Can Gmail Labs New Import/Export Filters Feature Kill Spammers?

A new feature is introduced in Gmail Labs recently, which allow us to import/export filters created in Gmail. After enabling this feature, you can go to Gmail Settings >> Filters and select one or more filters to export/import.

gmail-filters

I use many Gmail accounts to serve different purpose and copying filters from one Gmail account to another was always tedious. Thankfully, we can now, not-only backup filters but we can share them with other Gmail users.

Filters, if you have never used it before, is one of the most lucrative feature of Gmail which simplifies many day-to-day tasks. Combined with labels (another Gmail feature), its power is awesome.

Few things I do with filters are:

  1. Automatically assign “backup” label to wordpress database backup I receive via email. If something goes wrong on any of our blog, things can be recovered from latest backup easily.
  2. There are many mailing lists I have subscribed to. But I don’t get much free time to read them, so I again filter them our of my inbox and catch up with them on a lazy weekend.
  3. Some emails like those form banks, your webhosting company, etc are often more important than others. Any morning Gmail welcomes me with around 100 mails in inbox (after filtering another 100 mails using filters as described above), so filter automatically star such important emails for me, making it easy to can pay attention to them.

How import/export filters feature can avoid spamming…

Success of Facebook, Orkut, MySpace and other social networks resulted in large number of social networks being created everyday around Internet. One thing I hate about all these social networks  is, the moment you register an account, they suggest you to invite all of your friends to that network.

I hate this because this kind of inviting results in lots of junk mails in my inbox which waste a lot of time and energy. Not all these emails carry unsubscribe link and some carries in a way that makes hard to figure them out.

So I always wanted to create a set of filters which will redirect such invitation mails directly to trash. Now as we can share filters, it will be nice idea to create a public set of filters dedicated to these (anti)social networks!

This idea can be extended to other fields like filtering emails containing junk like “Win iPod”, “Fill Survey and earn $$$”, “Free your cellphone bills”, “Crush Finder”, etc.

Why can’t we just mark such mails as SPAM?

As creating a filter takes little more time compared to clicking “Report Spam” button, one must be wondering why I want all of us to go through hassle of importing/exporting filters! Here are reasons…

  1. First Report Spam may not work always. Because Report Spam is sort of global feature. When many people start reporting mails from a particular server as spam, then only some action is taken.
  2. These junk mails use your friends name and/or email address in FROM: field.  Reporting spam may filter out future mails form your friends as spam.

Moreover, all of us need to click on “Report Spam” button for every individual mail. Worst, we wont get all much invitation mails in a single day so it will waste our small amount of time almost everyday. So better import a “global” set of filters which will transparently take care of such emails everyday!

But there is a downside to filters as well…

If someone can get temporary access to your account, he/she can use filters smartly to forward emails to their address. A bug in Gmail in past helped a cracker install such filters without any access to Gmail account. It ended up in a infamous domain hijacking incident. (read more)

So filters must be scanned thoroughly before you import them into your Gmail account. May be Google itself can provide a common place where Gmail users can search and share filters easily and safely!

Recommended: Use Advance Search Operators in Gmail Search

[#Gfail] Gmail is not completely down! Google Apps version is UP

gmaillogo1.jpgFrom last few hours Gmail has been down here. First I thought, its unlucky me as coincidentally my internet connection is experiencing some problems since last night. But Twitter (and this) confirmed that I am not alone!

Still, as a (G)mail addict, I am waiting desperately for Gmail to come back, as I need to send some important mails.

Now coming back to Gmail.com, it is showing 502 Server Error. Optimistically, I checked m.gmail.com (Gmail’s mobile version) and also tried accessing Gmail.com via proxies. But no luck! :-(

Then I tried hitting mail.rtcamp.com (Gmail in Google Apps) and it worked like charm! So if you are Google Apps user accessing your domain’s mails from Gmail.com, please don’t wait it to come back. You can directly go to mail domain of your Google Apps package and enjoy the service from there! :-)

I haven’t checked Gmail’s status via POP and IMAP interface. Is there anyone who can comment on Gmail availability via POP and IMAP right now?

