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One of the most requested features for Offline Gmail has been the ability to include attachments in messages composed while offline. Starting today, attachments work just the way you would expect them to whether you are online or offline (with the exception that when you're offline you won't be able to include inline images). Just add the attachment and send your message.

If you have Offline Gmail enabled, you'll notice that all your mail now goes through the outbox, regardless of whether you're online or offline. This allows Gmail to capture all attachments, even if you suddenly get disconnected from network. If you're online, your mail will quickly be sent along to its destination.

If you haven't tried offline access yet, visit the Labs tab and follow these instructions to get started:
  1. Select Enable next to Offline Gmail.
  2. Click Save Changes.
  3. After your browser reloads, you'll see a new "Offline" link in the upper righthand corner of the Gmail page, next to your username. Click this link to start the offline set up process and download Gears if you don't already have it.
Now that you can send attachments while offline, we'd love to see pictures of you using Gmail in unusual places while you're disconnected from the web. Pictures of you using Gmail in an airplane, igloo, or submarine are all welcome. Email your photo to hikingfan@gmail.com and we'll post the most interesting ones here.

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Gmail chat status (those green, orange, and red bubbles) indicates if your friends are online or not. But sometimes my buddies appear green when they're not really "online online" — they just have chat open on their Android phones.

Turn on Green Robot, a new experiment in Gmail Labs, and you'll see a robot icon next to people who are currently using Android phones. In the case below, Shirley is online with Android, Nicolle R. is using regular Gmail chat, and Chris I. is currently away but also on Android. Slatka is not an angry robot — she's online with Android but currently busy.


These icons can help you decide whether to tailor your conversation to the type of device that your chat buddy is using. For example, when you know the guy on the other end is using his Android phone, you may decide to send shorter, more concise chat messages.

When your chat buddies log into Gmail, their presence icons will revert to the traditional red, green, and orange status bubbles. In addition, if your chat buddy happens to be logged into both Gmail and Android chat then the traditional Gmail status icons will be shown. Try it out and let us know what you think.

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When Gmail launched five years ago, it came with a gigabyte of storage space. A gigabyte doesn't seem like very much any more, and now every Gmail account comes with more than seven gigs of space (and growing). Still, some people manage to use up all of this (that's a lot of email...), so for over two years we've offered the option to purchase even more storage. This extra storage acts as an overflow that you only start using when you reach the limit of your free storage, and is shared for use between Gmail and Picasa Web Albums. Picasa has always come with a gigabyte of free storage to share photos, but people need even more storage as they start taking more pictures and moving full resolution backups of their photo collection into the cloud.

While storage costs have been dropping naturally, we've also been working hard to improve our infrastructure to reduce costs even further. Today, we're dramatically lowering our prices to make extra storage more affordable. You can now buy 20 GB for only $5 a year, twice as much storage for a quarter of the old price, and enough space for more than 10,000 full resolution pictures taken with a five megapixel camera. And if you need more than 20 GB, you can purchase up to 16 terabytes!

So if you're running out of space in your overflowing inbox, or want to keep full resolution copies of thousands of photos, visit www.google.com/accounts/PurchaseStorage to see all the plans and to buy more storage.

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Like an increasing number of people these days, I like to stay productive during my flights (even those without wifi access). A long flight is a perfect opportunity to go through everything in my inbox and catch up on older mail. I use Offline Gmail in Gmail Labs to access my mail while disconnected. However, up until now, Offline Gmail heuristically picked which messages get downloaded for offline use. This meant that sometimes not enough mail from my Inbox would be available, but the Chat logs that I certainly didn't need on the flight would be there.

From now on, once you enable Offline Gmail from the Labs tab under Settings, you can choose which messages get downloaded. On the Offline tab under Settings, you'll see your current settings and be able to set how much mail you want to download from each of your labels. I chose to download everything in my Inbox and important labels, as well as recent messages from the last month from other labels.


When you hit save, Gmail will synchronize new messages you didn't have downloaded before and remove the ones you're not planning to read from your hard drive. You can always change your settings back to keep fewer or more messages later on -- fewer messages means Offline Gmail runs faster. Questions or comments? Let us know!