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Posts Tagged ‘new features’

You probably already knew that you can go secure with your Gmail account by using https in place of http in the address bar. Going secure protects you from eaves dropping and is even of greater importance if you are concerned about your privacy while using wifi. It means that your mail goes encrypted between your browser and the Gmail servers.

Well it turns out that soon you will be able to do this natively using your account settings in Gmail. Check out the Settings for your Gmail account for a setting like this:

secure settings
Look for this [Image from Gmail Blog]

If you don’t have it till now, have patience you will get it soon. An important point to consider before going secure is that it can make your mail experience slower (only slightly though).

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digg logoThe social news website Digg has a new Recommendation Engine. The new engine is aimed at giving the newly (upcoming) stories more exposure. Actually it makes it easier to find upcoming news stories according to your taste, you can then choose to Digg the story or not according to the merits of the particular story. Digg felt the need of such a Recommendation engine because Digg gets 10-14k new stories each day, and its difficult for the users to find and digg/not digg each of them.

The recommendation engine essentially presents you with a subset of the total upcoming stories, it thus filters the upcoming stories and presents to you the stories it thinks you will like. It makes this choice by taking into account the stories you have dugg earlier. If A and B have dugg some common stories in the past, then the new stories which A has dugg, and B has not might be of interest to B and vice versa, this is the principle that the Recommendation engine uses to make the recommendation. Apply it to all the users in the Digg universe and you have a handsome recommendation list!

The feature will be rolled out to some of the registered users randomly. Eventually every registered user will have the feature over the next week. Its a nice addition to Digg and will give exposure to the new stories and a chance to be at top, rather than the stories which are already at the top. From the Digg user’s perspective it will give them a chance to Digg a good story and see it reach to the front page, rather than re-digging a story that is already on the Digg front page.

For more check out the videos posted by Digg’s Kevin Rose about the new engine here and here. Let’s wait and watch how well it performs and how well do the user’s accommodate it. Have you tried the feature? what do you think?

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There has been lot of hype and publicity for Firefox 3. Working silently on the other hand is the Norwegian company Opera on their flagship product Opera Web Browser. Like Firefox Opera is also nearing release of version 9.5. The 9.5 b 2 is already out and you can give it a try. I have been using 9.5b1 for quite some time so let me take you on a tour on what 9.5 has to offer. Here are some of the features that are improvements over the 9.2x versions and would be pitted directly against FF3’s new features by many.

opera coming soon
Opera 9.5 is also nearing release

 

  • Challenging the Awesome Bar of FF3 (the address bar, as it is called) is the Quick Find feature of Opera. FF3 searches what you are typing in the url bar within your history pages’ urls and titles. Quick Find of opera on the other hand searches what you are typing in the entire content of the pages you have visited. Like eg after visiting this page if you type Awesome Bar in the url bar then it will list this site as an option too. How cool is that? One up on FF?
  • The next cool feature is Opera Link which syncs your browser bookmarks and speed dial between your mobile and computer browsers.
  • Speed Dial which I mentioned above lets you access a thumbnail view of your most visited sites on one page(which can be updated ofcourse) you can than click on the thumbnail to view the full page.
  • You can choose to have an individual set of preferences for individual sites.
  • Opera has built in mouse gestures and bittorrent client.
  • It has an inbuilt mail and chat client(you require opera accounts for them).
  • Opera gives you thumbnail preview of the tabs when you hover over them.
  • Opera can also be controlled using your voice. This is one feature I really like.
  • Then there are not so revolutionary features like fraud protection, skinning, download manager, password manager etc

So should you give Opera a try (if you already haven’t)? My answer is Yes. Its definitely worth it. Although the Quick Find feature is slightly but noticeably slow sometimes( it has to be, it searches full text of pages) but still I would say it does a pretty good job considering what its actually doing.

Another downside I would like to mention is incompatibility with some sites of which the incompatibility issues with Google services hit you the most. All of them will actually work but you will not be able to experience them in their entirety, plus the lack of addons for Opera unlike FF which has loads of them(frankly speaking just too many of them). Opera however compensates to some extent in this department by offering many features(mouse gestures, speed dial, tab preview etc)out of the box for which FF requires extensions.

Just take it for a ride and let me know what you feel? How does it compare with FF?


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Your favorite webmail – "Gmail" has got a new set of features. Yes really. Didn’t you notice? No problems we will find them and enable them! Actually this time there is no link on the top right corner letting you know that you can try some of the new features.

[UPDATE: The link is now there, it was not at the time of writing. I am faster than Google!]

The new set ( yes there is a complete set of new features) can be found in a tab named "Labs" if you to the "Settings" page. As you know with all Google Labs products, these products mature and make their way into the mainstream line. See the graduates of Google Code.

Where to find the features

 

Back to the features at this moment there are 13 features which you can use. You can enable or disable every single one of them independently. Here is a complete list of the features you can use:

Some of the features

 

  • Quick Links
    • Adds a box to the left column that gives you 1-click access to any bookmarkable URL in Gmail. You can use it for saving frequent searches, important individual messages, and more.
  • Superstars

    • Adds additional star icons. After enabling this feature, you can choose which icons you wish to use in the "General" Settings page.
  • Pictures in chat
    • See your friends’ profile pictures when you chat with them.
  • Fixed width font
    • Adds an option to the reply dropdown menu that lets you view a message in fixed width font.
  • Custom keyboard shortcuts
    • Lets you customize keyboard shortcut mappings. Adds a new Settings tab from which you can remap keys to various actions.
  • Mouse gestures

    • Use your mouse to navigate with gestures. Hold right-click and move the mouse left to go to a previous conversation, move it right to go to the next conversation, and move up to go back to the inbox view. Works best on Windows.
  • Signature tweaks

    • Places your signature before the quoted text in a reply, and removes the "–" line that appears before signatures. Can’t use this and the "Random signature" Labs feature at the same time.
  • Random signature

    • Rotates among random quotations for your email signature. Can’t use this and the "Signature tweaks" Labs feature at the same time.
  • Custom date formats
    • Adds options to the general settings page allowing the date and time format to be changed independent of language. For example, you can use a 24-hour clock (14:57) or show dates with the day first (31/12/07).
  • Muzzle

    • Conserves screen real estate by hiding your friends’ status messages.
  • Old Snakey
    • Kick it old school with Old Snakey! Enable keyboard shortcuts and hit ‘&’ from the main page to play a game of snake.
  • Email Addict

    • Lets you take a break from email and chat by blocking the screen for fifteen minutes and making you invisible in chat.
  • Hide Unread Counts

    • Hides the unread counts for inbox, labels, etc.

As you can see these are developed by different people(Gmail Engineers) , but more importantly what this suggests is that sometime in the future may be you will be able to write your own addons for Gmail. How cool would that be? Something like Firefox addons may be? Who knows. For the moment this seems a welcome addition to Gmail and don’t forget to send your feedback about the features to Google and about this article to me (you can send it to Google too but write good things!)

By the way do mention in the comments here which ones do you think you will use and which other features if any would you like to see in Gmail.

See Also:
Gmail Hacking


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