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Quite a few of you use Gmail's custom "From:" to send messages with one of your other email addresses listed in place of your Gmail address. Since these messages are sent by Gmail's servers but "from" a non-Gmail address, we have to include your original Gmail username in the "Sender" field of the message header to comply with mail delivery protocols and help prevent your mail from being marked as spam. Most email programs just display the "From" address and not the "Sender" field, but some (including versions of Microsoft Outlook) show these messages as coming "From username@gmail.com On Behalf Of customaddress@mydomain.com" which really annoyed people.

We heard your request for another option that wouldn't show the "on behalf of" text loud and clear, and now there's a new option that does just that. Instead of using Gmail's servers to send the message, we'll use the servers where your other email address lives. Since Gmail isn't the originating domain, we don't have to include "Sender" info in the header. No more "on behalf of."

Here's the difference. All custom "From:" addresses used to work like this:


Now, if your other email provider supports POP and/or IMAP access, you can choose to send your message like this instead:


To switch to this new method, go to the Accounts page under Settings, and click "edit info" from the "Send mail as" section. Then choose the option to "Use your other email provider's SMTP servers."

We recognize that your other address might not have a server that you can use to send outbound messages — for example, if you use a forwarding alias rather than an actual mailbox, or if your other email provider doesn't support authenticated SMTP, or restricts access to specific IP ranges. For this reason, we've kept the original method as well. Check out our Help Center for further details on these two "send mail as" configuration options.

If you use Google Apps Premier or Education edition and would like to send mail as another address within your domain or within an aliased domain, no sweat. We do all the work behind the scenes so your original username won't be listed in the "Sender" header, and your recipients won't see "on behalf of."

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We believe you should only get the mail you want to get. Some of you already use the "Report Spam" button on all kinds of unwanted email, and for that we're very thankful: the more spam you mark, the better our system gets at weeding out junk mail.

Unsubscribing from mailing lists and newsletters you subscribed to a while back but no longer want to receive should be just as easy. Searching through individual messages for little unsubscribe links is too big a pain —you should be able to unsubscribe with a single click.

So we just launched something that makes this all work better, both for Gmail users and big email senders. Now, when you report spam on a legitimate newsletter or mailing list, we'll help you unsubscribe. After clicking report spam, you'll see a little dialog like this:


Clicking "Unsubscribe" will automatically send a request back to the sender so they'll stop emailing you.

This only works for some senders right now. We're actively encouraging senders to support auto-unsubscribe — we think 100% should. We won't provide the unsubscribe option on messages from spammers: we can't trust that they'll actually unsubscribe you, and they might even send you more spam. So you'll only see the unsubscribe option for senders that we're pretty sure are not spammers and will actually honor your unsubscribe request. We're being pretty conservative about which senders to trust in the beginning; over time, we hope to offer the ability to unsubscribe from more email.

For those of you senders who are interested in this feature, the most basic requirements are including a standard "List-Unsubscribe" header in your email with a "mailto" URL and, of course, honoring requests from users wishing to unsubscribe. You'll also need to follow good sending practices, which in a nutshell means not sending unwanted email (see our bulk sending guidelines for more information).

With an easy way to unsubscribe, everybody wins. Your spam folder is smaller, and senders don't waste time sending you email that you no longer want.

Update (1:50pm): If you want to unsubscribe without reporting the message as spam, click "show details" in the top-right corner of the message, then click "Unsubscribe from this sender."

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Like many of us nowadays, I get a lot of email. So much email that going on vacation can be a little scary because I know I'll have a mountain to wade through when I get back. A few messages I receive each day are time-sensitive or very important — but only a few. Lots of my mail can wait a few hours or a few days or even a few weeks, or in the case of that mailing list I've always meant to unsubscribe from, forever.

Thankfully, Gmail has a lot of features that keep me organized, from filters to archiving to keyboard shortcuts to Tasks, as well as a whole bunch of Labs features, like Superstars. I've developed my own system for dealing with all my incoming mail, but I'm always curious to hear about how other people manage their messages.

If you're a Gmail expert and an organizational wizard, we want to see how you do it. So submit a short video at youtube.com/gmail to showcase your tips and tricks for managing your inbox. Submit a great one by August 15th, and your video could end up in our Help Center, our forum, or even on this very blog. And if you aren't into making your own video, check out the videos that others have submitted and let us know what you like.

