Category Archives: gmail

3 Of The Best Apps For Gmail

A lot of us use Gmail.  It’s the email of choice these days (yes, I know that Hotmail is still the leader in user total).  But some of you may not know that there are actually a lot of add-ons available for Gmail – both from third-parties and from Google themselves via their Labs feature.  If you haven’t checked out Labs the click on that beaker icon at the top of your Gmail screen.  Here are three apps from third-parties.


Boomerang allows you to schedule your email – both sending and receiving.  It’s a free download and there’s also a version for Outlook in case you’re stuck in that world.

It’s compatible with both Firefox (PC and Mac) and Chrome (PC and Mac).  It allows you schedule when you receive email by providing a “Receive Later” button in Gmail.  You choose a time when you want to deal with said message  and that that prescribes time the message will be moved back to your Inbox.  That’s nice, but more importantly, it provides a “Send Later” button for email that you compose.  This can be really handy, especially if you have something like a mailing lsit for announcements.  It allows you to get the message drafted and ready to go, but sends it when it will be relevant.


FollowUpThen is a free service that doesn’t even require a sign-up.  It allows you to add a follow-up date or time in in the CC or BCC field of an email such as or oer and it will then send a reminder if there has been no follow up.  If you included the address in the CC field then the reminder will go to both you and the email recipient.  If you used the BCC field then the reminder will go only to you and the recipient will never know.  They will only send one reminder so you don’t need to worry about being overwhelmed.  However some recipients may not be very receptive to have their email address given out to a third-party.


Some of you may already be familiar with Backupify.  It actually does a lot more than backup just Gmail.  It also backs up Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Docs, Picasa, Photobucket, Delicious, Hotmail, Friendfeed, Basecamp, Zoho, Blogger and WordPress.  There’s also a business version that handles a little bit more.  It’s easy to set up and once you’re done then backups are automatic.  Every Friday I get an email telling me it has done a backup and the services it did.  If you tried it early on after it’s launch in 2009 then you may have experienced some problems with Gmail, which initially recognized it as an attack and prompted users to change their Gmail password.  But, that problem has been ironed out and it seems to be rock-steady now.  I have not had to do a restore yet, but I’ve read over the process and it seems straight-forward.  This may be the best, and most versatile of the three apps I just mentioned.  And, as a bonus, it handles so much more than just Gmail.

IDC Predicts Big Change in IT and Telecoms

The analysts over at IDC reckon that 2010 is going to be a year of “recovery and transformation”.  On the recovery side, they’re expecting global IT spending to increase by 3.2%, returning to 2008 levels but a large chunk of this spending is going to occur in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

But more interestingly, the transformation part is going to be increased adoption of  cloud services and the arrival of “enterprise-grade cloud services” and complementary application platforms.  IDC thinks this will be the most important development for the next 20 years particularly when linked in with the growth in mobile devices.

Regarding mobile, IDC sees these competing with PCs as user’s main devices, with over 1 billion mobile devices, fuelled by increasing adoption of smartphones and Apple’s iPad tablet.  They predict over 300,000 iPhone apps and 5x growth in Android apps.  Interestingly, they also predict “apps stores” for netbooks, which I think has already been evidenced by moves from Intel.

Other predictions include “socialytic” apps which mashup business apps with social networks, further reductions in CO2 through IT solutions and more mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.

Personally, I think the cloud services linked to mobile devices is right on the money.  I’ve recently started using a Palm Pre and it links to several on-line services including Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote.  Looking at just Google, there are connections to Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reader and I’m expecting Tasks, Documents and Notebook to be available before long.  So I’m already living in the cloud and I love it.

The whole press release is over at IDC.

Is Google going to crack?

googlechromelogoWith great interest I have been following the news articles and rumors of the upcoming Google OS release.  I am trying to wrap my mind around the Google business plan.  From search engine to online advertising dominance to Gmail to Google docs to Google Code to Google Mobile OS Android to Google Chrome to Google Wave to Google Voice to Google Chrome OS.  Not to mention a few other less known projects and discontinued items.  It is apparent that Google wants to control/manipulate our online life. And of course bring in a few billion advertising dollars.

