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Google Promoting Gmail Voice and Video Chat
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Update: Google has mysteriously added a little promotion to its homepage for "new" gmail voice and video chat. This original article is from November, so unless I’m missing something, it’s not exactly a new featue. I guess they just want to give it some attention. I haven’t seen any new Google blog posts about it or anything:

Integration – The Key to Google as a Social Network
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Google has or is working on pretty much all of the main ingredients for a really great social network. The problem (in my opinion) is that they are scattered and not integrated as well as they could be. Do you particiapte in any of Google’s social projects? Tell us which ones.

Gmail

Latest Gmail Lab – The Inbox Preview
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Google puts out features and labs like Takashi Miike puts out films – very frequently. And like Miike’s films, some are good, and some are quite questionable.

Gmail Gets One-Click Translation Lab
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Today Google announced the integration of automatic translation technology directly into Gmail. This integration comes in the form of a lab, so it will have to be activated.

When you receive an email in a language that is not your native one, Gmail will help you translate it in one click. The feature looks like this:

Facebook Links User Accounts with Gmail
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Yesterday, Facebook went live as an OpenID relying party. This makes Facebook the largest one to date.

"This is the first iteration of the implementation," a Facebook spokesperson tells WebProNews. "To start, new users can now register for Facebook with their Gmail accounts, and existing users can link their Facebook accounts with any OpenID provider to connect with friends and eliminate the need for multiple sign-ins."

Gmail for Mobile Getting New Features
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About a month ago, Google announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Anrdroid devices. Now, they have introduced "the Iterative Web App," an initiative, in which they will release features for this new version periodically.

GMail Makes It Easier To Sign Up

 

Google Slows to a Crawl
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Update: Google has addressed the issue on the Official Blog. The company says:

Gmail Really Wants You to Switch Email Providers
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Gmail will now let you import email and contacts from other email providers like Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL (and a bunch more. Full list at the bottom of the article). This means that if you have an old account that you’d like to merge into your Gmail account, you can do so.

It also means (and this is what Google is pushing for) that users of other services can easily start new Gmail accounts without abandoning everything they have built up with another provider. Google is making the switch more enticing.

Features of the New Version of Android

Google is in the process of releasing an upgrade to its Android mobile platform in version 1.5. Google is emphasizing the ability to upload YouTube videos right from your mobile phone.

Naturally, this makes it simple to record a video and upload it instantly. "What’s more, YouTube gives me full control of my privacy, so I can decide if I want to make my videos available to the entire Web or just a subset of invited friends," says Android Team Product Marketing Manager Jonathan Matus.

The Google Contacts Without the Gmail
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Google has recently launched a standalone contacts manager, which lets you manage your contacts outside of Gmail. This would be particularly useful for those who don’t use Gmail, but use other Google products that offer sharing capabilities.

If you use Google Docs, Picasa, or Google Calendar for example, you can now update people’s contact information without having to use Gmail. This was not an option before.

New Gmail Lab for New Way of Searching From Inbox

Google has released a new Gmail Lab that adds a search box for regular Google Search within Gmail. When you turn on the lab (simply called Google Search) , you’ll get a search box on the left side of your inbox that looks like this:

Gmail Bolsters Emoticon Offering

Back in October, Google added a number of new emoticons for Gmail in a Gmail Lab. That round even went so far as to include a pile of feces complete with flies buzzing around it. I wish I was making this up.

Gmail Gets Better Viewer for PowerPoint and TIFF Files
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A while back, Google introduced a viewer in Gmail for PDFs, and that has now been improved upon to support TIFF and PowerPoint documents. This means you can view PDFs, PPTs, and TIFFs in Gmail right from your browser without having to save them or have any additional software.

Marc Miller on the Gmail notes that Gmail has had a "view as slideshow" option for PowerPoint files for a while, but the conversion technology is now integrated into this viewer.

Put Yourself Into Your Google Profile URL
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It has been discovered that Google Profiles are now letting users enable the option to create a vanity URL. In other words, if you check a box, your Google profile page will become htp://www.google.com/profiles/whatever-your-gmail-name-is.

Google Scores Big Deal With Virgin Media
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In a roundabout way, the use of Gmail is about to become much more common in the UK.  Virgin Media and Google announced a deal this morning that’ll allow four million home broadband customers to benefit from the service’s perks while using either new or existing email addresses. 

Yahoo’s Focus Shifts to Social
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While Microsoft struggles with branding issues as it looks to gain some ground against Google, Yahoo is worried more about its social activities and how it stacks up against the social networks of the web.

More Gmail Labs Features Released

In the neverending quest to improve what I think of as Google’s real social network, the company has released a couple of new features in Gmail Labs that can be integrated into the regular Gmail experience when activated.

New Engine Revs Up Gmail Mobile
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Google has updated its Gmail for mobile product running on iPhone/iPod Touch OS 2.2.1 and Android phones. Gmail’s new “engine” offers faster email, navigating and searching, as well as some new functionality.

Google says the improvements were made possible by “aggressive caching" and leveraging new technologies like HTML5 and Gears.
iPhone

Is Gmail Google’s Real Social Network?
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The Past

Gmail Invite Google’s email service Gmail was launched to the public five years ago this week. Back then, the service turned the web email industry on its ear by offering an entire gigabyte of storage to users who were lucky enough to receive an invite. Small potatoes now, but that was a nice chunk of storage from an email service back then.

Put Less Effort Into Your Gmail Searching

Google introduced a new lab for Gmail today that improves the search feature. The new Search Autocomplete lab is basically like Google Suggest for your inbox. Start typing in the searchbox, and it gives you suggestions.