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Microsoft Says “Goodbye Hotmail, Hello Outlook”

Microsoft has replaced Hotmail with Outlook.com. Head over to Outlook.com and sign-up for a new account or sign-in with your existing Hotmail account.

The layout is new and different, with a focus on reducing spam and showing more relevant content.

Currently, it is in preview mode but soon Hotmail users will get prompted to make the move.

With Outlook.com, Microsoft has increased controls for managing newsletters, along with showing Twitter and Facebook updates within the layout itself. In other words it has recognized that a lot of personal communication happens on social networking more than email.

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Outlook.com’ s Design and Features

The new service has a neat design and with 360 million accounts, this could be a good reboot for them. More importantly for Microsoft, keep them away from Gmail.

I am quite impressed with the design and layout of the new email service. Microsoft has really done some out of the box thinking for coming up with this design. The design is consistent with their metro-styled Windows 8 layout design.

The social integration allows users to chat with Facebook friends, look up photos shared by contacts, all from the mail box.

The compose layout has minimalism, which is actually a great idea as it ends up being a distraction free environment while writing an email.

With the promise of Skype being integrated in the future, it might undercut Google’s plans for pushing Google+ Hangouts on Gmail.

Finally Microsoft is doing away with its old legacy of Live IDs. They will be replaced by Microsoft Accounts. These accounts by the way can be used to log into any Windows 8 device.

Which email service do you use? If you are using Gmail, would you migrate to Outlook.com? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Outlook.com

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News

Hangouts for Gmail Users: Smartest Move for Google+

A lot my friends from the blogosphere consider Google+ a flop show. But despite the flop status, it enjoys a very popular service called Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts allows users to video chat with many users at the same time. Hangouts are popular on tablets and even mobile phones.

Google has announced that Hangouts for Gmail users. The roll-out should happen over the next few days.

Hangouts on Gmail

Google’s Smartest Move

It can be argued that Gmail is Google’s most successful social product. It is used extensively for video and voice chat. I use Gmail’s chat more often and regularly than Google+ to keep in touch with my friends.

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Hangouts on Gmail, is a subtle way to get Gmail users get hooked to Google+.

It means you can now video chat with friends who are using a mobile phone or tablet and using the Google+ App even if you are using Gmail on your computer.

Google+ Hangouts has largely been seen as a fun product but it can be very a crucial product for offices, especially if they are on Google Apps. With Hangout Apps users can share desktop screens or work on a Google Doc while collaborating in teams.

With Hangouts being made available with Gmail, expect it to turn the heat up on Skype.

Do you think Hangouts for all Gmail users will give Google+ a boost? Do drop in your comments.

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Tips

Save Gmail Attachments to Google Drive with One-Click

I like using Google Drive a lot more because of things like backing up my photos from my Android to Google Drive drive (which even Dropbox can do). I also use a host of Google related services has meant I have started adopting Google Drive a lot more.

In a way a lot of people are already on Google Drive if they are using Google Docs. But Google Drive allows any type of file to be saved which makes it ideal to download attachments from my Gmail account.

I use Chrome and found Gmail Attachments to Drive extension very useful.

Features of Gmail Attachments to Drive

If you are using Chrome, simply install the extension. Simply sign-in to your Gmail account and look up an email which has a file attached to it.

As you can see in the image below, you will get a new option to ‘Save to Drive’ for the file..

It basically opens the web interface of your related Google Drive account to download it. Ideally I would suggest making a specific folder to move your downloaded attachements into to keep your Google Drive neat and organized.

I have been using this extension for a couple of days and unfortunately could not find a similar one for Firefox. If you do come across any Firefox add-on that does the same, do drop it in comments.

Link: Gmail Attachments to Drive – Chrome

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News

Gmail Auto-Complete is Tweaked for Individual Emails!

One of Google’s most underrated yet extremely useful search feature is auto-complete. Just type in the query and it shows auto-complete options. Gmail also has a search bar which is extremely useful for looking up old email exchanges you might want to look up.

Gmail also has auto-complete feature in its search bar but it only used to prompt with addresses or titles of email.

