The folks over at Google Labs have been hard at work, trying to tighten the grip of your virtual leash, and today introduced a new way to feed the desire for instant gratification: SMS text messaging for chat. How often have you tried to chat with somebody, but they don’t respond because they “just walked away from their computer?” Well, Gmail chat will now send those messages along to your intended recipient’s cell phone so it’ll be that much harder to ignore you; and if you’re in the middle of a conversation you want to continue, but they need to leave their computer, you can now do that seamlessly.
Just go to the Labs area in Preferences to turn it on - you can type any US phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select “Send SMS.” You can also select the contact you want to SMS first and then add their phone number. You can send messages to US numbers from anywhere in the world. If you’re on the receiving end, when you get a text message from Gmail on your phone, messages from each contact will come from a unique number with a 406 area code (406 spells G0O…), reply like you would to any other text message and the reply will be routed through Gmail’s servers straight to your friend’s Gmail chat window.
If your recipient REALLY doesn’t want to talk to you, it’s easy enough to reply to the message with the word BLOCK and you’re just out of luck, no more SMS delivery to that contact! If you’re someone who doesn’t have a text messaging plan or are limited in the number of messages you can receive for free, you can simply reply with the word STOP and you won’t receive texts from anybody using Gmail. Another awesome innovation that makes it that much harder to hide…
Read More | Gmail Blog
Tired of using emoticons to express what only your face can truly convey? So are Google‘s Gmail software engineers, hence, Tuesday’s introduction of Gmail Voice and Video Chat. In order to enjoy the new video/voice experience you need to first download and install the voice and video plugin. Once you’ve installed the plugin, to start a video chat, just click on the “Video & more” menu at the bottom of your Gmail chat window, and choose “Start video chat.” You’ll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable while it’s ringing, and then you’ll see and hear your friend live, right from within Gmail. You can click the “pop-out” icon to make the video larger, or click the fullscreen icon in the upper left-hand corner for a more lifelike experience. “But what if I don’t have a webcam?” Well, Google knows the right people and is offering a few discounted models through November 30th. Check out the video (up top) for a demonstration.
What’s next? Video chat on your iPhone? We can only hope…
Read More | Gmail Blog
First there was drunk dialing – with a virtual Rolodex of both personal and work-related contact information just a keystroke away, it was only a matter of time before Google Labs came up with an idea to combat the latest device of the cocktail-inspired composer: drunk e-mailing. Mail Goggles, a new Gmail feature offered only on weekends between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. was created with the intoxicated in mind. The program requires users who’ve enabled the function to perform five simple math problems within 60 seconds of clicking the send button, just to verify that you’re in the right state of mind – a designated driver on the so-called information superhighway.
Read More | The New York Times
This morning, T-Mobile and Google held the press conference to announce the first phone to officially launch with the Android OS, the T-Mobile G1. You are going to hear a lot of people comparing this one to the iPhone, so let’s jump in to the feature set. The G1 sports 3G, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera, is based on a fully open-source OS. The Android OS gives you access to the Android Market (think of that as being similar to the App Store), as well as built-in support for Amazon’s MP3 store, for downloading music on the go. Even cooler, in our opinion, are the things that are real firsts in the mobile phone space - Push Gmail, and Google Maps with Street View.
You can pick up the T-Mobile G1 on October 22, at a nice price of $179.99 with a 2-year agreement. If you can’t wait to spend the cash, you can even pre-order one now at the G1 website. If you are over in the UK, it’s yours in November, while the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Czech Republic will have to wait until sometime in the first quarter of 2009.
Read More | T-Mobile G1 product page
Earlier today, I received word that a second iPhone App had been denied access into the App Store, with Apple citing that the application duplicates existing functionality already found in the Apple ecosystem. This is beginning to become a problem, and if you aren’t seeing why, allow me to explain why this is so alarming to me. In case you hadn’t heard, a couple of weeks ago, an app called Podcaster was rejected by Apple for similar reason. The line of thinking there was that Podcaster, an app that would allow you to subscribe to and download podcasts while on the go, duplicated functionality already found in iTunes.
Now, if you’ve never used an iPhone, allow me to point out the absurdity. There is nothing on the iPhone or iPod touch that allows you to subscribe to, or even download, a podcast to your device. Sure, you can open the file in Safari, but that is not what we are talking about. That’s right, even if you enter the iTunes app, you will find right away that podcasts just aren’t there. So we have to then assume that Apple was referring to the iTunes desktop software when they said that Podcaster duplicated functionality. Really? Is that a major issue that a company decided to fix a gaping hole on the iPhone, even if that hole doesn’t exist on the desktop? Why, then, are there so many calculators in the App Store? After all, not only do we have a calculator as part of OS X, but there is a calculator that ships installed by default on the iPhone as well. It seems we have a double-standard here.
Keeping track of multiple projects? Gmail has now made it even easier to keep your inbox straight. The newly introduced colored labels make it easy to see at a glance what’s on your plate. Easy to create and edit, and even easier to add to existing filters, consider it another way to manage your email without actually having to look at it.
Read More | Official Gmail Blog
Gmail, Google‘s popular web based email solution is likely about to get IMAP features - a welcome addition for email power-users. It appears that some users are seeing options to IMAP-enable their account in the settings page. This will help Google’s service compete with Yahoo Mail which has offered IMAP access for some time now.
We don’t yet have the option on our accounts here at Gear Live, but we definitely look forward to trying it out. If your account has the new option, be a pal and leave a comment to let the world know what you think.
Read More | Download Squad