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Santa’s Ho Ho Hotline and Gmail Team Up

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Would you like to send someone a phone call from Santa? Now you can thanks to Santa’s Ho Ho Hotline and Gmail, who have teamed up together this Holiday season.

You can send a personalized Holiday phone call to anyone in the U.S. or Canada, as well as give Santa a call and leave him a message on his Google Voice number – 855-34-SANTA.

Google also announced on their blog, that anyone in the world can create and send a personalized video message from the big man himself – Santa. Check out their sample video to get some ideas.

Just go to SendaCallfromSanta.com and follow the instructions to create your video message. After you create your video, you can share it through email and Google+.

Santa has gone hi-tech! Happy Holidays!

Is This The New Gmail?

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It looks like Gmail, Google’s email system, is getting a facelift. The company accidentally posted a video on their YouTube channel with shots of a new Gmail interface. The video is now private, but thanks to the quickness of this Google blogger, we have the shots and a good look at it.

If you’ll recall in August, Google launched a new Google Labs featured called Preview Pane. I used it for about a week and then reverted back to the old Gmail I know, love and am used to. These new shots are based on Preview, but definitely have a lot of changes.

Here are a few of the changes noted:

  • An action bar that uses icons instead of text labels
  • A completely new interface for conversations
  • Profile pictures next to contacts
  • A flexible layout that adapts to any window size
  • Display density options like in Google Docs
  • Resizable chat/labels sections
  • New high-definition themes
  • Updated search box that includes advanced options

You can see all of the pictures from the new interface here.

As for the accidentally leaked video and when we might see this new interface, a Google rep told ReadWriteWeb, “Oops, you weren’t supposed to see that. Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing more info on Gmail’s new look soon.”

What do you think of the new design?

Gmail Offline Available Today, Calendar & Docs Coming Soon

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Google made the announcement via their blog that Gmail offline is available starting today. I’m sure you’ve been in a situation, like on an airplane for instance, when you would like to check your email but you can’t due to the lack of an internet connection.

Google announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011 and they talked about bringing offline access to their web apps. The time has come and the roll-outs are beginning, starting today with Gmail offline.

In the coming weeks, Google Calendar and Google Docs offline will also be available, which will allow you to seamlessly switch between on and offline modes.

Here’s an explanation of the web app in regards to Gmail offline:

Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access. After you install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page.

What about the other browsers you may ask? Google plans to offer those once they support the functionality.

Have you tried Gmail offline yet? Give it a whirl and tell us what you think.

Google Introduces New Email Feature: Preview Pane

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Google announced yesterday a new Gmail Labs feature entitled Preview Pane. For those of you who view your Gmail on a tablet, they say the new layout should be very familiar to you. (And for those of you not using Gmail, do you need an email intervention?)

It basically allows you to preview snippets of an email while reading and replying to others.

From the official Gmail blog:

When I check my email, I often rely on the message snippets to figure out which messages to open first. Sometimes, though, I want to see more than snippets, which is why I’m happy to announce that you can now preview messages in your inbox using a new feature in Gmail Labs called Preview Pane.

After enabling the feature, you’ll see a button in the top right corner which allows you to switch between preview and list views. And for those of you with more vertical space, you can move the preview pane below your message list.

So far, I found it very simple to use and I like being able to see my inbox while I am replying to emails. I’ll keep using the Preview Pane mode for the rest of the weekend and will draw my conclusion about making the switch after testing it out a bit longer.

Have you tried Preview Pane and if so, what do you think?

Google Wants You to Give Your Friends an “Email Intervention”

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If you use Google‘s email system Gmail, I am sure you have seen the “Email Intervention” video at the bottom of the screen as you logged on yesterday. I did, but I didn’t have time to check it out. Come to find out, it’s a new campaign by Google designed to “Save your friends from outdated email”.

The site Email Intervention, guides you through the steps of “saving” your friends from using archaic email systems. Just below the “Start the Intervention” Button it reads: “You’ve probably already improved the lives of your friends and family members by helping them switch to Gmail, but what about that one friend who still hasn’t made the switch? It’s time to take a stand and stage an intervention. Don’t worry. We’ll help you out.”

In only three simple steps you can come to the rescue of your friends who are using “those other” email companies and help them make the switch.

Here’s the video. Enjoy.

Did you receive or try to give an email intervention?

Multiple Twitter Accounts to One Email?

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If you’re anything like me, you probably have more than one Twitter account. I have a personal account, a BlogWorld account, and accounts for a couple of my blogs. Why so many? Well, in my mind each account has a very different audience. My entertainment blog followers probably don’t want to hear about my novel writing updates – and vice versa.

In creating my Twitter accounts, I found it rather annoying that I always had to create a new Gmail address because Twitter required a unique email. I have several Gmail accounts that I now never check!

Then I stumbled on a cool little trick – one that I hope will help some of you. You only need one Gmail account. That’s right! Just one – and you can manipulate it as follows:

My main email is nvkatz@gmail.com. But any of the following variations will be directed to my account … nv.katz@gmail.com or n.v.katz@gmail.com or nvk.atz@gmail.com (you see where I’m going with this). See, Gmail allows only one registration for any given username. Once you sign up for a username, nobody else can sign up for the same username, regardless of whether it contains extra periods or capital letters; those usernames belong to you.

Skeptic that I am, I had to try it out a couple of times – but it worked! Now I’m off to reconcile all my Twitter accounts!

Do you have any other Twitter tips to share?

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

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