Update: Gmail.com is UP now (0445 PST, 1800 IST)

Related: Get free mail@yourdomain.com email addresses using Google Apps

“Bloggers for Advani” – BJP’s new online campaign!

bloggers-for-advani(India only)

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is gathering support of bloggers with new online campaign Bloggers for Advani. They earlier launched a blog and massive online advertising campaign to create awareness about Prime Minister candidate.

In this new Bloggers for Advani campaign, they have created round-shaped badges which bloggers can put on their blog to show their support for Lal Krishna Advani.

Considering large size of Indian blogosphere, BJP will surely gather considerable support from this new campaign.

No link juice…

One thing I have realized as a blogger is, if they (BJP) had put a listing like “bloggers supporting us” on their campaign page, more bloggers would have showcased these badges for extra link and traffic.

In blogosphere, easiest way to attract links is giving backlinks in return!

Update: Mallika informed us via a comment that campaign site now have a list of  bloggers for Advani.

Thanks Mallika.

Links: Bloggers for Advani Campaign

Related: List of Blogs by Indian Bollywood Celebrities, Politicians, etc

Google Gears for Offline Orkut Communities?

Recently, one of our reader Jo has emailed us asking,

Is there anyway to save orkut topics or download topics/forums to view offline
later when there is no internet connection?

As a temporary and ugly workaround, I suggested him,

You can subscribe to RSS feed of individual topics and/or communities using our service Orkutfeeds.
Then using Google Reader’s offline mode or any desktop reader, you can view updates later when there is no internet connection.

But what really struck my mind was possibility of using Google Gears to access for Orkut communities offline. Something, which will look like below…

Google Gears for Orkut

Even though Orkut’s long list of bugs and broken features stole all the limelight, many Orkut communities are really useful for their members. Moreover some communities have high volume of information exchange, so it is obvious for guys like Jo to not have enough time to go through them online.

It would be really great, if you can read updates from your communities offline using Google Gears. Moreover, people can reply to topics offline and then everything get synced automatically once internet connection becomes available.

This is just a suggestion, we are passing to Orkut. Do not wonder about screenshot. It is mock up we have created! ;-)

By the way, do you think is this a good idea? Will you use it?

Try SEOMoz Professional SEO Tools for $1

SEOMoz SEOMoz is one of the best place to solve your all SEO related problems. Their in-depth articles on SEO and in-general web marketing helped lots of bloggers including me.

I always wondered about power of their PRO toolset which comes in different packages starting from $79/month. This price tag is too high for small publishers.

Now as a part of special promotion, SEOMoz decided to give this $79 package for just $1.

This offer is for first 5000 signups. When I signed up for it just an hour ago, more than 2000 places had already gone. Also this offer is valid till February 13th, 2009.

You can signup for this offer by visiting www.seomoz.org/trypro. Enter SUCCESS09 as your promo code for discount.

Or just use this link: http://www.seomoz.org/trypro?ec=SUCCESS09

Important Points:

  1. You can signup using credit card only. No paypal or any other payment option is available.
  2. $1 is for first month only. So put a reminder in your cellphone and elsewhere about this. Because at the end of the month, your subscription will be auto-renewed without any notice and you will be charged $79/month after that.
  3. You can cancel your subscription anytime by clicking a button on your “My Account” page at SEOMoz.

Below is Package Comparison Chart:

SEOmoz PRO Member - Package Comparison-1

You will get PRO package for $1 for one month in this offer. Even if you are not familiar with all tools they have listed under “what you get”, together they are surely worth for $1. ;-)

SEOMoz Link: http://www.seomoz.org/trypro?ec=SUCCESS09

WordCamp, Mozilla Camp, Yahoo’s Open Hack Day and Other Tech Events

This month is full of tech-events organized all over the places in India and abroad. Below is brief list of events. If we are missing something cool happening around in your city, please let us know via comments.

