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This morning there was a problem with the implementation of Google's malware filters. Gmail's spam engine uses those filters (among hundreds of other signals) to help protect our users from malware, and so between 6:00 a.m. PST and 8:00 a.m. PST, we mistakenly sent some legitimate mail to people's spam folders.

We're working to roll out an automated fix to put these legitimate messages back into your inboxes, and we expect this to happen within a day. In the meantime, if you were expecting a critical message this morning, please check your spam folder. (We tune our spam filters well enough that ordinarily you should never have to check your spam folder.)

We're very sorry for the inconvenience. We'll update this post as we have more information to share.

Update (2/1): We've rolled out a fix that has restored these messages to most people's inboxes, though to be on the safe side we'd still recommend that you check your spam folder if there was a critical message you expected to receive between 6am and 8am PST on Saturday.

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Web-based email is great because you can check it from any computer, but there's one little catch: it's inherently limited by your internet connection. From public WiFi to smartphones equipped with 3G, from mobile broadband cards to fledgling in-flight wireless on airplanes, Internet access is becoming more and more ubiquitous -- but there are still times when you can't access your webmail because of an unreliable or unavailable connection.

Today we're starting to roll out an experimental feature in Gmail Labs that should help fill in those gaps: offline Gmail. So even if you're offline, you can open your web browser, go to gmail.com, and get to your mail just like you're used to.

Once you turn on this feature, Gmail uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail. As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers. When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online. Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection. And if you're on an unreliable or slow connection (like when you're "borrowing" your neighbor's wireless), you can choose to use "flaky connection mode," which is somewhere in between: it uses the local cache as if you were disconnected, but still synchronizes your mail with the server in the background. Our goal is to provide nearly the same browser-based Gmail experience whether you're using the data cached on your computer or talking directly to the server.



Offline Gmail is still an early experimental feature, so don't be surprised if you run into some kinks that haven't been completely ironed out yet. We've been using offline Gmail internally at Google for quite a while (I've read thousands of messages and answered hundreds en route to visit my son and my daughter). And it's saved me more than once when my home network connection ran into issues (we have squirrels at home that love to chew through outside cable wires). Now we're ready to have a larger set of people try it out, so we're making it available in Gmail Labs for those of you who want to test out Gmail's latest and greatest and send us your feedback.

We're making offline Gmail available to everyone who uses Gmail in US or UK English over the next couple of days, so if you don't see it under the Labs tab yet, it should be there soon. Once you see it, just follow these steps to get started:
  1. Click Settings and click the Labs tab.
  2. Select Enable next to Offline Gmail.
  3. Click Save Changes.
  4. After your browser reloads, you'll see a new "Offline0.1" link in the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username. Click this link to start the offline set up process and download Gears if you don't already have it.

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My friends always hate it when I multi-task in other tabs while chatting with them (they can tell because of my obviously delayed reactions...). But sometimes it's not my fault: if they send me a link to a YouTube video, I have to open another tab in order to watch it. To help with this, we've just added a new feature to Gmail chat: YouTube and Google Video previews. If you receive (or send) a link to a video in a chat message, you'll see a preview of the video right in your chat window.



Click the preview, and the video will play right there. Just remember to say something every once in a while or your friends will probably catch on that you're enjoying the dramatic chipmunk more than their conversation...

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Following the release of the Gmail gadget, we now present a completely new version of the Google Calendar gadget for Google Desktop. If you want to easily keep track of your upcoming appointments right from your desktop, this new version has a cleaner interface, fully supports Google Apps calendars, and includes three different viewing modes:



Just click on an event to see details, including a map of the location, a list of attendees, and start and end times:



You can easily create new events as well, by clicking the "Add event" link:



The Calendar gadget runs with the latest Linux, Mac, and Windows releases of Google Desktop gadgets, so give it a try and tell us what you think!

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In addition to having two cappuccinos, my morning routine includes processing new mail that's arrived in my inbox overnight. More often than not, as I reply to a message I also want to archive it so I can enjoy the satisfaction of a pristine inbox. Having clicked "Send" followed by "Archive" a few million times, I started to wish there was a way to just click once and accomplish both actions at the same time. So I decided to turn this idea to a Gmail Labs experiment. Turn on "Send & Archive" from the Labs tab under Settings, and you'll see a new button in the compose form labeled just that. The button does what it says: it sends your reply and then archives the thread with one click.



For keyboard shortcut enthusiasts tabbing to this new button works too. In the coming weeks, I'm planning to add undo support, so if you accidentally archived a thread, you can easily get it back into your inbox. Any other requests? Let us know in the Gmail Labs user group.

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Update 8/2/2010: If you're using iPhone OS 4 or newer, archiving in Gmail will work once you go through the standard mail set up — no need to follow these instructions.

Pretty much everyone with an iPhone and a Gmail account has a preference for how to use the two together. Some people prefer the iPhone's built-in email client -- it's fast, syncs everything via IMAP, and works like the rest of the device. Others, myself included, can't live without search and threaded conversations and prefer to bring up Gmail in the browser. And a few people, for whom this tip is geared, read their mail via the client but switch to the browser-based version to clean out their inboxes so they can easily archive rather than delete.

See, the default Gmail set up for iPhone's built-in mail client configures things such that if you delete a message on your iPhone, it's sent to Gmail's Trash. That means in 30 days it's gone forever. Sure, you can archive by clicking the "Move to" button and then selecting "All Mail," but if you're an archive junkie and want mail you delete on your iPhone to get archived in Gmail instead, you just have to re-do the Gmail set up on your phone.

First, get rid of your default set up. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar. Find your Gmail account under "Accounts," click on it, scroll to the bottom, and click "Delete Account." Don't worry -- it'll be back and better than ever in a sec.

Then manually configure IMAP using the "Other" menu option by following the instructions this video (also available in the Gmail Help Center):



From then on, the iPhone's little trashcan icon will archive your mail. You might notice that messages you archive on your phone are actually being added to a new "Deleted Messages" label in your Gmail account -- but they're right in "All Mail" and searchable, just the way you want them.