You can discuss these videos in the official thread in our new forum. The Gmail Help Forum isn't just about "help" -- it's also a great place to connect with other Gmail users and share tips and tricks. We recently gave it a complete makeover, so if you haven't been there in a while, check it out.

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When an email references external images, Gmail usually doesn't display them automatically. Instead we show placeholders and present you with the option to "Display images below" or "Always display images from" that sender.








We do this to help protect your privacy from spammers, who can use images and links to verify that your email address is real.

But often the messages you get with images are from friends or family and there's no reason to worry about your privacy — you just want to see the photo of your newborn niece or the invitation design they're sending you. So, in these cases, we've decided to start displaying images by default. Now, whenever someone you've emailed at least twice sends you a message containing images, you'll see them right away. Note that we picked this threshold of two messages to start with, but we may tweak it if it doesn't seem right going forward. And we only display images by default for authenticated messages (using SPF or DKIM). Gmail and other big mail providers usually authenticate their mail, but other services might not, so it's possible you'll get an email from one of your contacts where images aren't displayed by default.

If you prefer to go back to the way things were, you can choose not to display images from certain senders or from anyone. To disable images from an individual sender, click "Don't display from now on" under the "Show details" link of an email from them with images. To disable images from everybody, select "Ask before displaying external content" under "External content" on the general Settings tab.

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Our little baby's all grown up.

We launched Gmail Labs as a forum for delivering useful (and maybe not so useful) features that might not be quite ready for prime time. The idea was always that the most popular and viable Labs features would graduate and be made more readily available to all users...and that some of the less used, less viable ones would disappear forever.

I'm proud to announce that Tasks is in that first bucket — it's been one of the most popular experimental Gmail features and it's now the first graduate from Labs.

To access Tasks, starting today you can just click "Tasks" under the "Contacts" link above your chat list (no need to turn it on from the Labs tab anymore).








We've been continually improving Tasks since it first launched in Labs. We believe simple and fast is best, so we've been working to make Tasks more responsive and get basic interactions working better: we've added mobile and gadget views, made improvements to task editing and management, launched in more languages, and integrated with Google Calendar. We've also added a printable view for those people compelled to do things away from their computers or mobile devices.



Rest assured there's more on the way for Tasks— just because we're graduating from Labs today doesn't mean we're done.

We've received a lot of positive feedback about Gmail Labs, and we've found that testing something in Labs can be a good way to help decide whether it should become a regular part of Gmail. So we decided to extend the same model to Google Calendar. Beginning today, you can add Labs features to your calendar too, such as Free or Busy, which lets you see which of your friends or coworkers are currently in meetings or World Clock, which helps you keep track of different timezones when you schedule meetings. Take a look at the Google Apps blog for more info.

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We're always looking for new ways to protect Gmail inboxes from spam and phishing. Last year, we started taking extra steps to protect you from fake eBay and PayPal emails, requiring that any email claiming to come from one of eBay's or PayPal's domains actually comes from them. We do that by looking at the "From" header, and when it says "ebay.com" for example, it means it really did come from ebay.com. Anything else is rejected; it won't even appear in your spam folder because Gmail won't accept it.

Now, unless you are a regular reader of this blog with a photographic memory, you may not be aware of this extra protection. So, we thought we'd add a little something to remind you. Turn on "Authentication icon for verified senders" from the Labs tab under Settings, and you'll see a key icon next to verified emails that are super-trustworthy.










"Super-trustworthy" is a technical term I just invented that means: (1) the sender, usually a financial institution, is a target of phishers, (2) all of the sender's email is authenticated with DKIM, and (3) Gmail rejects any fake messages that claim to come from this sender, but actually don't.

It's a bit of work for senders to make their email super-trustworthy, which is why this feature is limited to just eBay and PayPal right now. We hope to add more senders in the future, and when we do, you'll know because you'll see the super-trustworthy key icon magically appear by those senders too. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.

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Even the best of us forget our passwords from time to time. In fact, recovering passwords is one of the top reasons people visit the Gmail Help Center. To help with these situations, we recently added the ability to recover your password via text message.

