Gmail removes ‘on behalf of’: consolidated emails now look legit

With Gmail you can consolidate multiple email addresses so that you can use Gmail as a universal inbox. It’s awesome, I do it, and now from one interface can get to nearly every email account I have. One annoying “feature” was that if you were sending from an account that was the one you were currently logged into it would send the email with a statement saying “on behalf of”. So it would look something like: “From [email protected] on behalf of [email protected]”  Well, some good news…Google has dropped this annoying feature. Now you can much more legitimately use Gmail as your multiple email control center without broadcasting that fact to the world. And let’s face it… you WANT to use Gmail as your control center.

How to Send and Receive Hotmail from Your Gmail Account

Ok so Hotmail is tired, and Gmail is wired. However, you’ve got so many people trained to use your old Hotmail address that you can’t just leave it behind. Well Mysticgeek of How To Geek shows you that you can setup Gmail to both send and receive using your @hotmail.com, @msn.com or @live.com email addresses… but from within Gmail instead. Note this isn’t the way that I do it, I have an OLD Hotmail account and it allows for email forwarding but this method should work for everyone else now that Hotmail has enabled POP access.

Enabling Hotmail from Gmail

First go into your Gmail account and select Settings then click on the Accounts tab, now click on “Add a mail account you own”.

add account

In the next screen enter in the Hotmail or Live address into the Address field then click on Next Step.

Email Address

In the next section we need to enter in the proper settings so the connections work.  Enter in your username and password for your Windows Live account.  Make sure the following settings are correct.

POP Server: pop3.live.com

Port: 995

Check Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail

You can also select leaving a copy on the server and archive incoming messages, these settings are per your preference and will not affect the connection.  When everything looks correct click on Add Account.

account settings

Note: If you want to leave your messages in your Hotmail account, make sure to select the option for “Leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server”.

Next check “Yes, I want to be able to send mail as…” This will allow you to send email as your Hotmail or Live account then click Next Step.

Send Mail As

Now you can verify or edit the name on the email or if you’d like replies to be delivered to another account enter in a different Reply-to address.

Display

Finally Gmail will send a verification to your Hotmail or Live account.

Verification

Once you get the verification code enter it and click the Verify button and your done!

enter code

To send an email using your Hotmail account, just use the “From” drop-down when composing a new message.

From

Now you can Send and Receive your Hotmail in your Gmail Account! Thanks MysticGeek!

Google Voice – Grand Central rises from the ashes

Google VoiceGoogle acquired Grand Central in July 2007… then it kinda died. If you were lucky enough to get a number the service continued to work but it appeared as if the Big G just forgot about the service. It now appears though that GrandCentral will rise from the ashes as Google Voice. It will offer a suite of telephony services, including all of the existing GrandCentral features as well as an automated voicemail transcription service, the ability to send and receive text messages, and integration with your Gmail contacts. Users can now also call any number in the the U.S. for free!

The catch: Currently it’s only available for GrandCentral users—who, according to the Google Blog post, should be receiving instructions in the next few days.

The new interface will look a lot like Gmail, with your inbox, SMS messages, access to voicemail and other features in a sidebar on the left. You can make calls directly from the Google Voice web interface. After you initiate the call, the service will actually first call your mobile phone or landline, and after that your call will be placed over Google’s network. Voice calls within the US will be free (watch your back Skype), you can purchase credits for international calls, and it will also offer free conference calls.

So GrandCentral will be replaced with Google Phone, and it looks to be a killer. Apparently, Google was not just sitting on GrandCentral and letting it die. It will integrate the One-Number-To-Rule-Them-All service, Voice Over IP (VOIP), SMS messaging, unified voicemail, voicemail transcriptions, AND a mobile version. This thing is going to be killer… check out the videos below.

Google Phone Voicemail transcripts:

[Read more...]

Google Apps Status Dashboard Released

Gmail had a major outage early Tuesday morning: for about two and a half hours starting at 1:30 am PST while many of their users in the US were asleep, many people couldn’t access their email. Lots of people around the world who rely on Gmail were disrupted during their waking and working hours.

In response to its extended outage, Google has just launched the Google Apps Status Dashboard. The dashboard offers an at-a-glance look at the system health of most popular Google services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and the company’s suite of web-based document editors. Google has been pretty good about responding to down time with blog posts alerting users with status updates, but having a dedicated page seems like a much better solution (especially for users who don’t follow Google’s blogs).

Google Apps Status Dashboard

As you can see above the dashboard lists most of Google popular services, a date range (you can view older date ranges as well) and an icon displaying the status for the individual service. The status icon will indicate: No issues, Service Disruption, Service Outage, and Information Available. Clicking the symbol in the table will allow you to view more detailed information. There’s also an RSS Feed icon shown on the page, however… it says “Coming Soon”. This too would be handy, unless you’re using Reader of iGoogle to fetch your feeds and one of those services is down as well.

Gmail is getting PGP Signatures

Ok for those who don’t know what PGP is let’s first give a brief explanation. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy. PGP encryption uses public-key cryptography and includes a system which binds the public keys to a user name and/or an e-mail address. Basically, PGP can be used to detect whether a message has been altered since it was completed and to determine whether it was actually sent by the person/entity claimed to be the sender (aka it’s a digital signature). In short it allows you to encrypt information, check the received information was not altered, and verify that it is in fact who it came from.

I know that sounds all complicated, so let me try to break it into lamens terms. You download PGP and create a public key and a private key. They are both called keys… but I prefer to look at it like this: Public Key = lock, Private Key = key. Your public key can be shared with anyone. They can use your public key to encrypt anything they want and send it to you. Once they encrypt it with your public key (aka the lock) nobody can open it but you with your private key (aka the key)… not even the sender.

Phil Zimmermann created the first version of PGP encryption way back in 1991. It’s gone through several revisions since then, changed hands many times, and has finally landed back in the hands of several ex-PGP team members who formed a new company, PGP Corporation. Confusingly PGP stands for both the company, and the technology. In reality their are open source (free) implementations of PGP that you can use.

When PGP first hit it scared the CRAP out of the government. The spooks wanted to control strong encryption, at the time PGP was created Cryptosystems using keys larger than 40 bits were then considered munitions by the government; PGP has never used keys smaller than 128 bits so it qualified at that time. Penalties for violation, if found guilty, were substantial. Zimmerman found a very novel approach to getting around this which you can read up on here.

I’ve been a PGP user for a LONG time. Most people don’t understand why. To be honest, I have very few people with whom I can send encypted or digitally signed emails too. And that’s a shame. Most people don’t understand that email travels around the net UNENCRYPTED. That’s right… it’s just like writing a letter and not even putting it in an envelope.

Ok so what’s this have to do with Google and Gmail? Apparently, a new Gmail feature was spotted that checks if the PGP signature attached to a message is valid. The following was spotting in Gmail recently:

PGP in Gmail

So Google is playing around with public key cryptography to provide a method for employing digital signatures. Digital signatures enable the recipient of information to verify the authenticity of the information’s origin, and also verify that the information is intact. Sweet… if Google does this, digital signatures for the masses! Google has been pumping out new Labs features at a furious pace lately… hopefully we can expect to see this very soon!

To see code snippets and read more check out Google Operating System.