Posts Tagged ‘Gmail’

Google Adds Contact Restoration Feature

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Google announced a very welcome feature this morning. Google Contacts now has a restoration feature to undo any mistakes or deletions within the last 30 days. Using a pretty simple form, you can restore anywhere from 10 minutes ago to the full 30 days.

This feature would have been really useful recently when I made the classic error of forgetting Google tags things and doesn’t use folders. I managed to delete a lot of “duplicate” entries only to discover I had erased all of my family and friends. A few imports later and some time spent re-organizing my Google Contacts and I was back up to speed. Had this feature existed I could have rolled back to 10 minutes prior and saved myself a lot of work.

The restoration feature is not as smart as one might hope at this point though. If you’ve added new contacts since the date you are restoring you will lose them. This feature sets your account to the exact state it was in on that date. This brings back the deleted contacts, but deletes new ones too. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to set it up this way, but it would be nice to see this feature get tweaked a little. Google allows you to undo a restoration too if you need to get back one of the newer contacts deleted by the restoration. This will ease any fears of permanently deleting your current address book as well.

The feature is already live, so you can go about your day knowing you won’t wipe your contacts clean by accident and find yourself without recourse. Hopefully we won’t ever have need of this, but it is nice to know it is there. I for one am glad Google added this restoration capability, as I’m sure all of Google’s other customers are.

Gmail Moves to the Android Market

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Google has announced a change in its Gmail app for Android. Rather than waiting to be updated when the OS is upgraded, users will be able to get updates from the Android Market.

According to Google, there have been improvements made on message replies and quoted text, among other things. The “important” message actions on an email will remain fixed to the top of the screen rather than scrolling out of site on a long message. You can also view quoted text, just as in the web version. Last, but not least, there is now limited support for priority inbox as well.

I think it is a good idea for Google to move beyond the slow upgrade process of the various phone manufacturers/carriers. Unfortunately though, this app is Froyo only. I won’t be able to get it for a long time, if ever, on my Xperia X10. If you have Froyo (Android 2.2), you can get the app upgrade here. If you are on your desktop you can scan this QR code with your phone.

If you do have Froyo, enjoy. If you are going to be waiting around a while, I am right there with you. It will be nice when Google prevents carriers from dragging their feet on system upgrades. I am really looking forward to it.

Making Calls from Gmail

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Google released a new feature on Gmail today. Now you can call people from your Gmail account. The service is part of the existing Voice and Video chat features.

As Google points out, the problem with traditional chat services was the requirement that both parties be at their computer and logged in. This allows a user to call an friend’s phone if they are offline. It’s a pretty simple concept, and it works.

I tested out the call feature as soon as it was active in my account. It felt a little like Google Voice, which I had anticipated. When you call someone from Gmail, if you have a Google Voice account your number will show up on caller ID. Calls to the US and Canada are currently free, and will be at least through the end of this year. Google offers cheap calls overseas, ranging from 2 cents a minute on landlines, and in the ballpark of 20 cents a minute to call mobile phones.

Calling from Gmail requires a microphone and speakers if you don’t have a headset. I would imagine you’d want to invest in a headset if you are going to use this feature a lot. I really could have used this feature last night, when AT&T dropped 20 calls. Not having a landline, I could have called back through my computer and ended the constant callbacks. I am really looking forward to using this feature more. It looks like it is for Gmail only, and not Google Apps email. A lot of things take longer to reach Apps accounts though, so I am not too concerned about it. If you don’t have the call feature in your Gmail account yet, it should be coming soon. Check it out and let me know what you think. Check out the video below for a brief introduction by Google.