To turn this on for your account, just sign in, select 'Change Password Recovery Options,' enter your cell phone number and click 'Save.'

Next time you forget your password, enter your username on the password-assistance page, and Google will text you a recovery code. No need to check another email account or even leave the page.

In general, it's a good idea to add as many password recovery options to your Google Account as possible, like a secondary email address and security question. And don't forget to keep them up-to-date.

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We get asked all the time why Google keeps its products in beta for so long. And Gmail, five years after launch, is consistently a subject of this questioning, even of jokes.

Some people thought that once we opened sign-ups, Gmail should have come out of beta.

Others said that once we integrated chat, developed new anti-spam technology, expanded to 53 languages, shipped a mobile app, added group chat, launched an iPhone UI, added a vacation autoresponder, launched Gmail Labs, subsequently modified the vacation autoresponder with a Gmail Lab, launched 48 other Labs, launched video chat, enabled open protocols and APIs (POP, auto-forwarding, IMAP, and the Contacts Data API), let you POP mail in from other accounts, added a delete button, rearchitected our entire javascript code base, and added key functionality to get large companies, startups, universities, and many other organizations (in addition to Google itself) running on Gmail, we should have come out of beta.

Some people think we should wait until we launch < one of ongoing secret projects >.

Others say that, over the last five years, a beta culture has grown around web apps, such that the very meaning of "beta" is debatable. And rather than the packaged, stagnant software of decades past, we're moving to a world of rapid developmental cycles where products like Gmail continue to change indefinitely.

The end result (many visible and invisible changes later) is that today, beta is a thing of the past. Not just for Gmail, but for all of Google Apps — Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Talk.

However, we realize that after five years, this leaves some of you wrestling with some tough questions. How will you ever get used to using Gmail without that familiar grey "BETA" text greeting you when you log in everyday? What example will you cite the next time you make an internet joke about perpetual betas? Don't despair... for those of you long-time Gmail-ers who might feel some separation anxiety, we've got a solution. Just go to Settings, click on Labs, turn on "Back to Beta," and it'll be like Gmail never left beta at all.

Back to Beta

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A few months ago Gmail got some new buttons and keyboard shortcuts to make labeling easier, especially for those of you accustomed to that familiar folder feel. Now we're making some more changes to Gmail's labeling toolkit.


1) New location for labels
You'll notice your labels in a new location on the left of your inbox (or on the right, for those of you using the Arabic, Hebrew, or Urdu versions of Gmail). Instead of having their own section, your labels are now above your chat list, grouped together with Inbox, Drafts, Chats and other system labels.

2) Label hiding and showing
You now have control over which of your labels show. We've done our best to get you started by automatically showing the labels you use most and hiding the rest. Label hiding is my favorite new feature, since it saves me from having to look through labels I rarely use. If I ever need to reach any of my old labels, I just click the "more" link.


You can show, hide, or delete a label by clicking the down-arrow to the left of that label.


If you want to make a lot of changes at once, go to the Labels tab under Settings where you can edit labels in bulk.

For those of you who created label names like _stuff or ++todo++ to force your most-used labels to the top of the list (come on, you know who you are, I did it too...), you don't have to come up with clever tricks like that anymore ;)

3) Drag and drop
You can now drag messages into labels, just like you can with folders. This does the exact same thing as "Move to" — it labels and archives in one step.


You can drag labels onto messages too. It's the same thing as using the "Label" button. To label or move many messages at once, first select the messages and then drag and drop the label.


It's also possible to drag labels into the "more" menu to hide them and vice versa. If you only want to move a couple labels around, I've found it quicker than going to Settings.

All of these changes also mean the end of Right-side Labels, an experimental Gmail Labs feature. This is the first Labs feature we're retiring. (The idea behind Labs was always that things could break or disappear at any time or they might work so well that they become regular features. More on that soon...) Now that labels aren't in their own little box and take up much less space, moving them around the screen didn't seem as important. We realize quite a few of you used and liked Right-side Labels, so if you feel strapped for left nav screen real estate without it, try turning on Right-side Chat in Labs instead.

We hope these new changes make labeling even easier and help you stay organized. We'll be rolling out these labeling features for everyone throughout the day, so if you don't see them right away please check later today.