14 February 2015

Download Blocked Gmail Attachments

I was checking some old Gmail messages and I noticed this warning: "Anti-virus warning - 1 attachment contains a virus or blocked file. Downloading this attachment is disabled." It turns out that the .rar archive was "blocked for security reasons" and I can't download it.

There are some file types that are blocked by Gmail, but .rar is not one of them. Here's the list: ".ade, .adp, .bat, .chm, .cmd, .com, .cpl, .exe, .hta, .ins, .isp, .jse, .lib, .lnk, .mde, .msc, .msp, .mst, .pif, .scr, .sct, .shb, .sys, .vb, .vbe, .vbs, .vxd, .wsc, .wsf, .wsh". It turns out that the archive included a few .bat files inside a .zip archive and "Gmail won't accept these file types even if they're sent in a zipped format".

How to download the blocked attachment? I couldn't find a way to do this from the web interface. Gmail disabled the download button and the "save to Drive" button. Not even the "basic HTML" Gmail interface lets you download the file and the "download all" link only lets you download all safe attachments.

Fortunately, you can use other mail clients. Surprisingly, Gmail's Android app lets you download blocked files or save them to Google Drive. I also checked the built-in mail clients from iOS and Mac OS X and it's easy to download all attachments.

Google+ Celebrates Valentine's Day

Mr. Jingles, the Google+ mascot, looks different today. He has a cute rose to celebrate Valentine's Day. You can find the funny animation in the Google+ notification box: in Google+ for desktop, Google+ mobile apps and most Google services.

Here's the animation:

You can also check last year's Easter Egg for Valentine's Day and today's Google doodles.

"Whether a time for a romantic date, to catch up with friends, or catch up on cat videos, Valentine's Day is a good excuse to connect with the world around you. As nerds, the doodle team wanted to sweeten up our homepage with ways in which technology brings people together," explains Google.

Google Discontinues Helpouts

Helpouts started as a great way to use Hangouts to share expertise, but the service wasn't very popular and Google will soon shut it down.

"Since launching in 2013, Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about or seek advice and solutions to everyday challenges. The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn't grown at the pace we had expected. Sadly, we've made the tough decision to shut down the product. Starting April 20, you'll be able to download your Helpouts history using Google Takeout (available until November 1, 2015)," informs Google.

From talking with a doctor to getting fashion advice from companies like ASOS and Sephora, from learning a new language to home workouts and mobile phone support, Helpouts was useful in so many ways. Too bad that Google didn't promote Helpouts more aggressively and didn't use it extensively to provide customer service for its own services. Play Store's video chat assistance feature was a good start.

{ via Android Police }

13 February 2015

Google Knowledge Cards Show More Health Information

A few days ago, Google announced that health-related Knowledge Graph cards now include a lot more information. "We'll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is — whether it's critical, if it's contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you'll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators."

I've searched for [type 2 diabetes] and Google displayed a lot of information: organs affected by diabetes, symptoms, ages affected, treatments, specialists. "When you search for a medical condition, you'll see three tabs: About, Symptoms, and Treatments. Right now, we show this medical information for the most frequently searched for health conditions, and we will continue to increase the number of conditions we cover," informs Google.

Google "worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy."

For now, the upgraded cards are only available in the US if you use the English interface. They're displayed in both the desktop site snd the mobile site/apps.

Material Design Refresh for Google Help Panes

Most Google services use floating help panes, so you can find relevant articles from the help center and read them inside the web app. Google Flight Search uses a new interface for the help panes, powered by Material Design. New icons, bigger headings and search box, new color palette.

You can check the new UI by visiting Google Flights and clicking Help. Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive and other Google services still use the old interface.

The nice thing about Google's help panes is that they list contextually relevant articles. For example, if you go to Gmail's filters section from the settings page and click Help, you'll find articles about using filters, blocking unwanted emails and changing your Gmail settings.

{ via Florian Kiersch. }

YouTube Tests New Logo

YouTube's site tests a new logo that looks just like YouTube's mobile app icon. It's smaller, instantly recognizable and more consistent.

For some reason, YouTube still shows the old logo at the bottom of the page:

Here's the regular YouTube interface:

11 February 2015

Get 2 GB of Free Google Drive Storage

Google promotes a security feature from the account settings page: security checklist. You can protect your Google Account by reviewing your recovery information (phone, email), your recent activity (a list of devices that have accessed your account in the last 28 days) and your account permissions (sites and applications to which you've granted permission to access your Google Account). There's also a setting that lets you disable access for less secure apps.

