Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gmail gets even more bettererer

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

With every newspaper and mainstream media outlet covering the story, you can't have failed to notice that today Google unveiled their shiny new instant messenger software. While this is great news, there's not a lot more I can say on the subject which you haven't already heard, so instead I will focus on a lesser known improvement to have sneaked in Gmail's backdoor minus the fanfare.

'Send mail as' allows you to send email from any of your assorted accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or whatever) via a single Gmail web interface.

Picture the scene: you're logged into your 'hot4u.xxx@gmail.com' account, pumping out lewd messages to complete strangers based on the other side of the globe. Out of the blue it dawns on you that you need to submit an important, and probably overdue, report to your boss. Traditionally you would have to end your current session and log back into Gmail using your 'firstname.surname@gmail.com' username before sending your attachment, and groveling apology.

Not with the 'send mail as' gizmo! You would simply compose a new message in the usual way, and using the drop-down 'from' menu, select your business/formal correspondence username from the list. Your real name and formal address is appended to the message as though you'd sent it directly from that account.

To enable the feature, log into your account and click on the 'settings' link followed by the 'accounts' tab. Make the 'add another email address' page your next port of call and enter one of your alternative email addresses and the name you would like to be associated with it. To verify that you are the genuine owner of the address entered, an activation email will be sent to it. Click on the link contained in this message and you're ready to rumble.

I have two Gmail accounts; one for my blog, message boards and other online subscriptions, and another one I use when I want people to think I'm a real, reasonably normal human being. The 'send mail as' feature was ready and waiting for action under my 'please take me seriously' account, but absent from my ever-so-slightly older nickname account, so if you can't find the 'accounts' tab in your settings menu you're (probably) not blind, stupid or both; your account may be one of the ones awaiting an upgrade.

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