new: Gmail compose now has a full-screen option

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under gmail, new feature

Beginning on August 6th, when you compose an email in Gmail, you’ll be able to compose it in full screen mode:

compose (1)



When this option is enabled, the compose window is centered in your inbox and expands to fit on your screen.  In addition, the formatting toolbar is on by default.  You can click on the expand button in the top right to switch to full-screen or set full-screen as the default by selecting Default to full-screen in the more options menu in the bottom right.


Gmail’s People Widget

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under gmail

These days, Email isn’t just about text – thanks to the power of modern web browsers, modern web design and new technologies, emails can now come to life with picture attachments, video attachments and audio attachments, along with richly formatted text.

In Gmail, by default, a feature called the ‘People Widget’ is turned on. It appears to the right of your inbox and looks like:


It’s used to display connected information about the person you are currently conversing with, such as:

  • Information about your contact, which may include information such as their name, email address or occupation. This information comes from your account’s Contact Manager.
  • Recent email your contact sent you
  • Thumbnails of recent photos your contacts sent you
  • Google Calendar events if your contact’s Calendar is shared with you
  • Google documents shared with both you and the contact

The idea behind this is that it as emails can contain so much more information these days (and we send a lot more email!), it can make finding certain items difficult.

NB: It will only display items already sent to you, and will only show them if you’re viewing an email from the person who sent it to you. It won’t show them to anyone else.

There may be circumstances where you don’t want to use the People Widget (e.g. if you receive personal photos/emails on your work account), so if you ever decide you don’t want to see the people widget, you can do so by doing the following:

  1. Click the  gear in the top right.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. On the General tab in Settings, select the ‘Hide the people widget’ radio button.
  4. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.




Google – just how Green are they?

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under green

mq1Since we’ve gone live with Google Mail, Calendar and Drive – people have begun to ask about the ‘green credentials’ of Google. For example, during the roadshows we did before the  GoLive, we mentioned that due to the huge quotas, you’ll never need to delete anything again – but as every last byte of information stored needs some element of power, are we not increasing the amount of power used?

The short answer is we are – but coupled with savings you’re making elsewhere by using Google products as alternatives (such as using the extensive mobile access rather than driving back to a PC etc) and Google’s extensive research/investment into the power usage of their products, you are making a small but vital difference to making the world a greener place.

Google have invested over $1Billion in research/development/purchase of renewable power and continue to innovate solutions that they use for the benefit of the entire industry. A recent example are their new Finnish and Belgian data centres that are the world firsts in not using any refrigeration based cooling at all – they both use easily accessible sources of grey water nearby that cools the air that flows freely through their datacentre. Google have also had trials of the same technology, but using rainwater as the cooling agent. Their aim is to be 100% powered by renewables, they currently take 30% of the power usage from renewables.


You can find lots more details on Google and their green plans at their own website: http://www.google.co.uk/green/