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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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Things I Read Today [aka Links!]

Rachel at cre8d design bemoans the loss of long-form writing. The example is a book telling a story composed of emails. While I agree with the sentiment that the loss of long-form writing is just that – a true loss – I’d be interested in seeing the same book told through Tweets and TwitPics (or Facebook status updates and corresponding Photos).

Google is set to speed up Gmail. I’m only up to 16% usage on my Gmail account, but I certainly wouldn’t mind anything they can do to speed it up.

Tim Bray is now a Developer Advocate for Google – specifically the Android platform. I don’t have anything against Apple and the iPhone personally, but as a software/web development professional, I am definitely behind the argument that their gatekeeper/executioner style of running the App Store is dangerous for any developer involved.

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.

Post To And Read Your TO READ List From Anywhere With Email

I don’t know how this is going to work once we start Waving everybody, but for now, this is how I populate my To Read List without using Delicious or Instapaper or {Your App Here}, but rather with a tool that requires no additional sign-ups: Email.

Okay, I lied a little. You’ll need an RSS Reader too. Because, if you didn’t have one of those, really, what would you be reading? Hardcopy newspapers? Get outta here! Anyway, I use Google Reader, but any RSS Reader with an “Email This” function will do (I know that Bloglines has one).

Here we go:

  1. Set up filtering mechanisms for articles to add to your To Read List
      • For this, I added a contact in Gmail called Filtered Reader and added a “+asdfasdf” to my email address for that contact
      • Then, I added a filter for that particular version of my email address that will skip my Inbox and apply the To Read label
  2. Then, you go to Google Reader and as you go through items, if you don’t feel like opening it in a new tab to read (I know this is a common practice), you can instead just email it to yourself
  3. Do the same thing in your Twitter client by emailing yourself Tweets that you want to follow up on (ones where people post links to things you want to read)

Okay, now, I guess the “Anywhere” part of the subject will take some additional work. I.e., it will probably require a smart phone if you really want to read your To Read List anywhere. Of course, you can get an iPhone 3G for only $99 (at the time of this writing), and the normal 3G is plenty fast enough, because all you’re going to want to do now is make sure that the emails sitting in your To Read label or folder are downloaded onto your phone. *POOF* You now have your To Read List with you anywhere you bring your phone!

And! You can post to it using your phone as well because Google Reader has a very nice web interface. That will, of course, only work in places where you have 3G access, but I’ve heard talk that they’re going to develop off-line capable versions of the web apps, so if/when that becomes a reality, it will solve that problem.

Why Use This Jacked Up System Instead of The Glorious {Your App Here}?

Well, basically, because when I use {Your App Here}, I only use one end of it. That is, I post to it. But I never actually read it. My Delicious bookmarks To Read tag has 58 links going back as far as 2006.

But {Your App Here} Has an Awesome iPhone App!

So does Email. In fact, Gmail has two awesome iPhone apps: Mail.app and the Gmail Mobile Website. This allows me to download email to my phone for off-line access or apply multiple colored labels to emails. And as we (should) all know, everyone sits their with their email app open all day, but I would imagine that most people don’t sit with Delicious or Instapaper open all day. A To Read List in your email is ready to go without doing anything but switching folders.

Added Bonus: Instead of deleting a read item as you would have to do with Delicious or some other bookmarking services (not sure how Instapaper works for that), you can just remove the To Read label and you’ll still have the full article accessible if you want to refer to it later.

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).