Google has announced 12 new file formats are supported by the Google Document Viewer. Among them we find Apple Pages (hooray):

12 new file formats in the Google Docs Viewer – Official Gmail Blog

  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

Now if only Keynote and Numbers documents were also supported, I could readily share my iLife documents online, without needing to export them to Office formats first.

Apple Pages documents now supported in Google Docs Viewer


Gmail offers another pleasant surprise

The Gmail team has done it again, and they’ve given Gmail users a whole slew of cool new features.

New Gmail features

We’ve now got YouTube, Picasa and Flickr previews, built right into each email message. All we have to do is to put a link to a YouTube movie, or a Picasa or Flickr photo, and its thumbnail shows directly in the message. This feature can be enabled by service from the Labs settings in our Gmail accounts.

I love the “Undo send” feature and have already enabled it. My wife is already using the Offline version of email. It took a bit to sync all her messages, but it’s doing alright now.

Other Gmail features I love are as follows:

  • Superstars, which adds additional stars icons. I organize emails that I need to act on that way.
  • Signature tweaks, which places the signature above quoted text
  • Right-side labels
  • Navbar drag-and-drop, which allows me to re-organize the various items on the Gmail screen
  • Forgotten attachment detector
  • Vacation Time, which lets me specify beginning and ending dates for those times when I can’t get to my email
  • Create a Document, which allows me to create a Google Document right from my Gmail inbox (this is new)
  • Send & Archive, which allows me to reply and archive that message at the same time (this is new)
  • Title Tweaks, which changes the order of the text in the Gmail page title, allowing me to see right away how many unread messages there are (this is new)
  • Google Docs gadget, which displays my most recent Google Documents on my Gmail inbox screen

There’s more information about the new features on the Gmail Blog, here and here.

How To

New Gmail buttons and shortcuts

Gmail's new buttons

I woke up today to find new Gmail buttons. At first I thought it was just Firefox playing tricks on me, but no, the buttons look the same in Safari. The Gmail Team announced the change on their blog yesterday, on 2/3/09. As expected, the change took a while to propagate to all of the Gmail accounts.

Along with the new buttons, they introduced two new keyboard shortcuts, “l” and “v”, which will allow you to label and label/archive messages on the fly. The “l” key opens a drop-down menu which allows you to label emails. You can navigate the drop-down menu using the arrow keys and mark a label using the Enter key. The “v” key does the same thing, and it also archives the message at the same time, removing it from the inbox.

Don’t forget that while you’re in the Gmail inbox, you can select multiple message by using the Shift key. Left-click on the first one, then Shift-Click on the last one, and all in-between will be selected. You can then use “l” or “v” to apply labels to all of them at once.


Gmail, please stop messing with my contacts

When I sync my Gmail Contacts with my Mac’s Address Book, I always discover “uninvited guests” — occasional people with whom I converse but who don’t need to be in my Address Book. What happens is that Gmail will identify people to whom I reply and insert them in my Contacts automatically.

It used to be that it couldn’t be helped, and it was called a “feature”… Now these contacts are grouped together in a separate section called “Suggested Contacts”. Unfortunately, when I run a sync operation, these suggested contacts appear in my Address Book. I don’t want them there. I believe one’s Address Book ought to involve positive effort — effort put toward adding in contacts as they’re needed — not negative effort — effort put toward removing unneeded contacts because software can’t leave things well enough alone.

Gmail's Suggested Contacts

I run the sync operation via my iPod Touch. The sync option is otherwise unavailable to Mac owners, which is unfortunate. There’s something I call the entry tax for being able to run this sync: either you buy an iPod Touch or an iPhone, or you pay for Mobile Me. I don’t like it, but there it is, that’s Apple for you.

There is a company called Soocial which will also let you do this, as well as letting you sync your phone’s contacts with the Address Book. They were in Beta when I looked at them. By now they’ve opened their website to the general public.

At any rate, the problem with Suggested Contacts lies with Gmail, which presents those contacts as part of the normal set of Contacts to the sync software. It should store them separately, aside from the normal contacts, so that the sync software never sees them.


Google launches video chat, ignores PowerPC Macs

A few days ago, Google launched something that a lot of people had wanted for some time: the ability to do a video chat, right from Gmail. Everyone got really excited, and for good reason. I was very happy too, until I discovered that PowerPC Macs were out of the picture. Why?

Here’s what I get when I access the Google Video Chat site from my Intel MBP:

And here’s what my wife gets when she accesses that very same site:

So while she gets to see this when I’m away from home:

I’ll still only get to see this, which makes me sad:

Why, Google, why?