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Advanced Gmail Chat Features Made Easier To Find

Whatever sorts of microphones and webcams the average Gmail user has attached to his (or her) computer may soon start getting a lot more use.  Yesterday evening, Google made the video chat, voice chat, and group chat features much more prominent.

Gmail and Google Buzz Get Google Maps Previews
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Google has released a new Gmail Labs feature that lets you preview Google Maps within Gmail and Google Buzz.

"I often receive emails containing addresses in them — where to meet for dinner, the location of my friend’s new apartment, etc. To find out where these places actually are, I have to copy the address, open up Google Maps, and paste it in," says Google software engineer Mark Knichel, explaining the motivation for creating this feature.

Will Google Buzz Find Mainstream Appeal?
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Google is starting to make some significant moves that may give Google Buzz a significant boost. For example, this week, a "Reshare" button was announced. This is essentially Google’s version of the retweet. If you follow a Buzz user who posts an interesting update, you can hit the "reshare" button (down with the comment, like, and email buttons) to repost that post to your own Buzz stream.

Microsoft Previews New Hotmail Upgrade
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Microsoft has introduced a preview of its Hotmail email service aimed at reducing inbox clutter and winning over users of other rival services such as Yahoo mail and Gmail.

Key highlights of the revamped Windows Live Hotmail include the ability to create and edit Office documents right in the inbox, view new emails from friends, social network updates, shipments and appointments upon logging in.

Is a Lack of Search on Google Profiles Hurting Buzz?
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Google’s Rick Klau points out that homepage for Google Profiles is missing a pretty obvious feature – search. While Google profiles are tied into your Google account as a whole, when it comes to Google Buzz, your Google profile is essentially your Wall. All your Buzz posts appear here, and so do any of your personal links you want people to see.

Gmail Expands Drag-And-Drop Feature

About four weeks ago, Gmail gained a drag-and-drop feature that made attaching files to emails considerably more convenient.  Now, as a sort of complement to that text-focused upgrade, another new feature is set to make inserting pictures into emails easier, as well.

A noteworthy point here is that Google’s skipped past the beta/lab stage, offering the new option to lots of ordinary Gmail users.  Another important fact is that it’s user-friendly – the sort of thing even people who don’t read WebProNews and official Google blogs might discover for themselves.

UC Davis Faculty Snub Gmail Over Privacy

Privacy Awareness Week is perhaps not working out the way Google would have liked.  There’s word this afternoon that officials at the University of California, Davis have decided not to deploy Gmail on a campus-wide basis due to privacy concerns.

Google Reclaims Gmail Name In The UK
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Four and a half years ago, Google lost the right to use the term "Gmail" in the UK due to a trademark dispute, and ever since, "Google Mail" is what its email service has been called in the region.  Only now, Google’s finally ditching the two-word moniker and going back to good old Gmail.

Gmail Opens Up To Apps With OAuth Support
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Sharing one’s password is considered a huge security sin; a recent Symantec survey made clear that telling it to even a boss or spouse is verboten.  Gmail users may be glad to hear, then, that Google has figured out a way to encourage the creation of Gmail-related apps without asking everyone to compromise on the password issue.

Google Alerts Users of Suspicious Gmail Log-In Activity
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Google introduced a new security feature for Gmail today. It notifies the user when a suspicious log-in activity is detected on their account. This notification will come in the form of a message saying ""Warning: We believe your account was last accessed from…" along with the geographic region that Google can best associate with the access. Engineering Director Pavni Diwanji explains on the Gmail Blog:

Six More Features Graduate From Gmail Labs
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It looks like the people in charge of Gmail Labs have decided to do a little spring (or more accurately, late winter) cleaning.  They’ve removed a full 11 experimental features from Labs, with six of the bunch becoming regular Gmail features and the other five failing to make the cut.

Will Google Buzz Change the Social Media Game?
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Update 2: Buzz has gotten off to a great start in terms of attracting users. Google said in a blog post yesterday that over 9 million posts and comments had been created, and they were seeing over 200 posts per minute. Both numbers have likely grown since then.

Google Takes Popular Email App from iPhone For Itself

The competition between Google and Apple appears to be getting fiercer by the day. Google has now acquired popular iPhone app reMail, and has discontinued it in Apple’s App Store, and most likely offer it in the Android Market (although this has not been confirmed).

Gmail-Free Version of Buzz Being Considered

Update: In case there is any confusion, Google will not be taking Buzz out of Gmail. The company issued this statement after some confusion in the blogosphere:

Looking at Different Functionalities of Google Buzz

This day will go down in history as the day of Google Buzz. After Google’s press event (which we live-blogged and discussed here) Google put up several posts explaining more about the "buzzworthy" new product.

Is Google Launching a Competitor for Facebook/Twitter?
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Google is rumored to be working on a Facebook/Twitter-like feature for Gmail. According to the Wall Street Journal, who cites "people familiar with the matter", the feature, which would "make it easier and faster" to share status updates may launch as soon as this week.

Gmail Search Becomes More Like Google Search

Last year, Google released a Gmail Labs feature that added a search box for regular Google Search within Gmail. The lab is simply called Google search. However, it didn’t provide all of the features that the real Google search does. They have now taken steps to improve the feature’s capabilities in the following areas:

Google Turns to Your Past Emails to Make Ads More Relevant
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Google has made some changes to the way ads shown to Gmail users are selected. If you use the service, you have probably noticed that Google often shows ads that are somehow related to the content of whatever piece of email you are currently reading. If you have noticed this, you have probably also noticed that sometimes the ads don’t seem to have anything to do with your conversation whatsoever.

Gmail and Picasa Storage Can Be Used for Any File
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Google recently announced that it was launching a new feature for Google Docs, which would allow users to upload and store any kind of file. What may not have been clear, however, is that this new storage from Google isn’t limited to just Google Docs.

The company is saying that Gmail and Picasa storage can also be used. Google Docs Product Marketing Manager Peter Harbison writes:

Gmail Switches to Default Https Encryption Following Attack
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As news of Google’s China situation dominates headlines, the company has also announced that it is turning on https access for Gmail as the default (Gmail accounts were hacked in China, in case you haven’t read about that yet).

Https, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is used to provide encryption and secure ID. Back in 2008 Google started giving users the option to use it.

Google May Quit China
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Google released a stunning blog post that details a "sophisticated and targeted attack" on Gmail that "resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google".

Google notes that the attack was not just on Google infrastructure but also on more than twenty other companies from various industries. Google states that they are working with the authorities in the U.S. and will be notifying the companies of the breaches.