Gmail added support for a HTML5 feature that has been recently included in Firefox and Google Chrome: selecting files using drag and drop. If you use Firefox 3.6+ or Chrome 4+, you can now add attachments by dragging the files from your favorite file manager to Gmail. When you drag the files, Gmail shows a drop zone where you need to place the files.
“We’ll enable this for other browsers as soon as they support this feature. For now, you can drag and drop attachments in Chrome and Firefox only,” mentions Google.
The nice thing about this feature is that it no longer uses the Flash uploader, which isn’t very reliable. What I don’t understand is why Gmail still uses the Flash uploader to select multiple files directly from the browser, now that the input tag supports more than one file. If you disable Flash in Firefox 3.6 and don’t use drag and drop, you can only attach one file at a time:
While surfing the web on your iPad, we expect many of you will want to check your Gmail. If you go to gmail.com in your browser, you’ll see something different than what you’re used to on the desktop. We’re releasing an experimental user interface for the iPad built on the Gmail for mobile HTML5 web app that we launched last year for the iPhone and Android devices. Those devices have large screens compared to other phones, and tablets like the iPad give us even more room to innovate. To take advantage of the iPad’s large display, we’ve created a two-pane view with your list of conversations on the left and messages to the right.
To try this new interface, go to gmail.com in your browser. We recommend adding a homescreen link for easy access. As this interface is experimental, expect changes as we continue to develop and optimize. Also, please let us know any ideas or feedback that you have. You can also access Gmail on the iPad through the native Mail app using the IMAP protocol.
Additionally, the iPad ships with a number of Google services pre-installed. As with Mac computers and the iPhone, you’ll find Google Search in the top right corner of Safari. The YouTube app for iPad is built-in, so you can watch HD videos and read and write comments. The new Maps app on iPad takes advantage of high-resolution satellite and Street View imagery, includes a new terrain view, and lets you search for local businesses and get directions. Just like on the iPhone, you can also go to the App Store to download Google Mobile App with search by voice. Of course, Google Mobile App was originally designed for the iPhone’s screen dimensions, but we’ve adapted it to work on the iPad and we’re looking into new ideas to make the app even better.
As you use Google’s web-based applications on iPad, you’ll notice that you sometimes see the desktop user interface and other times you see the mobile interface. We’ve evaluated the behavior of each Google web app using the iPad Simulator, and we are serving the interface we feel works best. If you’d like any help using our products on iPad, please click the ‘Help’ link within the product.
We’re particularly excited by how tablet computers create the opportunity for new kinds of user interaction. Here on the mobile team, we often talk about how mobile devices are sensor-rich: they can sense touch through their screens, see with a camera, hear through a microphone, and they know where they are with GPS. The same holds true for tablet computers, and we’re just starting to work through how our products can become even better on devices like the iPad.
When using mail delegation in Gmail, you can now allow a delegate to see your contacts in addition to your email.
All languages supported by Gmail
How to access what’s new:
Administrators must first enable mail delegation by checking the ‘Mail Delegation’ checkbox under ‘Email Settings’ in the administrator control panel. Note: This option will only be visible if your control panel is set to ‘Next generation (US English)’.
To enter a delegate, users can select the ‘Accounts’ tab under ‘Settings’ in Gmail and click ‘Add another account’ to enter their delegate’s email address.
Once the delegate is signed into their own own Gmail account, they can then access their manager’s account from the account selection menu at the top of Gmail. The delegate can access their manager’s contacts by clicking the ‘Contacts’ link. Clicking the ‘To’, ‘Cc’, or ‘Bcc’ links in the mail compose window will also bring up the manager’s contacts.
Today at the Gmail Behind The Scenes panel at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, key team members of the Gmail team revealed the true secret of the service: Shit umbrellas.
Product manager Todd Jackson made the humorous revelation when explaining how the Gmail team works as a group of about 100 people, the vast majority of which are engineers. “You can either be a shit funnel or a shit umbrella,” Jackson says.
What he means by that is that as a product with hundreds of millions of users (and a company with thousands of employees) there’s a lot of stuff constantly being hurled at the team — as a shit umbrella, the product managers protect the engineers from getting distracted. It’s not enough to be a “shit funnel” where they would pass some of the junk down to engineers, they need to fully protect the engineers.
This sentiment was echoed by Edward Ho, who is known as “Mr. Buzz,” as he’s the one who built up the Google Buzz team (a sub-unit of the Gmail team). Ho noted his hatred for unnecessary meetings, and has made sure that when the Buzz team needs to have them, they are based around demos, not talking about things. “It’s all about what you’ve done,” Ho says.
Some other interesting notes about Gmail:
The original invites system wasn’t a marketing ploy, it was simply an engineering decision to make sure they could scale
There’s a 30-1 engineers to products managers ratio in the Gmail team — it’s certainly one of the biggest ratios at Google
The Gmail team is spread over a few offices around the world (including Zurich), it used to be more, but they consolidated to help the product.
There are “hundreds of million of users” — the third-largest email provider
In India, Gmail is the number one email provider
Gmail is growing fasters internationally than in the U.S.
Gmail is available in 53 languages
Internally, the Google Buzz team was known as “Team Taco Town” after an SNL skit
Google uses Gmail internally (obviously), switched over from Microsoft Outlook at launch (about 6 years ago)
Many people (including myself) have come to the conclusion that Gmail, with its threaded messages, spam filtering, and vast storage space, is one of the web’s best webmail providers. In fact, we like it so much that we use it for both our personal accounts and work accounts using Google Apps. But that also poses a problem: many of us wind up having to maintain two separate Google accounts, which means we have to swap logins whenever our Gmail, Reader, or other data is stored under the other account. Fortunately, there may be an end in sight for this juggling act.
As today’s SXSW panel on Gmail came to a close, the panelists revealed one last juicy tidbit: they’re working to resolve the problems with multiple namespaces that users have to deal with. The team didn’t get specific — they simply repeated that they have to deal with the same problems, as they have “@google.com” accounts for work and standard Gmail accounts for personal use. And they know it’s a pain.
There’s no time frame, and we have no idea what form the feature will take. But at least we know Google is working on it.
Google will roll out a number of security enhancements to Gmail this week, and perhaps as early as Tuesday, says a source with knowledge of the new features. The changes are specifically designed to cut down on phishing and hacking attacks on Gmail accounts.
There are two specific changes that we’ve heard Google is implementing. The first is a secondary line of defense when a user has lost his or her password. If a Gmail account is accessed from a new computer, the user will have the option of receiving a text message with a new one time use pass key. They then enter that pass key into Gmail to authenticate themselves and lock out any bad users with access to the account.
Google is also possibly implementing a different version of OAuth for its contacts exporter (something often used by other services to import Gmail contacts). It’s likely to be OAuth Wrap, an easier to implement version of OAuth. If developers can be convinced to use it instead of harvesting and storing user credentials, there’s less of a security hole.
These changes are likely in response to the Chinese security incident from earlier this year. A secondary line of security for users would have avoided the Twitter documents leak from last year, which originally started with a guessed Gmail password and spiraled out of control from there.
This isn’t confirmed and Google hasn’t responded yet to our email, but we’ll update with any further information.