Posts Tagged ‘Gmail’

Texting – Part 3

This entry is part 4 of 20 in the series Gmail Master

sms_smlThis episode is sponsored by GotoAssist. Try it free for 30 days

Welcome to part 3 of our 3 part series on texting from Gmail and Google applications. If you haven’t listened to parts 1 or 2, you can download them from iTunes or listen directly from the Gmail Podcast blog at chuckchat.com. That information is not required for this podcast, but it makes for a more complete picture of what you can do with Google applications and text messaging.
In parts 1 and 2 I showed you how to send free SMS messages from Gmail and Google Voice. In this part of the series, I cover how to send SMS messages to Google Calendar to quickly create appointments.

Let’s say I want to meet a friend for lunch tomorrow. I simply send a text message to GVENT (48368) with a message “Lunch with Bill at The Point tomorrow noon”. The text message gets sent to Google and put in your calendar. When the appointment is put on your calendar, you receive a text message confirming your appointment.

There are several ways to construct your message. If you remember “who”, “what”, “when”, and “where” you should have no problems. Only “what” and “when” are required. The message format follows the same rules as the Quick Add feature in Google Calendar.
The “what” is any text. The event title is created from this.

“When” is the date and time of your appointment. Leaving the time off makes the appointment an all day event. Using the words “at” or “on” can help Google recognize the when. By default, Google calendar creates one hour appointments. You can optionally specify start and end times or a duration.

You can add people to the guest list if you include “with” and one or more email addresses.

Where is also any text following an “at” or “in”.

Other examples are:

  • Disc golf with Jerry at 6PM
  • Take Cat to Vet Monday 3:00PM
  • National conference 3/15 – 3/20 in Orlando
  • Weekly one-on-one with Jason 10 – 10:30 every Wednesday at Jason’s Office

I use this feature all the time and absolutely love it when my wife tells me something. I can quickly text to Google Calendar and know it will appear our shared family calendar.

Here is some helpful reference information from Google how to create SMS text messages that get turned in to appointments.

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Texting – Part 2

This entry is part 3 of 20 in the series Gmail Master

google-voice-sms

This show is sponsored by Citrix GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days

Welcome to part 2 of our 3 part series on texting from Gmail and Google applications. If you haven’t listened to part 1, you can download it from iTunes or listen directly from the Gmail Podcast blog at chuckchat.com.

In part 1 I showed you how to send free text messages from Gmail chat. Another way is to use Google Voice. Google Voice has several features that make it attractive, including:

• Publish a single phone number and have it ring your home, work, and mobile phone or any combination based on the caller.
• Free voice mail with personalized greetings
• Voice mail automatically converted to text and emailed to you with both the audio file and translated text attached
• Listen to, or read, your voice mail on your computer or mobile phone
• Free text messaging

Begin by signing in to Google Voice using your Gmail account at voice.google.com. At the top, just under the logo, click the SMS button. Begin typing the name of the contact or their phone number. Make sure you have mobile phone numbers associated with the contacts you intend to send text messages. Unlike the Gmail Chat feature, it will not prompt you for the contact if you enter only the number. Similarly, if you enter a name that has no mobile phone number associated in your contacts list, you cannot send a message.

After you have entered a phone number or contact, type your message and press send. It’s that simple. Managing your Google Voice conversations from the web interface is very similar to Gmail. Responses will show up in your Inbox or you can look at just SMS messages and filter out voice mail by clicking the SMS link on the left. You can reply by typing in the text area just under the conversation and click Send.

Currently, Google Voice is free and open by invitation only. Contact me if you are interested in trying it out.

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Texting – Part 1

This entry is part 2 of 20 in the series Gmail Master

gmail-sms-from-chatThis episode is sponsored by GotoAssist Express. Try it free for 30 days.

Google offers a number of ways to send and receive text messages for free without using a mobile phone. This is part 1 of a 3 part series on using text messages, or SMS, with Gmail and other Google applications.

Let’s begin with Gmail. Texting from Gmail chat is fairly easy. To do this you will need to enable the Labs feature “Text (SMS) in Chat”. You can find this in the Labs tab in the Settings page.

Once the labs feature is setup, begin by opening the chat window and signing in to chat. Type the name or phone number of the person you want to send a text message to in the “Search, add, or invite” box. If this person is not already in your contacts list, don’t worry. As you type, a window appears under your text with options “Mail, Invite to Chat, and SMS”. If you entered a phone number, only the SMS option will be displayed. Finish entering the text then choose the SMS option and a window appears. In the window, finish filling out the contact information. If you entered a name, provide the phone number, if you entered a phone number then provide a name and click Save. This information will be added to your contacts list for easier reference later.

gmail-sms-contactWhen Gmail gets done saving the contact information, a window appears at the bottom of the screen – much like a chat window. Type you text message and send it with the Enter key. If the other person responds, you will receive a response in the same window. Gmail makes it as easy to send text messages as it is to chat – and best of all it’s free.
Another way to send text messages from Gmail is to use the SMS in Chat gadget. This is also a labs feature that works very similar to the Text (SMS) in Chat feature. I don’t recommend using this labs feature. First, it requires the Text (SMS) in Chat feature to be turned on – so why not use that instead? Second, at the time this article was written, the labs feature seems to have a bug in that it prompts you for contact information each time instead of reusing previous entries from the contact database. This creates duplicate entries in the contact database each time you use it.

