By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Gmail changes quietly

I noticed some changes to the Gmail interface yesterday as I was catching up on my mail. (That’s not quite an accurate statement. I’m never caught up on my mail.) It seems slightly more attractive, and “Contacts” has been beefed up considerably. But it also seems to be slightly slower.

I switched to Gmail last spring, and, for the most part, I’m glad I did. My mail is now available on any machine on which I happen to find myself, and searching is lightning-fast — a real boon, given that I can’t remember where I’ve filed anything. (Although Gmail’s labels are much more flexible than folders.)

My one complaint: Gmail lets me set up several different identities, so that I can send outgoing mail so that it looks like I’m using either my Northeastern account or my personal account. But my official Gmail address, which I do not use, gets stamped on my mail anyway. That’s led a few of my contacts to start using my Gmail address. I guess I’d put that in the “mildly annoying” category.

Nothing specific at the Gmail Blog about what’s going on, although I suppose this is related somehow. Thoughts?

Bug alert! Unless I’m doing something wrong — always a possibility — it looks like you can’t save changes in someone’s contact information.

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  1. Steve

    I haven’t really noticed any slowing of Gmail – sometimes it’s a bit slow, sometimes not.The identities thing is important though. Even though all my email to you has gone to the neu address, and all your replies have been from that address, you show up in my contacts list as your Gmail identity. So if I want to send you email, the easiest thing for me to do is to compose mail through the contact list address (that shows as Gmail even though I have never sent or received mail through that address). This feels like a bug.

  2. Peter Porcupine

    This is part of the whole ‘I-Google’ thing, I suspect. I have 2 Gmail accounts, and have built competing iGoogle pages on them. One has Tetris, the other Hangman; one has ‘Deep Thoughts’ by Jack Handey, the other Oscar Wilde; one has a beach motif, the other a city; and so on.MY gripe is that if I don’t log out, but just close, that identity remains active, even if I’m comment on a blog like yours. When I submit a comment, it says – You aren’t Peter, your’re FRED! and wipes away the comment if I ‘change identities’. I suspect that is what is happening with your mail – if you close without logging off, your identity remains.

  3. another face at zanzibar

    Save button is at the top of the box with the contact info. You can always switch back to the older version.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Zanzibar: Even a dolt like me can find the save button. But it wasn’t working, at least not for me. (Firefox for Mac.)

  5. Anonymous

    Obviously Mac is the prob.

  6. Peter Konnecke

    Contacts is just a big white space for me on the new version. I’m using Firefox Windows

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