On February 6, Google decided to add two new great features to the Gmail Labs list. Having to option to go offline and have a span of inboxes across your monitor(s).
Offline Gmail takes Google Gears into account and turns your inbox into an offline email client. Here you can do pretty much anything you do online, such as browse through your mail, add labels, draft new messages and even prepare a message and send it out when you go back online. Another great feature is that Google automatically detects if you’re online or not, so it keeps everything in sync.
When enabled in Google Labs, Multiple Inboxes can display up to 8 different labels or searches next to your actual inbox, so you can keep an eye on incoming messages as well as labeled ones. To get started, go to settings then navigate to the Multiple Inboxes tab, then set your preferences.
If I wanted to see incoming messages labelled Ebay, I would enter is:Ebay (or the label of your choice). Here are some other examples of multiple inboxes that you can use.
is:starred [Starred items]
is:drafts [Drafted items]
has:attachment [All emails that have an attachment]
is:unread [All unread messages]
You can even combine these, for example you could have all unread messages with attachments. Post some of the multiple inboxes you are using in the comments, we’d love to see them!
The free VoIP, Skype, has been downloaded over one million times ever since it came out. Now people are using it to get in touch with their friends and family, make pod casts, or even join an IM conversation.
Free PC to PC calls to people anywhere in the world.
Free video calls – plus get more detail than ever before with High Quality Video.
Call phones and mobiles at great low rates per minute.
Instant message for free when it’s not a good time to talk.
Forward your calls to your mobile when you’re offline.
Send SMS messages to people on mobiles.
Comes with the Google Toolbar (optional install).
Just a few days ago, I made a video showing some of the features of Skype, fairly basic, mostly for the newer group of people who have just downloaded Skype. Most of you have probably have probably already heard of Skype, but if you already haven’t downloaded it, this video might just convince you.
Genius playlists. Select a song, click this feature, and you’ll get a playlist from your collection of similar songs, plus iTunes recommendations. This sounds like a promising way to solve the fatigue that a lot of users develop with their own collections after a few months, as well as the jarring transitions that sometimes pop up during a random shuffle session. Of course, so much depends on how well it works–will the algorithm adhere toward the same artists and genres? Will it be reliant on metadata such as composer and year, or can it analyze actual audio characteristics like tempo and key? The latter would be amazingly cool. I’ll check it out later Tuesday and post more details then.
The iPod Touch is also getting a makeover, super-thin with an integrated speaker, has the App Store (games!) and Genius and Nike+ features built-in. This is really becoming a hybrid entertainment device–more like a PSP than a mere MP3 player. Still, I’ve always thought this product fits into a weird niche between the iPhone and old-fashioned iPods or other MP3 players. I guess it’s for people who want cutting-edge technology (touch screen!) but aren’t ready to part with their current phone. BlackBerry fans, maybe. They seem to be targeting it at gamers, but with an entry price of $229 I’m not sure that will work–that’s $100 more than the cheapest Nintendo DS Lite, about $60 more than the cheapest Sony PSP, and–heck–$20 more than an Xbox 360 Arcade. Then again, it is the market-leading MP3 player as well as a game device.
Well just recently Apple released their newest gadget, the new iPod Nano!
Now I’ve actually been waiting some time for this to come out, and I’ve even seen a leaked pictures on some forums I’m apart of.
Now it comes with a sleeker design, thinner cut and a shake to shuffle feature. Space wise it comes in 8GB or 16GB, and I find it’s pretty decent.
The super-thin Nano looks amazingly cool and will probably do well this holiday. And a new 120GB Classic for $249 matches what Microsoft announced for the Zune on Monday.
Only it’s an iPod, which means it looks way cooler, has a scroll wheel, is far more fashionable…you know the drill. They’ve put the cover flow and accelerometer from the iPhone in, meaning the Nano will know when you turn it on its side. You can shake it up and it’ll shuffle songs. New bright colors, and more recyclable than ever before.
(Wow–is it smart to introduce a new product by talking about how you’ll have to throw it away someday?) This is all fine and dandy if you don’t have an MP3 player already, but I’m not seeing any exciting new features that will make existing iPod owners run out and upgrade.