The recent breach of Yahoo’s Yahoo Mail servers is the latest in a string of high-profile hacks that have taken center stage in the tech media lately. It seems that no service is safe from malicious hackers, who constantly come up with terrifying new ways to steal your data. Of course it’s not just wide-scale hacks we have to be afraid of — our various online accounts are always at risk. Google’s Gmail service is hugely popular so it’s often a target for hackers on the prowl. And considering how awful our passwords often are, hacking into Gmail isn’t always much of a challenge. As Tech2 noted on Friday, however, there’s a pretty easy way to find out if your account was hacked without waiting for your friends to email you asking why you’re suddenly peddling Viagra on behalf of a shady Vietnamese pharmacy. More →
Google on Thursday unveiled a new Gmail feature – emailing Google+ users whose email address you actually don’t know. Moving forward, Gmail will suggest Google+ connections as recipients when a user composes a new email, without revealing the recipient’s email addresses to the sender until the recipient either replies to the email or follows the sender. While some Gmail users may welcome the feature, others may see it as a privacy threat… and of course Google has enabled it by default. Thankfully, there’s a way to prevent random Google+ strangers, companies or services that may abuse this feature from emailing you using solely your social network profile.
Gmail’s pop-up windows for composing emails have been fairly polarizing among many longtime Gmail users who would like to see Google bring back the old full-screen composition view as the default option. Those users are in luck, however, as CNET reports that there are two new Chrome extensions that do for Gmail what many Windows 8 apps did for Microsoft’s operating system: They restore a beloved feature that many feared was gone for good. Both the Classic Gmail Compose extension and the Retro Compose for Gmail extension bring back the old full-screen compose page and they do so while playing “nice with other Gmail extensions as well as Gmail’s new inbox tabs,” CNET says. If these extensions catch on, it will be interesting to see if they spread to Firefox, Internet Explorer and other browsers.
Earlier this week, Google adopted a new strategy and is now placing targeted advertisements in the inboxes of Gmail users. The company is rolling out a redesign of the Gmail interface that separates mail through different tabs, such as Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. In what appears to be an effort to increase revenue from its hugely popular service, Google is also placing advertisements disguised as emails under the new Promotions tab. Naturally, users aren’t happy with the company’s new policy — but luckily, there is a simple way to get rid of the new ads. More →
Google has started rolling out its new Gmail interface to millions of users. In what appears to be an effort to increase revenue, the company is also placing advertisements inside Gmail inboxes. The redesigned interface separates emails through different tabs, such as Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. There have been reports that users are seeing advertisements inside the “Promotions” tab in their redesigned Gmail inbox. Google has always placed advertisements alongside emails, however having ads in the inbox is a completely new practice. The company noted that “ads are based on information from your Google account,” noting that users can control the ads they see by changing their settings. More →
Google (GOOG) has run into its own share of user privacy controversies in the past, but that hasn’t stopped the company from putting its foot down when it comes to giving law enforcement officials access to its users’ Gmail accounts. Per Ars Technica, Google spokesman Chris Gaither said flatly this week that Google requires “an ECPA search warrant” in order to “compel us to produce content in Gmail.” This is significant because, as Ars writes, law enforcement officials can often access private emails without first obtaining ECPA warrants, as with the recent sex scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus “in which intimate e-mails were revealed despite the lack of any criminal action.”
Google (GOOG) announced on Monday on the Official Gmail Blog that its free Gmail voice calling service will be extended through 2013 in the U.S. and Canada. The company has provided free domestic calling within the U.S. and Canada for the last two years, further extending the complimentary service repeatedly just before the new year. Google product manager Mayur Kamat didn’t detail why the company is extending the service in his post on the company’s blog. It’s still unclear why Google is keeping free Gmail voice calls separate from its Google Voice service bit either way, free is free and we’re not complaining.
Google (GOOG) on Friday announced plans to no longer support a variety of services in an effort to renew its focus on “creating beautiful, useful products that improve millions of people’s lives every day.” The changes will begin on January 4th when the company shuts down several less popular features in its Calendar service, including the ability to create a new appointment and check the calendar through text messaging. Google will also discontinue support for its Sync service, which allows users to access Gmail, Calendar and Contacts through Microsoft’s (MSFT) Exchange ActiveSync protocol. The service will be shut down for new consumers on January 30th, although the company will continue to support Sync for existing connections and its business, government and education customers.
Users took to social networks on Monday to vent their displeasure with Google (GOOG) following a 40-minute disruption of service affecting the company’s Chrome Web browser and Gmail service. It was previously unclear what caused the services to simultaneously crash and some suspected the company was hit with a denial-of-service attack. Google engineer Tim Steele took to the company’s developer forums to clear up the confusion and confirmed what some developers had already suspected: The reason for the crash had to do with the Google Sync servers getting overwhelmed following a change in the code, not a DDoS attack. More →
Just one day after providing a major update for its Android Gmail app, Google (GOOG) has delivered a much-needed revamp to its iOS Gmail app, providing several key features such as support for multiple accounts and autocomplete functionality. Other key features to the new Gmail app include an infinitely scrolling inbox, the ability to respond to Google Calendar invites inline, and greater integration with the Google+ social network. Gmail 2.0 for iOS is now free to download from the Apple (AAPL) App Store and has been updated for both the iPhone and iPad.
The wait is over for Android users who want pinch-to-zoom capabilities for their mobile Gmail apps. Android Police reports that Google (GOOG) has released its new Gmail 4.2 app that will be available for all devices with Android 4.0 or higher. The new version of Gmail, which we first learned about in October, lets users zoom in on their emails with a simple pinch gesture and also gives users the option of deleting or archiving their emails with a simple swipe gesture. Android Police says that other additions to the app include “in-app video and photo attachment capability, and larger photo previews, along with a brand-new gallery view for emails with multiple image attachments.”
Have you ever wanted to send a file attachment in Gmail that’s larger than the 25MB limit? Google (GOOG) has heard your cry and is smartly integrating Google Drive with its Gmail service to allow for attachments up to 10GB, or 400 times the current limit. Attachments are stored in the cloud and recipients “have access to the same, most up-to-date version.” To start attaching 10GB files to your emails, all you need to do is click the Drive icon instead of the usual paperclip icon and choose your file to upload. Google states on its official Gmail Blog that since Drive debuted in April, millions of people have used it to store and share files. Gmail integration with 10GB attachments is just the next logical step for its cloud storage service, and is very welcome for anyone who likes sending big files. More →
Emails on Android smartphones are about to get easier to read. Android Police this week got its hands on an unreleased update to Google’s (GOOG) Gmail Android app that adds much-desired pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete capabilities. The pinch-to-zoom functionality speaks for itself: It lets users zoom in on their emails with a simple pinch gesture. The swipe-to-delete feature, meanwhile, gives users the option of deleting or archiving their emails with a simple swipe gesture, although Android Police notes that this feature can be turned off for users who worried about accidentally deleting their entire inbox. And finally, the new Gmail update lets users mark emails as phishing attempts as well as marking them as simply spam. A video demonstration of the new features is posted below. More →