Gmail Priority Inbox

I just noticed the Priority Inbox feature being announced at the top of my Inbox in red today and decided to give this fascinating new feature a test drive. Surely you’ve heard the news, but if now, this should fill you in.

I was really hoping to give this feature a thorough test right away after hearing of it a couple of days ago, but unfortunately I keep my Inbox far to clean and have to wait until tomorrow morning to test it out for real.

As you can see, I didn’t have enough mail to truly test the new feature out. I usually go through around 100 message throughout the course of the day, but at this point I’d already filtered through them all. 🙁

I’m excited to try this out, as about 80% of the emails that I receive are skim-able and not all that dire. I like the idea of Gmail learning to sort these as you correct it from the beginning and am curious to see how well it works, but also a little concerned on privacy (thanks to my brother for the link!).

I’ve developed a sort of skill for parsing through the emails in my chaotic inbox every morning and am wondering if the new Priority Inbox will actually feel more chaotic, but I’m willing to give it a try for a while. Compare the Priority Inbox above to the regular Inbox below.

One of the best features of this new feature for me is that it doesn’t replace the regular Inbox. As you can see in the screenshots, you’re still able to select either view you prefer easily from the list on the left.

Now I’m curious. Have any of you used this feature yet? And if so, do you find it useful?

Google Buzz

Now that news has spread about a potential “Twitter-Killer” coming from Google as early as 10:00am tomorrow (according to trending topics on Twitter), its time for my own dish of speculation.

Around a week ago, I read a blog post mentioning that Google’s Gmail has restricted the use of the label “Buzz”. Reading this, I immediately attempted to create a label named “Buzz”in my own Gmail account and the rumor was confirmed.

Playing off of this small find, I wonder if Google will release a product named “Google Buzz” that integrates into Gmail so you can follow “Twitter-like” updates by simply clicking on the Buzz label.

According to TechCrunch, the new product will be integrating at least two existing Google products, while one is highly speculated to be Gmail. This is where my theory with the Buzz label comes into play. 😉

What do you think this new Google product will be? Any speculation? We’ve all got until 10am Feb. 9, 2010 to guess!

UPDATE (2009-02-09):
It looks like my speculations were correct. TechCrunch has a short write up regarding Google Buzz.

UPDATE 2:
If you want to start using Google Buzz right away and its not integrated into your Gmail account yet (it should appear between the Inbox and Starred tabs once its been integrated, but it will take some time for most people to receive the update) you can use it on your mobile (iPhone/iPod Touch/Android device) by opening your browser and navigating to “buzz.google.com“. That’s it! Hope your busy buzzing!

Gmail: Server Error 502

Well, Gmail has been down for a while today. I’m hoping it will come back up pretty soon, but if you’re also getting an Error 502 message then you may be waiting for a while as well.

I did a little research (google is your friend..unless it’s Gmail with a 502 message, haha) and it looks like it happens fairly often to people. One person reported not being able to login for up to 4 days!

I also read that sometimes logging in with a different browser will temporarily fix the problem, but it didn’t work for me with Opera, Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Hopefully everyone else is having better luck.

UPDATE: It appears that the Gmail outages were indeed as wide spread as I had assumed. Webmonkey.com even covered the issue in their blog (hours after I released a post about it, haha) and got the following statement from Google on the issue:

Since about 2 p.m. Pacific Time today, many Gmail users have been unable to access their email. We are very sorry for this interruption in service. The issue is being caused by a temporary outage in the contacts system used by Gmail which is preventing Gmail from loading properly. We are starting to roll out a fix now and hope to have the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Even though you may not be able to get to your inbox right now, your mail is safe, including new incoming messages.

We will post an update in the Gmail Help Center ( http://mail.google.com/support/ ) when more information is available.

Gmail seems to be back in order now and apparently came back online around 8pm EST. Hopefully no one is still affected by the outages.

Zenbe: Everything you need in your email!

ZenbeZenbe is an exciting new e-mail service! Zenbe makes an effort to push the limits of email as we know it today.

Zenbe’s goal is to pull web services that we use everyday into one easily accessible window. If you’ve every used Digsby (an instant messaging client that I blogged about earlier) then you’ll love using Zenbe.

Zenbe can pull all of your other email accounts into one, allowing you to check them all from Zenbe instead of logging into each email service individually.

Zenbe sports a side panel that you can show or hide any time you want, which features an Agenda or Calendar tab, Address book tab, To-do list tab and a Facebook tab! The Facebook tab gives you a quick overview of what’s happening with all of your friends!

ZenPages allow you to easily share calendars, task lists, files, even email, with whomever you like…whether they use Zenbe or not. They’re also customizable, allowing you to add a map, a slideshow, a video, an RSS feed, nearly any kind of embeddable widget.

Zenbe also includes a tab at the top of the page that contains all of the files that have been emailed to you for a quick overview and makes searching for attachments a piece of cake! You can also upload files to this section to email to others or just save for later use!

Zenbe is current in the popular web 2.0 private beta stage, but you can request an invitation from the homepage! If you jumped on the Gmail bandwagon when Gmail was new then you’ll enjoy testing Zenbe and seeing the cool new features that Zenbe has to offer! Take the tour and see what you think!

Gmail 2.0

Google recently announced they want to release an updated version of Gmail that’s supposed to be even faster than the current one. Speed increases are due mainly to a complete rewrite of the JavaScript back-end. The main goal of the new version is to improve contacts management. “Gmail 2.0” is apparently available already and slowly migrating for users who choose to go ahead and update before it is officially released. If you would like to do the same then you can do so by following the link below:

https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2

Until Gmail 2.0 is completely stable, you will have the option of switching between classic Gmail and Gmail 2.0 interfaces on the fly. I have attempted to update my Gmail account using the above link, however, I’ve read that they have began to slow down and the migration is not immediate any longer. So there is no telling how long you will have to wait, but rest assured it will eventually migrate to the new interface. Now for some previews:

gmail

New Contacts Manager
gmail

New Contacts Manager with lots of information options
gmail

Nice new avatar selection dialog (excellent example of the power of Web 2.0 design!)
gmail
The select box (drop down box) has been replaced by a more
dynamic approach to the select box (using divs that are updated)!
gmail

All in all the updates do appear to be small, however, word on the virtual street is that the overall speed of Gmail has been improved on tremendously! I’ve heard of small complaints about slow initial load times, but that it is very snappy and fast after initially loading. I’ve also heard reports that the chat window is no longer hide-able, however, this may be temporary as it has not been publicly released yet and is not a final product.

Google, or more specifically Gmail, is one of the best examples on the world wide web of just how awesome Web 2.0 is! Let’s define “Web 2.0” right quick:

Web 2.0 according to Wikipedia.org:
Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. The term became popular following the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the internet. According to Tim O’Reilly, “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

Web 2.0 is bringing the internet to a more personalized level. Web sites are beginning to ride the fence between being an application and being just a web site. The look and feel of web pages are starting to become oddly similar to many desktop applications that we use daily.

Just think about it. What are some applications that you use on your computer on a daily basis (or atleast once a week)? I’ll make a small list: