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People tell us all the time that they’re getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it all. We know what you mean—here at Google we run on email. Our inboxes are slammed with hundreds, sometimes thousands of messages a day—mail from colleagues, from lists, about appointments and automated mail that’s often not important. It’s time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply. Today, we’re happy to introduce Priority Inbox (in beta)—an experimental new way of taking on information overload in Gmail.

Gmail has always been pretty good at filtering junk mail into the “spam” folder. But today, in addition to spam, people get a lot of mail that isn't outright junk but isn't very important—bologna, or “bacn.” So we've evolved Gmail's filter to address this problem and extended it to not only classify outright spam, but also to help users separate this "bologna" from the important stuff. In a way, Priority Inbox is like your personal assistant, helping you focus on the messages that matter without requiring you to set up complex rules.



Priority Inbox splits your inbox into three sections: “Important and unread,” “Starred” and “Everything else”:



As messages come in, Gmail automatically flags some of them as important. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most (if you email Bob a lot, a message from Bob is probably important) and which messages you open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones you skip over). And as you use Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages for you. You can help it get better by clicking the or buttons at the top of the inbox to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important. (You can even set up filters to always mark certain things important or unimportant, or rearrange and customize the three inbox sections.)

After lots of internal testing here at Google, as well as with Gmail and Google Apps users at home and at work, we’re ready for more people to try it out. Priority Inbox will be rolling out to all Gmail users, including those of you who use Google Apps, over the next week or so. Once you see the "New! Priority Inbox" link in the top right corner of your Gmail account (or the new Priority Inbox tab in Gmail Settings), take a look.

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In the next day or so, you'll start to see some changes to the event page in Google Calendar which should make scheduling events easier. We've made the style more consistent with other Google apps, put information that’s most commonly used at the top of the screen, simplified the layout, and added some functionality.

A new repeating event editor
The old interface for creating recurring events was clumsy and took up too much space on the screen. Now you'll see only a summary of your recurring event on the main event page; if you want to edit it, you can use a window that opens when you select the "Repeats" checkbox.


A new tool to help you find a time for your event
You'll notice a new tab on the event page that should make it easier to find a good time to schedule an event. When your friends or coworkers give you permission to see their calendars, you can click this tab to see a preview of their schedules and hover over their events to see what conflicts they might have. This should make scheduling a tad easier, especially for events with large numbers of guests. For Google Apps users, the new schedule preview can also show data from other calendar services using our Google Calendar Connectors API.


Changes under the hood
As browsers and other technologies both within and outside of Google have evolved, we've found it necessary to occasionally make structural code changes in order to keep up. These visible changes are only the surface; underneath we've added a new model for how we represent calendar events in the browser and a new mechanism for how we make sure those events get properly saved. We've paid special attention to performance, consistency, and extensibility. In the short term, you'll hopefully notice that the event page opens slightly faster than it did before.

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Gmail voice and video chat makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family using your computer’s microphone and speakers. But until now, this required both people to be at their computers, signed into Gmail at the same time. Given that most of us don’t spend all day in front of our computers, we thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if you could call people directly on their phones?”

Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail.



Calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free for at least the rest of the year and calls to other countries will be billed at our very low rates. We worked hard to make these rates really cheap (see comparison table) with calls to the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan—and many more countries—for as little as $0.02 per minute.

Dialing a phone number works just like a normal phone. Just click “Call phone” at the top of your chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name.



We’ve been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant to placing a call when you’re in an area with bad reception.

If you have a Google Voice phone number, calls made from Gmail will display this number as the outbound caller ID. And if you decide to, you can receive calls made to this number right inside Gmail (see instructions).

We’re rolling out this feature to U.S. based Gmail users over the next few days, so you’ll be ready to get started once “Call Phones” shows up in your chat list (you will need to install the voice and video plug-in if you haven’t already). If you’re using Google Apps for your school or business, then you won’t see it quite yet. We’re working on making this available more broadly - so stay tuned!

For more information, visit gmail.com/call.

Update (8/26): This has now been rolled out to everyone in the U.S. If you don't see the feature yet, try logging out of Gmail and signing back in.

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If you’ve been wanting to use voice and video chat on Linux (our top video chat request), then we have good news for you: it’s now available! Visit gmail.com/videochat to download the plugin and get started. Voice and video chat for Linux supports Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions, and RPM support will be coming soon.

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Where is that presentation? Was it attached to an email? Or in Google Docs? If you’re not sure, you may end up searching several places with the same query in order to find it. With the new “Apps Search” lab, we just made that all a bit simpler.

Once you enable it from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, the “Search Mail” button in Gmail will say “Search Mail and Docs” instead, and your search results will include matching documents and sites in addition to email messages.


We also added “Did you mean?” style suggestions, for those of us who make mistakes (who doesn’t?):


You may notice that mail results show up just as fast as before while non-mail results may take a tiny bit longer. That way, if you’re just looking for an email, having this lab enabled won’t slow you down.

The paint is still wet and we plan to make further improvements the coming months, so be sure to let us know if you have any feedback.

