Sanskrit scholar Kalidasa’s Cloud Messenger hung on a web of threads. Our modern cloud messengers hang on networks and links. Google’s strategic watchwords have been: ‘Give users what they want and when they want it’. And, ‘Integrate sensibly’. In the past few months Google has sensibly integrated various features that users want in Gmail.
Early in 2012 Google Drive was introduced. You can save your huge attachments seamlessly on your Google Drive. Open Windows Explorer and type ‘%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo’ into the address bar and hit enter. This will open up the send to folder where you can create shortcuts to different applications. Right click on the right pane, click on New and select Shortcut. Under location, browse to the Google Drive folder. Click Next. Type the name of the shortcut, that is, Google Drive and click finish. Now the Google Drive shortcut will appear in the Send to menu whenever you right click on a file.
Now sending a large file becomes very easy. Open Gmail and compose a new message. Hover your mouse on the clip to attach files and select the Google Drive icon. It says, ‘attach files using Drive’. The next window will ask you to drag the files from the left pane or choose a file from your computer. If you choose My Drive from the left pane you can easily select the large file you want to send. The recipient will get a link to download the file. No more waiting for the file to upload only to be told that it is too big.
But what if you prefer SkyDrive to Google Drive but use Gmail rather than Outlook.com. In that case you will need to integrate SkyDrive with Gmail. This is done through a neat tool called Attachments.me, which is available as extension to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. After downloading Attachments.me, open Gmail and configure your account and allow access. You will have to log into your SkyDrive account and allow access there too. Then you integrate by clicking on the icon concerned. Now you will be able to attach SkyDrive files to Gmail messages right from the Gmail interface. You can also send attachments that you receive to SkyDrive directly.
Google has also tried to simplify its compose and/or reply to emails. It allows you to write more than one email at the same time and also go back to old emails without disturbing the compose window. The message-composing screen will open as a pop up screen on the bottom right. You can manage it just like a chat box on Google+ or Facebook.
Send and Archive allows you to send a mail and also archive it. This is also a new feature that you will have to enable from the settings. So is the default Reply to All, which allows you to automatically reply to all the people included in the mail. Another feature which is most useful for people like me who like to insert selected material from the emails I receive is the ‘Quote Selected Text’ which allows me to highlight text from an email, hit reply and it is directly inserted into my reply.
You can now enable ‘Gmail Input tools’ to bring over 75 new languages through the use of virtual keyboards and transliteration. Hitherto, Google offered support for only five languages. This is how you do it. Click on Settings in Gmail and navigate to General — Languages. Click ‘show all language options’; check the box titled ‘enable input tools’. Choose the language keyboards that you want to add. Click ‘OK’ then save changes. A new small keyboard icon will be displayed next to the gear icon. Click the icon whenever you want to switch between virtual keyboards.
There is good news on the app front as well. The updated Gmail for Android offers features such as Pinch and Zoom; Swipe to delete or Archive; attaching multiple photos and videos; and you can see thumbnails of photos that are attached to your email and view them without downloading.
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