Kp’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘gmail

On the Google Desktop gadgets team, we’ve seen countless requests for a Gmail gadget over the years. That gadget is finally here, so if you’ve got Google Desktop for Windows, give it a try.

You’ll see that it covers the basics such as reading, searching, and sending messages. You can star messages, use the same keyboard shortcuts, and we didn’t forget about contact auto-complete. It doesn’t take up much space in your sidebar or desktop, and you can also resize it to show as few or as many messages as you’d like.

When I’m at work, I keep two instances of the gadget open: one logged into my personal Gmail account and the other set to my Google Apps account for work related stuff. Instead of getting lost in a sea of tabs or browser windows, I can bring up the gadgets in an instant (hint: pressing the shift key twice brings up all your hidden Desktop gadgets).

The Gmail gadget currently works with the latest release of Google Desktop for Windows. Try it out and please let us know what you think.

There is a nice hack out there which you can use on your GMail account to store files [such as mp3, power point, PDFs, ZIP etc]. The only limitation is that you can not upload a file larger than 10Megs in size and also that you will not see a classic windows explorer kind of interface for the uploaded files inside GMail since all the files that you upload are stored as email attachments. However, after installing a shell extension in your system, you can access all the uploaded files in the same way you access file and folders in other system drives [such as a USB drive].

Sounds interesting? Let’s first begin with the installation.

Step# 1Download and install the GMail Drive Shell Extension from [Softpedia] . You may have to restart your system for the changes to take effect.

Step# 2 – After reboot, double click “My Computer“, and check to see if ‘GMail Drive‘ shows up. If you see the drive, it means that your installation was successful. If not, please re-install the shell extension and reboot the system.

GMail Drive in My Computer

Step# 3 – To login and start uploading files to your GMail account, double click on ‘GMail Drive’ in ‘My Computer’ and login to your GMail account. [On a shared computer do not set auto-login]. You can right click and select ‘Login As’ to login as a different User.

GMail Login Screen

Step# 4 – Post login, you will see an empty drive. To create a new folder, right click and select New->Folder. Double click on the folder and then either create a subfolder or just ‘Copy-Paste’ or ‘Drag & Drop’ a file into it. That’s it! You have discovered a new way of using GMail, to store your files. ;) That’s why I love GMail. )

GMail in Windows Explorer

Please note that, an uploaded file/folder has a prefix of GMAILFS when you see them in GMail. I recommend that you create a label called ‘MyFiles’ and label all such emails [uploaded files in fact] so that you do not confuse them with other emails.

uploaded files with GMAILFS prefix

To check the current usage of your GMail drive, right click on the driver letter and select properties.

Now that you know how to use your 2GB of storage in GMail to store your important files, go ahead and upload all those important certificates, mp3s, spredsheets, documents, PDFs etc.

Happy Uploading! )

Did you notice anything special about this screenshot of GMail message ? Well, it has an embedded animated graphic instead of the plain text signature.

GMail has a wonderful rich text editor to compose emails but there are some desirable things that you cannot accomplish in GMail using standard techniques. For example:

1. GMail allows plain text signatures but there’s no way to embed HTML signatures with images like the ones you see in Yahoo, Hotmail or Microsoft Outlook email.

2. Gmail Rich text editor has standard text formatting features like font sizes, colors, bullets, hyperlinks, indentation, etc. but there’s no way to add other HTML tags like TABLE, DIV, EMBED, etc. So how do you embed Youtube videos, sophisticated table layouts, Flash animation movies, inline podcast players like odeo, etc. in GMail ?

3. You can compose new email in either Plain text or Rich text but how to do you compose a new GMail message in native HTML something like a webpage created in Microsoft Frontpage ?

4. Gmail lets you attach pictures to outgoing email but it shows up as an attachment on the recipients’ screen. How do make embed a photograph that appears inline with the actual email message ?

5. You want to embed the Feedburner Headline Animator graphic or the Feedburner Subscriber Counter to your GMail signature which is an animated GIF file.

Now the really good news is that you can do all the above easily with GMail and here’s how to do it:

To embed an HTML signature with Images in GMail ?

Create an HTML signature snippet using notepad or WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver/Frontpage/Golive or online with Geocities/GooglePages/Tripod Lycos. Your signature can have all kind of HTML tags (including DIV, EMBED, TABLE) but all linked Image files, audio files and video clips must be pointing somewhere the web and not on your desktop.

Once you are satisfied with the layout, select the entire portion of the webpage that you want to appear in the GMail signature and drag it to the GMail compose window. Alternatively you can copy it to the clipboard and then press Ctrl+V in the Gmail window.

I have an illustration here:

Step 1: The HTML signature is created in Google Page Creator. Select the entire signature and press ctrl+c.

Step 2: Open a new Gmail compose message window. Now either drag the signature in this GMail window or press Ctrl+V to paste it.

The same technique can be applied to embed anything in your gmail message. Say you want to embed an image between two sentences, just drag the image to your gmail compose window and drop it there. It’s that simple but makes you email more appealing as if it’s composed inside Microsoft Word or Outlook.

To embed Feedburner RSS feed animator, open that graphic in your browser window and drag-n-drop it anywhere in your gmail message.

You can even point images to your blog or embed HTML forms so that recipients can subscribe to your blog directly from your gmail message. Or create tables in Microsoft word and place them in your email. Or even send entire webpages as email so readers can view the page in the message itself without having to click the link. The possibilities are endless.

Windows/Mac/Linux: Firefox extension Xoopit turns Gmail into a robust, searchable media management tool for every piece of media that comes through your inbox. By indexing every attachment as well as every link to photos and videos from sites like Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube, Xoopit allows you to easily search for and find any picture or video and view it from directly inside Gmail. Imagine this: You’re looking for a YouTube video that you were sent a link to recently, but you really don’t know where to begin your search. With Xoopit installed, you can just click the Videos tab and you’ll see this:

Finding that video becomes a lot easier at this point, but you can narrow down the search even further by sorting the results, filtering by sender, or searching for the words associated with the video (even if all the original email contained was a link).

Today, Xoopit has also integrated their media search with Gmail’s search box so you can get media results when you search Gmail the regular way (see their demo video for more). Once you’re viewing a video or picture in Gmail using Xoopit, you can even post it to Facebook or to your blog directly from Gmail (WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, and LiveJournal are all supported).

file-view.pngOverall, Xoopit sounds (and is) pretty great, but there is a catch, and it’s kind of a big one: You need to be willing to turn over your Gmail password to Xoopit to allow them into your inbox to index all of your email. It would be excellent to see this sort of functionality incorporated directly into Gmail so you don’t need to trust a third-party with your inbox. However, if you give it a try and are unhappy with Xoopit, you can email Xoopit support and have your account deleted.

Xoopit is free, works wherever Firefox does. They’re currently in a private beta, but they’ve promised access to Lifehacker readers who follow the signup link below. As soon as you sign up, Xoopit will start indexing your media. You should start seeing indexed content in a few minutes, and all of the media in your inbox should be indexed in under 24 hours. If you give it a try, let’s hear how you like it in the comments.