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Making sure that your calendar is available to you whenever and wherever you need it is important. That's why Google Calendar works with a number of desktop applications and mobile devices including iCal, iPhone and iPad, Blackberry, Android, Nokia/Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones. Google Calendar Sync for Outlook is also available, but one thing was missing — until now.

Google Calendar Sync now supports Outlook 2010 — our top feature request. Outlook 2010 comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and currently only 32-bit is supported. To start syncing your calendar with Outlook 2010, download Google Calendar Sync version 0.9.3.6. Once you install it, a Settings window will appear. Enter your account’s email address and password, choose your sync option and sync frequency, and you’re done! (Note: If you’re already using Google Calendar Sync, you’ll still need to download and install this new version in order to be able to sync with Outlook 2010. If you need help, take a look at our getting started guide.)

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Webmail has come a long way in the past few years but it’s all too easy to take for granted practically unlimited inbox capacities and responsive interfaces backed by the power of search. While I’m not on the Gmail team, I felt a little celebration of how far we’ve come was in order, so I wrote a little HTML5 game, in part as a "thank you" to the Gmail team for their ongoing work to improve the webmail galaxy. If you’re into games, or just like the idea of flying m-velopes that shoot bad guys, give it a try (make sure you’re using a modern browser that supports HTML5 first).



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We're constantly reviewing user feedback about Gmail, and for a while now the number one request has been for a better contacts experience. You’ve asked us to generally make Contacts easier to use, as well as for specific improvements like sorting by last name, keyboard shortcuts, and custom labels for phone numbers. So, by popular request, we're happy to announce that an overhauled version of Gmail Contacts will be rolling out today.

Contacts now works more like the rest of Gmail, so if you know how to use Gmail, now you should automatically feel comfortable in Contacts too. And you'll see a bunch of the features you've requested, including:
  • Keyboard shortcuts (go to Contacts and hit "?" for the full list)
  • Sort by last name (look under "More actions")
  • Custom labels for phone numbers and other fields
  • The ability to undo changes you've just made
  • Automatic saving
  • Structured name fields, so you can adjust titles, suffixes, and other name components
  • A bigger, more prominent notes field

While we were at it, we also improved our layout and made it easier to get to Contacts and Tasks. You'll see these links are now up at the top left corner of your account (along with a link for "Mail" that takes you back to your inbox).


If you’re not interested in Contacts or Tasks, you can hide these links by clicking near the right edge of "Mail." Overall, there's now a smaller header area that puts the first message in your inbox about 16 pixels higher on the screen than before.

If you use Google Apps, you won't see these updates to Contacts quite yet. We’re actively working on making domain-specific features work well in the new interface and plan to make this new version of Contacts available to Google Apps customers too.

Please keep the feedback coming, we are always working hard to make Contacts, and all of Gmail, better.

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I have a couple different Gmail addresses that I use for different purposes. Historically, Google Accounts – including Gmail accounts — have only let people access one account at a time per browser, so using both accounts has been a bit inconvenient. I’ve either had to sign out and sign back in, use a second browser for my second account, or use a Chrome incognito window. And I'm not alone; lots of people have asked us for a better way to use multiple accounts at once in the same browser.

Now, you can visit google.com/accounts and click the link next to "Multiple sign-in." After you sign into your first account, you can sign in with up to two additional accounts from the new accounts menu in the upper right hand corner of Gmail, then easily toggle back and forth between them. You can even open multiple Gmail tabs — one for each of your accounts.



Please keep in mind that this is a feature for advanced users, and there are a couple things to watch out for:

1) Not all Google services support multiple account sign-in yet. For the services that don't support it (like Blogger and Picasa Web Albums), you'll be defaulted to the first account you signed in with during that browser session. So if you click a link from Gmail to Blogger, for example, you'll be logged into Blogger with the first account you signed in with, even if you clicked the link to Blogger from your second Gmail account.

2) We’re still working on making Gmail and Calendar work offline with multiple sign-in. If you rely on offline access, you probably don't want to enable this feature quite yet.

3) Multiple account sign-in only works on desktop browsers for now, so if you use Gmail on your phone's browser you won't see this option yet.

Since Google Apps customers can already sign in to their accounts at the same time as their personal Google Accounts, we won’t be adding this new feature to Google Apps until the new infrastructure is in place.

If you use more than one Google Account, we hope this makes you more efficient. If you have any questions, check out our help center.

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Dragging and dropping files is an easy way to save time in Gmail. We’ve previously blogged about dragging files to upload as attachments and dragging images into new messages. Now, if you're using Google Chrome, you can also drag attachments out of messages you receive to save them to your computer.

Let’s say you have an email open containing an attachment. Hover your mouse over the attachment’s “Download” link or its file icon and a tooltip appears that says: “Click to view OR drag to your desktop to save."


Simply click and hold, then drag your cursor to anywhere in your file system that you want to save the file. Release the mouse button, and voilĂ ! Your attachment is saved (for large files, you may see a progress dialog).