WordCamp

WordCamp LogoWordCamp is unconference centered around WordPress community. Among all camps, WordCamp is most frequent and organized event. You can always have a look at upcoming WordCamps on this central site. They have WordCamp scheduled till October 2009 already!

This time, India is having its first WordCamp on 21st and 22nd Feb in New Delhi. Key attraction of this event is presence of Matt Mullenwag, founder and lead developer of WordPress itself.

Apart from Matt himself, other celebrities which will be speaking at this event includes Amit Agarwal (from Digital Inspiration), Pavan Duggal (Advocate, Supreme court of India).

Registration Fees: Individual day ticket : INR 250, Full event ticket : INR 400 

Venue: Noida, Delhi

Links: Register for Event 

MozillaCamp

MozillaCampArun Ranganathan and Seth Bindernagel form Mozilla team are already travelling across India, meeting and collaborating with Mozilla community.

Mozilla Camp has already started and we missed them in Delhi  on 10th Feb. Below is schedule of remaining tour. (source: Mozilla blog)

  • Feb. 12th – 13th, Kanpur:  The duo will be participating in the inaugural FOSSKriti at Techkriti.  Arun will be leading a workshop on Web development & Open Source technologies on the night of the 12th and then a HTML5 talk on Feb. 13th.
  • Feb. 14th – 15th, Pune:  Arun and Seth find themselves at GNUnify where they will be leading a mini Mozilla Camp covering localization, Web tools and more.  On Sunday morning from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. they will be joining PuneTech.com for an open meet up.

Even though they are visiting Pune, I won’t be able to attend this event personally. But if you can catch up with them, do not miss it! :-)

Venue: Kanpur, Pune

Link: Kanpur Event | Pune Event

Yahoo’s Open Hack Day India

Open HackAs its name suggest, this event is more centered around Yahoo technologies like BOSS, Blueprint, YAP, YQL and more. Still level of skills and demos it carries is really awesome. This is invitation only event and as far as I know, list of attendees has been finalized.

Still if you are in Bangalore and have some really good friend in Yahoo and/or among event organizers, you can take a chance!

Event Date: 14th-15th Feb, 2009

Venue: Bangalore

Link: Official Link

Other Tech Events

Apart from this, you can attend…

  • GNUnify in Pune on 13th & 14th Feb. This includes MozillaCamp Pune among other tracks.
  • FOSSkriti in Kanpur from 12th to 15th Feb. This includes MozillaCamp Kanpur among other events they are hosting.
  • Sun Developers meet in Pune. Link and other details about this event will be made available soon.

That’s it! So much to do in February! I am not (yet) sure which events I will attend personally. Still let us know which event you are attending. May be you can post about your experience at that event on Devils Workshop (and earn some bucks);-)

Now View Titles & Ratings in YouTube Videos! [New Feature]

Yesterday evening, while watching a YouTube video, I found it to be bit different. In a single glimpse I could not figure out what exactly were the changes on the video, but I didn’t find it to be looking as usual. Later on I figured out that, there were some kind of ratings on the video with the video title on top of it.  For a moment I was confused, thinking that the video must have those text and stars, but later on I was confirmed about a new feature in YouTube when I read a blog post.

youtube rating

As you can view on the image above, there are ratings with 5 stars along with the title of the video. You too don’t get confused thinking the video contains those text. ;) It is actually, a new feature in YouTube, though it is yet to be rolled on all the videos.

Related Reading:

[Via Digital Inspiration]

Gmail’s New ‘Labels’ & ‘Move to’ options with auto-completion

As a Gmail user, you must have noticed some new changes to Gmail interface recently. Here is our analysis on these changes. At the end you will find workaround for now missing “Search The Web” button from Gmail interface.