So tell me what is different about Google than the “Ma Bell” days of yesteryear?  Google has the cash to buy pretty much any start-up it wants.  Google has the brain power to create pretty much any product it wants.  Google has and wants it all.  Or does it?  Google is still a company.  The larger the company the more difficult it becomes to maintain a cohesive core business.  The more difficult it becomes to truly allow creativity and innovation within.  The more difficult it becomes to maintain quality and support.  The harder it becomes to truly keep the user’s data and best interest in mind.  Eventually what goes up must come down.  Even the mightiest companies weaken, create spin-offs, and face downsizing.

As much as I love the Google products I am beginning to wonder, how much more diverse can they go before we see some cracks in the chrome?

Google, My Google!

google2I came into work late this morning due to some car trouble, and walked into my computer lab on campus to a choruses of “there’s something wrong with the Internet!”  It’s finals week, so of course there is a lot of anxiety anyway, but mess with these kids’ Internet, and they lose their minds.

Turns out it wasn’t the Internet.  It was Google.  I logged into my desktop machine and tried to launch Gmail, which is one of the first things I do on any given morning, and it would not load.  Oddly enough, neither would the Google home page.  Nor YouTube.  This last one was probably the thing that sent the lab kids over the edge.  They spend half their days on YouTube.

For me, the loss of Gmail is critical, closely followed by Google docs and then the Google search homepage, which I must use a hundred times a day.  By noon, everything was back up and running just fine, but that two hours or so while I couldn’t access some things was pretty tense.  Most of us probably don’t think too much about how much time we spend using Google products, and what a show-stopper it is when it isn’t working.  For me, it impacted me for a couple of hours, but apparently the outage happened much earlier than my arrival at work and for some lasted about four hours or so.

Google is not yet revealing what the problem is, but promises to do so soon.  I am wondering what the explanation will be when it comes out.

And in the end, what risk are we taking by putting so many eggs in the Google basket?  I like their products and use them regularly, but extended down-time can be a real deal killer.  I don’t have a job where anything that was caught up in a short Google outage is going to keep me from getting my job done, but an extended outage could lead to very real consequences.

Things to ponder on a Thursday.

More handy Gmail options

In the 415 podcast Mike talked about Googles new ‘goggles’ option which if you set asks you maths questions before you send an email at times you might have had a drink or seven. Personally I have never had a problem with sending email under the influence (although I could use a feature like that for my mouth).

There are a number of other interesting options that you can find in the “labs” section of your Gmail settings. Ranging from as bizarre as an option to play Snake within your mail window, to adding “mark as read” as a button instead of a menu item. has a list of 5 features and some instructions on enabling them. My personal favorite from their list is the ‘forgotten attachment’. This option flags up a warning if you have the word ‘attach’ or a variation in your message and no attachement in case you meant to attach something and forgot. I do this all the time and wish I could get this option for my work email.

Some other options worth looking at are ‘custom keyboard shortcuts’ and ‘mouse gestures’, which are self explanatory; and ‘Superstars’ which give you multiple star colours and other icons, which can be very useful for managing your starred email with a bit more granularity.

It goes without saying that all the labs options are beta.

Do you want Google Managing all your Mail?

Google has announced that users of Gmail, will soon be able to retrieve mail from  up to five other accounts. Those that are totally in love with web based mail may like this, but I still download all of my Gmail into Outlook and very rarely login to Gmail itself.

This feature has been requested for a long time and I know that Hotmail allowed you to do this as well. I already use rules within outlook to manage my multiple e-mail accounts so until Gmail brings more outlook like features to the service, I cannot see using them to manage all my mail.

What do you think? Would you prefer to have Gmail pull up to 5 other accounts email into your Gmail account? [TechCrunch]

GNC-2006-11-10 #215

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Show Notes:
End of the Road
Take Data and Run!
Blog Pimpin
Gmail Features
Google Smack Down!
Apple Fires Little Twit
Mac Standard with Windows!
VOIP 33 Reasons
Useful Macbook Freeware
Circuit City Black Friday
Linksys New Router
PS3 Super Fans!
Skype 3.0
Open Media
Startups On the Cheap
Microsoft Zune Review
IE Zero Day Attack
ISP’s need to be help Liable
Internet Predator
First Photos from Space!

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