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Gmail Debuts More User-Friendly Contacts Manager

Today, Google unveiled a brand-new system designed to simplify two key functions for Gmail users: overall contact management and keeping these contacts consistent with the rest of Gmail.

Such a roll out couldn’t have surfaced a minute too soon as animosity among Google’s users has been brewing worldwide in response to multiple disappointing oversights by the social network. Most notably, a formal letter to Google orchestrated by 10 nations to express deep concern about the lack of privacy regulations in the company’s recent debut of Google Buzz.

Now, more than ever, Google fans are craving a little reassurance about why they’ve pledged their cyber loyalty to the enterprise. And now, thanks to Google’s Gmail enhancement, supporters can rest assured – for the meantime – that the network is powering through their obstacles to provide a better overall Google experience.

Gmail members can now look forward to new features that include:

• Keyboard shortcuts that mirror Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts
• Sort by last name filter
• Faster editing options
• Autosaving
• Custom labels

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Major University Abandons Gmail Service

The 30,000 staff members at the University of California Davis are no longer using Gmail as their e-mail provider. The university had been testing Google’s e-mail service since August 2009, in hopes to eventually roll it out to the entire campus population. However, university officials say that the e-mail service isn’t secure or private enough to meet their standards.

Quite a few staff members had privacy concerns, many of which stemmed from Google Buzz, the social network embedded within Gmail. In a letter from the university to Google, school officials wrote that the staff members “expressed concerns that our campus’ commitment to protecting the privacy of their communications is not demonstrated by Google and that the appropriate safeguards are neither in place at this time nor planned for in the near future.” (more…)

Google May Leave China

google-china-608It seems like the world’s most used search engine, maybe leaving the country with the most people.  Google announced late Tuesday afternoon, that after much thought the company is working closely with the Chinese government but may close down it’s website in the country very soon.

“The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard,” said Google’s David Drummond, “and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today.” (more…)

Google Lands L.A. E-mail Contract

googlelaAfter almost a year of furious lobbying and jockeying for position, Google earned the right to provide e-mail services for the city of Los Angeles. Microsoft had mounted the fiercest competition, but the city now plans to turn over its e-mail operations to Google by June 2010.

The story, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, reminded me of my own frustrating experiences with an amateurish e-mail system.

When I enrolled at Michigan State University several years ago, I was given a personal e-mail account where all my communications from the school would be sent. It didn’t take long to realize – even though this was waaaay back in 2006 – that the MSU e-mail program was a joke. It lacked a chat feature. It complicated folder organization to the point of frustration. It boasted a spam filter that was about as water-tight as a colander. (more…)

International Pen Pal Correspondence Just Got Easier

google-translationWhile email has undoubtedly helped people connect with international friends, there is still a divide between people who don’t speak each other’s language. But Gmail and its latest features are currently helping its users bridge this gap.

This is because Gmail, already considered by many to be the most superior of all email providers, has recently announced the addition of translation capabilities. With a single click, Google Translate can convert an email from any language into a host of other languages.

While it won’t quite imbue us with the abilities offered by the fabled Babel Fish (Douglas Adams fans of the world unite!), Google Translate will work well enough for any Gmail user to be able to grasp what an email is saying in another language.

The applications for this feature are particularly useful for businessmen and women of the world, who can now communicate at a reasonable level with existing or prospective clients across the globe.

Interested Gmail users will have to activate this service, however, as Google Translate is a lab.