Keep in mind that although the text messaging using Google may be free to you, it may not be free to the person receiving or sending replies. Currently, text messages from chat only work with US phones.

Listener John writes in and asks “Is there a way to set a primary email for a contact that has multiple addresses?”

While I cannot find a definitive rule or setting to make any particular email address the primary one, my own experience has shown me that mutliple email addresses seem to be ordered by the frequency they are used. The more you use a specific address for a particular person, the more likely that address will appear at the top of the list. If you’ve got information to the contrary, let me know on the blog or drop me an email.

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More Storage

This entry is part 27 of 35 in the series Green Belt

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This week, Google announced they have slashed the pricing on additional storage. If you’ve been using Gmail for a long time, you probably remember when it was introduced with 1GB of storage. Compared to the 10MB my ISP was giving me at the time, 1GB was a comfortable upgrade – and it was free. Later, Gmail increased the storage to 2GB where it stayed for quite some time. A couple years back I ran out of space so I archived everything to my local PC and wiped it off Gmail to start over. If I had only waited a few more months I would still have all my original email online. Today Gmail offers in excess of 7GB of free storage, yet some people still manage to fill up their mailbox.

This week Gmail lowered their pricing on additional storage. You can purchase an additional 20GB for only $5 (US) per year. Additional increments are also available at similar pricing.

What’s nice is that the storage is shared between Gmail andPicasa, their online photo manager, as well. Picasa defaults to 1GB of storage so the extra space for your photos makes a nice upgrade at a reasonable price.

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Auto Unsubscribe

This entry is part 9 of 23 in the series White Belt

This episode is sponsored by GotoAssist – try it free for 30 days.

Have you ever wondered what to do with those messages that you get because you are on someone’s mail list? You don’t read them regularly (or at all), but you just don’t see a quick link, or you are not ambitious enough to unsubscribe. Well the geniouses at Google have an answer for that now too.

The feature is called auto-unsubscribe. The feature is quite simple to use. Just open the message like you normally would, and click the “Report Spam” button. If the message is recognized as a mailing list, Gmail will present a popup window with an option to unsubscribe or identify the message as actual spam. The main difference is that marking it as spam won’t stop the sender from sending more messages in the future.

If you click the option to unsubscribe, Gmail will send back an Unsubscribe request to the list. This request could take up to several days to process, but I found it to be pretty reliable. I read about this feature several weeks ago, but it took a while before it started working on my account.

Here’s today’s quick tip… actually two tips regarding labels. The first is my recommendation to enable the labs feature called Goto Labels. Begin by enabling keyboard shortcuts in your general settings, then enable to labs feature Goto Labels. Now you can use the keyboard shortcut ‘g’ then ‘l’ (letter L) which brings up a quick popup window allowing you to type the label. Like addresses, quick typeahead is available. Using this, combined with the condensed screen options mentioned a few shows ago, this gives you rapid access to your labeled messages while maximizing your screen real estate. Which is very important if you have a smaller screen such as those found on netbook models of portable computers.

The screen resolution of many netbooks is 1024×600 which can be a little constraining for people used to much higher resolutions on desktop or full size laptop machines. When you start applying and displaying one or more labels, you lose the effectiveness of the subject line. Fear not, there is a labs feature for this growing problem also. The feature is called “Hide Labels” and it allows you to turn off labels on the conversation index without affecting the functionality of the labels themselves, like the Goto Labels labs feature just mentioned. Now you can use your netbook and enjoy Gmail even more with the Hide Labels labs feature.

Finally, it was discovered this week that Gmail has surpassed AOL mail and moved in to third place for online mail services with 37 million users, right behind Hotmail with 47 million, and Yahoo with a commanding lead 106 million unique visitors.

That’s all for this time… Comments, suggestions, or questions can be sent to gpodcast@gmail.com or check the website for full information and archives of all previous Gmail tips at chuckchat.com/gmail. I have no affiliation with Google other than as a satisfied Gmail user. Special thanks to listener Scott Reynolds for his tip on the Goto Labels labs feature. Thanks to you for listening, and don’t forget to write.

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Improved Search

This entry is part 18 of 27 in the series Black Belt

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Let’s face it, few of us take full advantage of the full power of the Gmail search feature. We look for a keyword or email address and perhaps we add “has:attachment” if we know the message included a picture or something. If done properly, the search would look like “chuck.tomasi@gmail.com filename:(jpg OR png)”. I’m sorry, that’s a little too geeky.

Fortunately, Gmail Labs includes a feature that can speed up and simplify the search process. It’s called “Search Autocomplete”. Turn it on by going to Labs under Gmail settings. Now as you type in the search box, Gmail will provide suggestions as you type. The nice thing about this is Gmail also provides the “geeky” way of doing the search.

Let’s take the example above. I start typing “Chuck Tomasi” and Gmail provides my address. Now I just type “photos” or “pictures”, select “has photos” from the drop down list and the search query automatically inserts (filename:(jpg OR png)). Similarly, you can type in the word “attachment” and Search Autocomplete will list the most common attachment types for you.

Gmail includes the geeky query for you so you can tweak it as necessary. Say you want to include GIF image types to your photo search. Just manually change it to “filename:(jpg OR png OR gif)”.

Personally, I think Search Autocomplete should be on by default because it really cleans up the search process. You’ll save so much time you can send me a note writing a quick review for this podcast on the iTunes Music Store.

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