Category Archives: Gmail

As the iPhone evolves, so does Gmail

But none of the recently announced innovations are making my eyes light up like a kid first gazing on his Easter basket.

First, from the Gmail Blog: Nested Labels and Message Preview. The Nested Labels thing actually did have me excited as though it were a chocolate egg or perhaps a Peep. But then I read this:

Please note that this lab doesn’t play nicely with the “Hide Read Labels” lab. You might not get exactly what you expect if you have both labs enabled; for example, the collapse/expand icons won’t always appear when they should.

and all the twinkle in my eyes was snuffed out. I tried it out and found it to be true. It didn’t work.

Honestly, the “Hide Read Labels” lab experiment is more important to me than sub-labels ever could be. Since I make extensive use of the keyboard shortcuts, I can navigate to any label I want with a simple “g + l” or “/” and the name of the label. I use the “Hide Read Labels” so that I only see labels with unread messages, which gives me a visual indicator of what has been filtered out of my Inbox and placed under another label for later viewing. Thus instead of viewing 44 labels, I can collapse my chatterbox (which I don’t use anyway since I have Trillian) and see my Calendar Gadget. Viewing Unread Messages and Upcoming Events is easily of more value than being able to have labels under other labels. Of course, the whole labeling system was designed so that you don’t really need nested labels at all. I know there are people who have not given up the folder hierarchy mindset, but it’s too bad that they’ll have to give up their hidden read labels in order to get it.
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Web Apps = Automatic Upgrades

While it wasn’t one of the major factors I talked about in my previous post, the following is a quick and easy example of another reason that webapps kick ass: No Upgrade Cycle

Google launched Buzz 2 days ago, and already their making changes based on user feedback. But the best part is not that they’re making changes and responding so quickly, rather it’s that the update gets automatically pushed to everyone. No download. No install. Just, roll out, and boom, it’s there.

Chrome v Firefox: FACE/OFF

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So, I downloaded the Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 build since I saw a chart that showed how much faster it is than the version of FF I was running. Unfortunately, that same chart also showed how much faster Chrome 2 and Safari 4* were than even the Beta Firefox build.

So I also downloaded the Chrome 2 Beta (which has now been released), and have been using that this week. It took a little while to settle in, but the bookmarks and some of my passwords from Firefox were transferred over.

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At first I hated that Chrome used a separate process for each tab because I couldn’t track it in the Windows Task Manager. But after using it for a bit, I discovered it has its own Task Manager that allows you to kill individual Chrome tabs, and with an extra click you can see the total amount of memory it’s using. A little extra work to see the usage, but at the same time, I don’t have to worry about how much RAM it’s using because it does a much better job at minimizing it’s use. Since each tab is its own process, when you close a tab, you immediately get that memory back. (I’m not entirely sure that’s true if that tab was using the Flash plugin, but you at least get some immediate giveback) I’m not sure what the memory recall process is in Firefox, but I know that it can just keep going up and up and up if you leave it open for a while. I haven’t experienced that (yet?) with Chrome.

Since I use Gmail almost constantly, Chrome was looking pretty good until today when I realized that I hadn’t looked at my Remember The Milk in a couple days. As any good GTDer should know, you have to be able to trust your system, and for me, having my list of Next Action sitting there is part of trusting my system. I can see it and know what’s on it… but if it’s not there, I get worried that somehow there is something that I might have forgotten.

Why does that matter?

Well, I realized that with Firefox, I had the RTM extension installed, so my list was always sitting there in my Gmail. Two Birds, One Stone, if you will. But with Chrome, I didn’t have that. I have RTM in my Bookmarks Toolbar, but I still have to open it to look at it.

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So, I was ready to switch back to Firefox, until I remembered that Gmail Labs has a feature that lets you add any Google Gadget as a sidebar type thing. Remember The Milk has designed a nice Google Gadget that I used before even in Firefox (until my Gmail started spazzing out). So, I plugged that back in using Chrome, and so far, I haven’t had any Gmail freak outs and now I have a usable version of RTM in my inbox. It’s not quite as nice as the “Add On” version, but it works almost as well, and given Chrome’s speed and memory improvements, I’m sticking with it for now.

Everybody loves little charts right? I’ve put the characteristics in order of importance (to me):

Browser Feature Chrome Firefox
Speed WIN
Memory WIN
Remember The Milk WIN
Adding RSS Feeds WIN
Navbar Features TIE TIE

Now, if they’d only figure out a way to make PHP run super fast so that WordPress would be as speedy as Gmail and Reader…

chrome

* Safari 4 Beta was included in the comparison because, while it is faster and uses less memory than both Firefox and Chrome, it has a bug where it takes an inordinately long time for the first page to be loaded. I’ve had to wait up to 14 seconds (I timed it) for Google.com to load when I first launch the browser. It also does not automatically remember the open tabs after you close and reopen the browser. You can get this by going to History and opening the tabs from last session, so it’s a minor inconvenience, but paired with the previously mentioned time-waster, it takes it out of contention. If Apple gets that first page loading thing fixed, I will definitely consider making Safari my full time browser.

Finally, I think we can all agree that Ashley Tisdale looks the best in that dress. That is all.

Gmail’s Magic Inbox

Google Operating System has found some Gmail code that indicates the coming of a social inbox!

So, not only will we have one inbox for Everything, but it’ll be organized by importance (or at least how important Google thinks things are).

More Google Voice

Gina “Lifehacker” Trapani wrote a post about Google Voice on SmarterWare in which she says:

Now that Google Voice supports SMS, you can send and receive text messages from your GV number as well, which is the last piece I needed to finally tell all my friends and family, “Here’s my new phone number.”

She’s been using GrandCentral since it came out, and only decided to switch completely with the addition of SMS. I’m pretty sure that when I get my iPhone (cross your fingers – any day now) I’ll just tell all my friends to send their text messages to my email address. Of course, then I’ll have to make sure to keep it less than 140 characters when I write them back, but at least I won’t have to give AT&T my wife’s arm and leg to pay for a text messaging plan.