1. Assigning Labels is easier now

As highlighted in below screenshot, you can now search, create and assign multiple labels easily. Moreover, while searching you can enjoy auto-completion now.

Gmail New Labels Feature

You may also want to use colored-labels feature of Gmail. You can also use labels to auto-filter emails as per your preference.

2. Moving emails also become easier…

Those who are new to Gmail or its labeling concept, sometimes wonder where are folders in Gmail. You can think of labels as special folder. You can move emails to these labels easily now.

Gmail Move To Feature

Move to and Labels may seem similar but there is a difference. If you assign labels, conversation still remains in the inbox but when you move it, it gets archived automatically.

3. Better “More Actions” menu

Gmail More Actions-1 More actions menu group together some less frequently used actions and places them in separate menu. Also its position is less obstructive.

Only thing could be done better is adding Create a documentoption into more actions menu. If enabled, “Create a document” option show up on extreme right side which go unnoticed because of ads.

4. Missing Search the web button

Gmail used to have “Search The Web” button which is now removed in this new interface. Our reader Vish is disappointed as…

this (“Search The Web” button) helped us not to open a browser window and type www.google.com. for the search. It also gave the luxury or not going for CTRL+T/ CTRL+N for opening a new window

Update: Gmail brought “Search the web” button back now. (05 March, 2009)

Personally I never used that button but those who were using it can now, use CTRL+K (only Firefox) to directly switch focus to browser’s search box. You don’t need to open any window/tab, neither do you need to use mouse!

Above shortcut is for Firefox only. Figure out similar shortcut for your browser. You can also check top 10 Firefox shortcuts.

Link: Official Gmail Blog post

Related: Use Advance Search Operators in Gmail Search

Is Microsoft Partnering with Bollywood?

Recently, I watched a new Bollywood movie Raaz – The Mystery Continues” (wiki link) and a particular scene from this movie caught my attention.

In the scene, Emraan Hashmi, the lead actor, performs an online search while looking for some information. Unlike the Hollywood smarties, who might have used Google search instead, our desi hero uses Microsoft’s Live search. You can see the following screenshot (at 57 mins 02 secs) captured from the movie below:

live-search-for-cashback-in-raaz-bollywood-movie

(click on image to enlarge it)

As you can notice from the URL highlighted in the above screenshot, he uses Live search with cashback. Cashback search results show only products and not information from the web unlike normal search engines.

Now it’s hard to believe that while shooting for a film, the actor wanted to earn some cashback by using the live search. Looks like Microsoft paid some bucks to the movie producer to keep Google out of the scene.

This is not a new trend in Bollywood movies. In the past, many Bollywood movies have exclusively showcased many sponsored products. The only thing that surprised me was  the way Live search has been blended into the scene. It looks completely natural.

If you have more time to kill, just check search results for query, “tum ashudh ho – david cooper”, from Live Cashback search, normal Live search and Google. :-)

Related: 5 Best Torrent Search Engine

Adding of Comments Temporarily Disabled on Orkut [FAQ]

Our reader Vish has been facing problem while posting comments on some friends pics. You can see screenshot of new error message, “Adding of comments temporarily disabled”, below.

Addition of comments disabled on Orkut

While I am not sure if this is bug on Orkut, there are few activities which may cause this problem.

Any of above activity, or any other similar activity, performed intentionally or unintentionally by you or on your behalf may block you temporarily from performing few activities on Orkut.

In case of such use of scripting, you will be banned to add comments, post scraps, etc. Your account will go into sort of read-only mode for 8-10 hours.

Now if you continue to see error after 1-2 days, then try sending a scrap to a friend. If you get again temporarily disabled error, then problem is with your account. If you are not performing any activity as mentioned above, its time to change your orkut login password as chances are someone else, a person or a third-party orkut tool/service, abusing your account.

Just in case this error keeps coming only with comments on photos, don’t worry much. A similar bug was reported on Orkut in the past. So hopefully, problem will be rectified automatically in coming days by Orkut itself.