October 06, 2004

New GMail features

GMail is getting better all the time. Instead of giving minor tweaks, Google rolled out a whole bunch of features together this time.

The contacts are managed in a much better way now. You can add a *lot* of additional info for your contacts. And as usual, Google does it a lot better than most. I mean, you can add almost anything you want. Alternate email addresses, home address, phone numbers, the whole lot. And everything is searchable. So, I can now search for all the people that stay in Mumbai for example, or all the people that have a mobile number. But on the downside, it will take some time to add all the relevant info, I'm just experimenting with a few contacts.

And finally, after much laughter about it, you can save your drafts. The "More Actions" drop-down menu is much better now. It's optimized, and gives you only the options you need.

Another big feature is mail forwarding. If you don't like using GMail, you can set your account to forward all your mails to another email account. You can forward selective mails automatically, using custom filters. Here's a question: If you have two GMail accounts, each set to automatically forward everything they receive to each other, how long before your 1Gb is utilized? This situation leads to perpetual fun. This feature is advertised as "free for now", so Google may start charging for it. You can't have everything, you know.

Some users seem to have Atom feeds for their mails. I still have not got this, but this is definitely a cool feature. Atom does the same thing as RSS, but without all the version incompatibilities. Google loves Atom, they were one of the early adopters with Blogger. Ah, the possibilities of getting your email with feeds. You can now possibly publish a blog with all the mails you receive. Or do anything else you can imagine.

And Google's GMail notifier has been upgraded. I won't know how it is though, I don't use it.

There are just a few things missing now. You should be able to download all attachments with a message at one go. This should not be that difficult to implement. I've even sent this request to the folks there. Also, HTML formatting of mails is a must have. You can't be sending plain-text messages every time. Google could probably just embed Blogger's great editor with GMail, I think that's the simple and possible solution.

But you won't be hearing predictions on what Google is going to do next from me now. They are unpredictable enough for me keep my mouth shut. I'll just be repeating the standard buzz.

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