It only takes a few minutes to review this information and you'll get a reward: 2 GB of free Google Drive storage. The nice thing is that Google's bonus storage is not limited to 2 or 3 years like in other Google promotions: it's permanently added to your account. You need to complete the checkup by 17 February 2015 and you'll get the free storage at the end of the month.

"After you've gone through the checkup successfully, you'll see three green checkboxes (see below) that confirm you're eligible for the free storage and, more importantly, that you've taken steps to enhance your online safety. We'll be granting the storage automatically to everyone around 28 February 2015 and we'll send you an email when your adjustment is complete," explains Google.

I got 4 green checkboxes for my account: recovery information checked, recent activity checked, access for less secure apps enabled, account permissions checked.

10 February 2015

New PDF Icon for Gmail and Google Drive

Gmail has recently updated the icon for PDF attachments: it no longer uses the Adobe Reader icon and it opted for a basic text icon.

Here's the PDF icon used by Gmail since its release back in 2004:

Google Drive also shows the new icon for PDF files:

Now that browsers like Chrome and Firefox have built-in support for opening PDF files, Gmail and Google Drive let you open PDF files, Adobe Reader is less important and fewer people install Adobe's PDF software. That's probably the reason why Google picked a different icon.

{ Thanks, Joost Honig and Angelo Giuffrida. }

YouTube Autoplay, Ready for Release

I've noticed that YouTube's autoplay experiment shows up more and more often, which usually means that it's ready for release. One of the changes in the latest iteration is that the player has a "next" button, which lets you play the video from the "up next" section. There's no "previous" button, but you can use the browser's "back" button.

"When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next," explains YouTube. If you don't like this feature, you can disable it from the right sidebar or from the player's controls.

{ Thanks, Florian Kiersch. }

09 February 2015

An Easier Way to Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists in Gmail

Gmail has made it easy for you to unsubscribe from email newsletters and other bulk mail. You can open a message, click the “unsubscribe” link and Gmail will automatically remove your email address from the mailing list. This option is however only available on the Gmail website and not if you are using Gmail on the mobile phone or accessing Gmail through an app like Outlook or Dropbox’s MailBox.

There are third-party services, Unroll.me for example, that let you remove yourself from unsolicited bulk email but you’ll have to grant access to your entire Gmail mailbox and Google contacts to them. The service is no doubt convenient but would I be willing to give full access to my email account to a third-party? Probably not.

Christian Heilmann’s tweetFeature request for Gmail: automatically find and follow the unsubscribe link in all highlighted mails – prompted me to research this topic in a bit more detail and it turned out that building an automated system for unsubscribing from bulk email isn’t that difficult. Here’s how it looks like:

Unsubscribe from Gmail Bulk Messages

How to Unsubscribe from Bulk Mail in Gmail

What I have now is a simple Google Script that parses the content of bulk emails and find the unsubscribe link. If the link is found, the script opens the link and the email is unsubscribed. In some cases, the bulk sender would require you to send a message to a special email address to unsubscribe and the script can do that as well.

You don’t have to grant access to your Gmail account to any service, you can unsubscribe without even open the email (faster) and you can add emails to the unsubscribe queue from any email client including desktop and mobile apps. Let’s get started:

  1. Click here to copy the Gmail Unsubscriber sheet to your Google Drive.

  2. Go to the Gmail menu in the sheet (see screenshot) and choose Authorize. All the script access to your Gmail account. It is an open source Google Script that runs in your own Drive and not a single byte of data is shared with anyone.

  3. From the same menu, choose Start and pick a name for your Gmail label (the default is Unsubscribe). Save your changes

The Gmail Unsubscriber program is now initialized and running in the background. You can apply the Unsubscribe label to any Gmail message and you’ll be automatically unsubscribed in 10-15 minutes. Everything is logged in the Google Sheet so you know what’s happening behind the scenes. Give it a try!

How Gmail Unsubscribes from Mailing Lists

All legitimate bulk email senders include a List-Unsubscribe field in the message header that contains a URL or email address for unsubscribing from a mailing list. Here’s a screenshot:

List-Unsubscribe Header in Bulk Emails

You can view these details by opening any bulk message inside Gmail and choosing “Show Original” from the menu. In other cases, the unsubscribe link may be included in the message body with the anchor text like “click here to unsubscribe” – the script is smart enough to recognize all such links, it opens them for you and removes your email address from the mailing list.

The story, An Easier Way to Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists in Gmail , was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 09/02/2015 under GMail, Internet.