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If you receive Microsoft® Word files as attachments in Gmail, you can now view them with a single click — no need to download, save, and open files with a desktop application when you just want read them. The Google Docs viewer that allows you to view .pdf, .ppt, and .tiff files in your browser now supports .doc and .docx formats too.

Just click the "View" link at the bottom of a Gmail message and the viewer will take it from there. If you decide you want to edit the file, clicking "Edit online" will open it in Google Docs, or you can download it to your desktop from there.

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If you've been using the web-based version of Gmail on the iPad, you may have noticed that yesterday you started to have a big, full screen compose window for writing messages. Instead of splitting the screen between your inbox and the compose view, we updated the interface to hide the inbox messages on the side and make more of the text you're working on visible at once.


To try out Gmail on the iPad, just go to gmail.com in Safari. Please note that the new interface is only available in US English for now.

For more info, check out this post on the Mobile blog.

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The more I use Google Docs, the less I have to deal with sending attachments back and forth. While attachments' days may be waning, they're still very much a part of most people's email experience. Here are five things you may not know you can do with Gmail to make sending, receiving, viewing, and finding attachments easier:

1. Drag attachments in
Simply drag files from your desktop right into the message you're composing and they'll upload from there. (Make sure you're using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox 3.6 for this to work.)



2. Select multiple attachments
Attaching multiple files one by one is no fun. Instead, just multi-select the files you want to attach by holding down the Ctrl key (or Command on a Mac) and clicking on each file you want to attach. Holding down the Shift key will select a continuous list of files.



3. Never forget an attachment again
Gmail looks for phrases in your email that suggest you meant to attach a file (things like "I've attached" or "see attachment") and warns you if it looks like you forgot to do so. Every day, this saves tons of people the embarrassment of having to send a follow up email with the file actually attached.



4. View attachments online
When you receive an attachment, sometimes you just want to view it and there's no need to download or save to your desktop. The Google Docs viewer allows you to view .pdf, .ppt, and .tiff files in your browser. Just click the "View" link at the bottom of the message.


5. Find that long lost attachment via search
If you're looking for an attachment someone has sent to you, Gmail's advanced search operators can help you find what you're looking for quickly and accurately.

A couple examples:
  • To find all messages that contain attachments: has:attachment
  • To find all messages from your friend David that contain attachments: from:david has:attachment
  • To find all messages that have .pdf attachments: has:attachment pdf
  • To find a specific attachment named physicshomework.txt: filename:physicshomework.txt

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I recently posted about Gmail's fast new windows and explained that the only downside of them was that they closed when the main Gmail window closed. Today, we're changing that. If you're using the latest version of Google Chrome, you can now continue to work in popped out windows after you close your main window (especially handy for those of us who always like to keep an eye on our tasks).

For the technically curious among you, our friends on the Chrome team made it possible to transfer the code that runs Gmail from one window to another as the window closes. When the window that hosts the code fires an unload event, we move the iframe with the code to a surviving window. Everything continues to run, including timers and outstanding requests.

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Update (5:28PM, June 30th): And we're back! You'll see the redesigned chat window the next time you start up a chat.

Update (4:59PM, June 9th): Bad news: we discovered an issue with the new chat design that impacted a small number of Google Apps users. Rather than have them experience problems with chat, we've pulled back this change to fix it. We plan to have this out again in the next week or so — thanks for bearing with us.

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Video chat, voice chat, and group chat have all been available for some time within Gmail, but they've been curiously tucked away. Getting them up and running required fidgeting with a little menu at the bottom of each chat window. Starting today, all of these features will be just a single click away.


One of the more subtle benefits to surfacing these chat options is that it's easier for people to get started who don't yet have the voice and video chat plugin.
If your chat buddy doesn't have the plugin, clicking on this icon in the chat window will invite them to install it. As soon as they're done, you can carry on with a face-to-face video chat. Since we launched a similar feature on iGoogle and orkut a little while ago, we've seen a dramatic uptick in people using video chat.


Finally, you'll find oldie but goodie features such as "Go off the record," "Block", and "Send SMS" in a more aptly named "Actions" menu of each chat window.

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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. Today, we're making it easier to see maps of all the addresses you receive in Gmail and Google Buzz.

Enable "Google Maps previews in mail" from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, and any time you receive an address or a Google Maps link in an email, a preview will appear containing an interactive Google Map of that location. Any Google Maps URL will work, but we currently only extract US addresses (we're working on making addresses around the world work).


Additionally, when you paste a Google Maps link into the post box in Google Buzz, it'll automatically fetch an image preview of that location that you can associate with your post.


Please let us know if you have any feedback.

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When Gmail came out of beta, we embroidered the Gmail logo onto sweatshirts for the team. Any given day in the office, a couple of people are wearing them. When other people asked us where they too could get their very own Gmail sweatshirt, we didn't like replying with "Oh...they're not really available, it was just something we did for the team," so we made them available in the Google Store.