imagine is not being able to directly add something to your calendar while having the email open, but you could use gCal or some other firefox plugin to get around

      • by garcia (6573)

        No that's not the easy solution. That's a god damn pain in the ass. The easy solution would be for GMail to realize that most people have multiple GMail accounts and make it easy to switch between them w/o having to login/logout to do so.

  • I use and prefer gmail because it is fast, simple and stable. If i wanted fancy mail box, i would have stick with hotmail for example. I hope they don't "upgrade" the gmail without notification or at least agreement.
  • Call me crazy or wrong but isn't everyone sick of hearing about HTML 5 by now? It felt like a political race with regards to the video, who is supporting what and why. Maybe for HTML 6 we can have a canidate race and I can choose my party affiliation and have a voters registration card. And of course ONLINE Voting in a easily hackable IE6 only browser.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're crazy.

      This article is about Google utilizing HTML 5 in Gmail, and that's it. HTML 5 is coming and it's bringing a lot of advantages with it. Websites are starting to shift support for that. Yes, there is the "issue" with the video codecs, but as far as HTML5 is concerned, it's a Good Thing(TM).

    • by hedwards (940851)
      What are you on about? I take it you don't understand what a standard is. A standard is called a standard presumably because it's standard. Meaning that all the browsers that claim to support it should function largely identically. It's not about allowing people to vote on it. Otherwise it would only go to FB and lolcats.

      If you're even saying that, it's pretty clear you haven't ever tried to write a website that works beyond just one browser, good luck doing that without either major hackery or disabling
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:52PM (#32718102) Homepage

    It amazes me how far, it seems, gmail is ahead of the competition when it comes to usability. It is the only web-based email client I have used that feels like a proper application, and works exactly as I'd like it to.

    However, I know that at this point there _must_ be competition for it out there, open source or otherwise. Does anyone know other email services that offer a comparably usable interface?

    • by JohnFluxx (413620)

      I don't know, but I have to use the hell that is "Open-Xchange server".

    • by Per Wigren (5315)
      Zafara [zarafa.com] and Zimbra [zimbra.com] come pretty close, interface wise, but they are more like web-based MS Outlook-replacements than simple E-mail clients. They are also not simple free hosted webmail, you (or your admin) will have to maintain your own server or pay for them to host it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by PhrstBrn (751463)

        I've used Zimbra and the interface was very good. In some ways Zimbra was better than Gmail, in other ways Gmail is better.

        For instance, tagging, archiving, and searching on Gmail on better, however Zimbra has a better composer, better navigation, and has contextual (right-click) menus, and tabs. Arguably the conversation view on Gmail is better than the way Zimbra does it (grouping related messages together)

      • My webmail provider switched to Zimbra several months ago. It's OK, I guess, but it suffers (in their implementation at least) from a fatal flaw: it is impossible to get it to show you all the message headers (Received lines, et al), so spam reporting is Right Out. And, unlike their previous setup, I have no control over how they filter for spam, beyond specifying whitelist and blacklist.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Zimbra is probably pretty close, it's the interface that my other webmail provider uses.
    • Apple's mobile me.com is quite good, although not free.
      • by darrylo (97569)

        While mobileme isn't bad, gmail is still better. Not only does gmail have integrated calendar, tasks, doc, and chat, but the gmail web interface runs faster. I dislike the mobileme web interface because it feels slow and clunky.

        On the other hand, mobileme is great if you want syncing of contact groups with the iPhone (google contacts doesn't support this -- google seems to think that everyone should have all of their contacts scrambled together in one ginormous pile).

        • I like foremost the integration with Mac OS X and Apple's applications.
          Apple changed it me.com system in past few weeks. Much better than before.
    • I agree that Gmail is so far ahead of its webmail competition such as Yahoo and Hotmail. The biggest feature, however, is Gmail's junk filter. Nary a piece of junkmail gets into my inbox and false positives are exceedingly rare. However, it's pretty disconcerting if this success is due to their understanding of your behaviors. Haha. The Gmail interface is very quick and efficient. It loads and works quickly. I also I love how Gmail doesn't ask for confirmation but rather gives you the option to undo a delete.

      • by Geeky (90998)

        I agree that Gmail is so far ahead of its webmail competition such as Yahoo and Hotmail. The biggest feature, however, is Gmail's junk filter. Nary a piece of junkmail gets into my inbox and false positives are exceedingly rare. However, it's pretty disconcerting if this success is due to their understanding of your behaviors. Haha. The Gmail interface is very quick and efficient.

        Probably mainly a volume thing, and Google's search algorithms. Google handles such a high volume of mail that it will pick up on new spam very quickly; if it sees the same mail going to thousands of unrelated inboxes, good chance it's spam. Only web based systems can do that - a local spam filter can't know what's happening to other users elsewhere. Google's is probably better than Yahoo or Hotmail because it does search and pattern matching better.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          Only systems with an enormous volume of users can do that - a local spam filter can't know what's happening to other users elsewhere.

          FTFY

          Being 'web' doesn't really help, but having a metric butt ton of users would.

        • Google's is probably better than Yahoo or Hotmail because it does search and pattern matching better.

          This.

          My hotmail gets endless amounts of spam. Yahoo, all I get is spam. Both of these also nuke forum registrations and stuff. Gmail? Thousands of spam messages get filtered out per week, and I've never had a false positive.

      • by kiwimate (458274)

        I must be in the minority, but I do not use Gmail for two reasons.

        1. The interface is too messy and non-intuitive to me.
        2. The junk filter doesn't work, at least for me.

        I have a Gmail account, which I check once every two or three months, and it's full of spam every time. Hundreds of messages, and I'm sure it's that low only because I never use it and have never posted that address on-line. My Yahoo e-mail account, on the other hand, which I've used constantly since the mid-1990s and for which my e-mail address

    • by tokul (682258)

      However, I know that at this point there _must_ be competition for it out there, open source or otherwise. Does anyone know other email services that offer a comparably usable interface?

      How many webmail developers have total control over the platform? Google controls both hardware and software and can drop loads of cash and human resources on it. How many OSS developers have such advantage?

      Plus they are talking about extending specifications in order to get features that they want. What are the chances th

    • Fastmail has a pretty good web interface.

      Windows Live (hotmail) has actually been getting pretty good as far as UI goes, too.

  • One feature that the Gmail design team is now working on is the ability to drag files from the desktop into the browser.

    This feature already works.

  • the Gmail design team is now working on is the ability to drag files from the desktop into the browser.

    Wow. How innovative. I used to upload files to my FTP site by dragging them into Netscape Navigator. 10 years ago. (One of the features they unfortunately removed from the Mozilla browsers).

    • This feature was implemented by your browser, specifically for FTP. It worked (and still works) in IE, as well. The innovation here is that, with HTML5, you can write a web site which can accept files dropped from outside the browser, and process them in various different ways not hardcoded into the browser.

      • The innovation here is that, with HTML5, you can write a web site which can accept files dropped from outside the browser, and process them in various different ways not hardcoded into the browser.

        But only if your browser supports HMTL5, right?

        • Yes, obviously.

          The difference with FTP support in a browser is that the behavior of drag & drop into that was entirely hardcoded. HTML5 lets you script it end to end, with you alone defining the semantics for it.

  • Wait, I thought that Adobe claimed that Flash was the best method for creating cross-platform, browser-based, rich internet applications. And i thought that Google agreed with Adobe and was supporting them against Apple. Shouldn't they be moving Gmail to a Flash system? Or are they just talking out of both sides of their mouths and hoping that no one notices?

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