Next month will be the two-year anniversary of Gmail becoming the most widely used email service on the planet. While it remains the uncontested champion, the Gmail app for Android struck its own accomplishment last week as it became the first conventional app in the Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads. Technically, the Google Play services package crossed the same mark back in January, but it is automatically installed on any device equipped with the Play Store and running Android 2.2 or higher.
Many moons ago, Google added G+ photo backups, a feature that not only keeps pictures backed up with users' Google accounts for safe-keeping, but also allows for quick and easy sharing on Google's social network. Today, the company is offering similarly simplistic sharing of photos with Gmail in the web browser.
As of today, the Gmail web app's "insert photo" button within the compose window's action bar will have access to the photos that are automatically backed up via the Google+ app on smartphones and tablets.
There's a new version of Gmail making the rounds at Google, if a couple of leaked screenshots from Geek.com can be believed. Those shots describe a radical user interface change and a handful of new features. Whether they're real and/or final or not is up for debate - even the report notes that the organizational features are mostly experimental at this point.
Aside from the new flat look to the user interface and Google+-style rounded profile pics, the biggest change comes in the form of a new inbox view, with a focus on organizing messages by content.
It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since Google first introduced Gmail beta to the world – a task that, at the time, the team behind the product had no clue would fundamentally change how we use email. According to an excellent piece on Time, however, Gmail is really a product that almost wasn't. There were times when the company questioned whether or not to release the product to consumers at all.
The Gmail app doesn't provide the option to mark notifications as read, and it drives many users up the wall. MarkAsRead entered the Play Store less than a week ago and, as the name suggests, tackled this issue head on. Now an update is available that adds the ability to mark a message as read and archive it at the same time, just as the developer promised.
MarkAsRead for Gmail is a quintessential Android app. It does just one thing, and before you go hunting for an app description to figure it out, try giving its name another read. That's right, MarkAsRead for Gmail... lets you mark Gmail messages as read straight from the notification. In between the usual archive and reply buttons that Google provides out of the box, this app sneaks in that ever-so-useful (mark as) read option.
If you were unable to access Gmail, Google+, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and other online services from The Big G earlier today, you were not alone. A widespread outage was reported in the late morning/early afternoon US time. Google seems to have cleared up the issue, but just to let everyone know what's up, Google's Vice President of Engineering Ben Treynor took to the company blog for both an explanation and an apology.
If you tried reaching one of Google's popular services, such as Gmail, Google+, or Play Music in the last 30 minutes and failed because they're either unavailable, very slow, or have broken in some other way, don't go blaming your ISP - it's one of those rare occasions when Google itself is having some major hiccups.
The company finally updated the Apps Status Dashboard after a surprisingly long delay of over 20 minutes showing all green and is now looking into the issues:
Google said it would do it, and now it has. The latest update to Android's Gmail app has enabled images automatically, now made safe because Google is serving up the images after hosting them on its own proxy servers. Users will no longer need to tap the "show pictures" message above the email content.
Left: old style. Right: 4.7.2.
We're looking through the application now to see if there are any more changes - this thing is so fresh that Google hasn't even updated the Play Store description.