The new auto-complete as announced by Gmail, will be made more relevant to the email you are viewing currently.

Lets say you are reading a email from a friend about a book he recently bought, then when you search the auto-complete will show up more options which are related to books rather than just contacts. This will be data used from your emails in the past itself.

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The change seems rather small and will be hardly noticed by most users except that their email search will get a lot more intuitive.

Scanning Emails is not really Evil!

Earlier in the year, when Google announced a single Privacy Policy across various services, people seemed to be angry with the fact the Google would use data across services to show more ads. Also some experts complained that Google would be scanning their emails which were on Gmail, conveniently ignoring that most email services do the same with their spam filters.

This sort of auto-complete feature actually is a good example of how Google improves the email experience by crawling your emails.

Do drop in your comments.

Related: Fun with Google Auto-Complete: Difference between US and India!

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Tips

Gmail Tip: Assign Labels To Emails Before They Are Sent!

I use Gmail to manage all my emails. Creating filters and assigning incoming emails different labels is a handy way to sort out your email. But tracking the emails you send are not as easy to sort out. Some might require following up while some might not. This is why Gmail has recently introduced allowing users to add labels to emails even before sending them out. 😉

  • Just click on compose and start writing your email. A new option to add a label to that email appears. Users can also ‘star’ it along with assigning labels.
  • Unfortunately I did not see this option with my Google Apps account but hopefully they will roll it out for App accounts soon.
  • You might also want to check on Gmail Undo Send feature, which allows users to stop an email they might have sent by mistake.

Gmail over the last year did concentrate on some fancy changes like a new design and integrating it with Google+ circles. Many of these changes were cosmetic but  it seems that Gmail is now back to rolling out features which are more productive.

What are your views on Gmail and its changes over the last year? Do you think it is not churning out productive features with as much regularity as before? Do drop in your comments.

Related: [Online Tip] Publish your Email Load for Gmail!

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Tips

Open All Email Links with Your Gmail Account on Chrome!

If you logged into your Gmail account on your Chrome browser and saw a pop-up at the top, it might be a good idea to pay attention to it. It is a pop-up that asks you permission to open all email links (eg: [email protected]) in your Gmail account directly. 😉

If you click on the Use Gmail button, then every time your come across an email link, simply click on it will open a Compose window on your Gmail account.

This is very useful for people who use Gmail on Chrome exclusively for managing their email. If So any email link from any application will open up with compose window with your Gmail account in Chrome.

If you want to do the same with your Firefox browser, use this tutorial to use Gmail as default for opening all email links.

If you are using an email client like Live Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird to manage your email, you might not want to allow Gmail to open all links in Chrome. Otherwise this seems like a logical choice for many.

Do drop in your comments.

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Tips

Schedule Your Emails on Gmail and Google Apps [Right Inbox]

I like to check different email accounts at different times. Most times we do not need to schedule emails but sometimes it makes sense to schedule an email for wishing someone on birthdays or anniversaries. It can also be used to set a reminder email, that reminds you about a particular task in a few days or weeks (though I would suggest using Gmail Tasks or Google Calendar). 🙂

gmail_schedule_rightinbox

Right Inbox Features

  • Install Right Inbox on your Chrome or Firefox browser. Sign into your Gmail account or Google App account for email and it will ask your permission to allow it to work with that particular Gmail account.
  • Now compose an email and click on ‘Send Later’ button. This will allow you to send emails at pre-set timings or at a specific date and time.
  • Right Inbox is in beta and hence is free. But as it is in beta, it is better not to schedule extremely important emails with this tool, even though I have not come across any issues.
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Bonus Tip!

If you want to find the best time to schedule an email, try to understand the time-zone the person reading your email lives in. Also their work timings if it is a work related email. For example sending an email at 9.00 am in the morning might work wonders as your email might show up among the top 5 emails in the recipients inbox when they check it for the first time in the morning. 😉

Here is a quick demo of Right Inbox.

You might also try using Boomerang to schedule emails on GMail.

Try out Right Inbox and drop in your comments.

Link: Right Inbox

Categories
News

Google+ Circles Gets Integrated into Gmail!

When Google introduced Google+, it insisted that you do so with a Google account (read your Gmail account). The idea was that your Gmail contacts would easily sit into Google+ Circles as most people use their email accounts to connect with friends, family and colleagues.

Google+ was not as well-integrated into Gmail possibly because of the backlash suffered from Google Buzz. But today Google has taken the plunge and has introduced Google+ Circles on the left hand column of your Gmail layout.

Google_PLus_Gmail

Google+ Circles show up like your other labels. If you look up all your circles, you can see the mails from people within those Google+ Circles.

Google+ Biggest Ace is Gmail

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Google+ has over 40 million people signed up. But chances are that only a fraction of them are active on Google+. Google has packaged Google+ as a watering hole for all Google services and products. Gmail has a ready-made contact list for people to connect with each other. Google+ will leverage it and allow people to share on Google+ without actually visiting the social network.

If Google+ manages to get all those millions active, it will get some others like Facebook and Twitter a little nervous.

Do you like the idea of Google+ Circles’ in your Gmail? Do drop in your comments.

(via Google Blog)

Categories
Tips

Enable Gmail’s New Re-Designed Login Page

The Google+ effect is spread across the board with Gmail. The new login page for Gmail will also start complying with new design, Google is introducing across all its products and services.

So do not be surprised if you come across this login screen for Gmail in the near future.

New_Gmail_Preview

The difference is with the nice bold button asking visitors to create an account. It also shows links to their Blog, Twitter, Facebook and Buzz profiles.

The new design seems to conform with Google new unified design theory and brings in more uniformity across its products.

If you go the current login page for Gmail, you will see a link at the bottom which will load the new design as preview.

Do look it up and let me know your views through your comments.

Link: New Gmail Preview

Categories
Tips

What is behind Google’s Unified Design Theory!

If you have noticed Google recently, you should have noticed the new interface for almost all products.  The interesting part is that all the interface looks very similar to Google plus interface. Google is investing heavily in Google Plus to drive growth in its future on the web.  They have big plans for it.

The first re-design that took place was the black menu bar at the top of all its products.

Take a look at the Google plus interface. The tab that you are visiting is show in ‘Red’. Other significant options are highlighted with ‘Red’ prominent buttons.

Google Search Layout

Updating Google search interface is not something new.  Google repeatedly updates its search interface making the searching easier and more efficient for users.  However the latest update, unifies with Google plus.  Nothing more than that. Take a look at the screenshot.

New Google search interface

New Google search interface

 Google News:

New and updated Google news U.S edition interface

New edition is cleaner than the previous one.  If you have noticed closely, multimedia contents are more discoverable in this new one.

Google Docs

Google added an option to switch to new interface. However  you can revert back to classic interface, if you don’t like it.

Google Docs new interface

Google Docs new interface

This new layout also stays consistent with Google Plus.

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Gmail

Google had added the Google plus theme to Gmail Theme library.  You can enable it by visiting themes in settings and selecting ‘Preview’ and ‘Preview(Dense)’.  Unlike other products, I like new gmail look.  It appears less cluttered and more effective.

Gmail new interface
Gmail new interface

You can read more about that here

Google Books:

Google Books has also got its Google Plus like design update.

Google Books new interface
Google Books new interface

More white spaces now and less space for books, which I feel is not user friendly.

What is behind this unified design theory?

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  • With Google plus update on all Google product,  Gmail looks more cleaner, while other products remains same and Google books appearance gets downgraded.
  • Google might be looking to make fans for one service more to another product or service with a lot more ease, as the design and layouts keep things familiar.
  • It also might be a way to suggest that all Google products will come together at Google+.

But unfortunately Google products does lose its unique look and some people might get tired of the uniformed design across all Google services.

What are your views on Google’s new design layouts for all its services and products? Do drop in your comments.


Editor’s Note: This post was written by Guest Author Girish Mony. If you would like to write Guest Posts on Devils’ Workshop, join us here.