Google’s New Service Looks to Make Mobile E-mail Widely Available

Of all the evil, soulless, money grubbing corporations that ultimately run the world, I’ve got to say that Google consistently finds itself coming off as the most pleasant. Between their exceptional employee benefits, and those awesome Google Doodles, they really do seem like the simple global power next door types.

In their latest move of philanthropy, Google is now offering cell phone users in Africa a service called Gmail SMS. This will allow users without high tech cell phones, or conveniences like WiFi hotspots or 3G capabilities, to send and receive Gmail messages through a phone’s basic text messaging service. The e-mail service is free of charge, and the only incurred fees are tied into a plans standard text messaging rates.

This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it’s a simple gesture that could mean a lot to cell users in certain underdeveloped parts of the world. The technology to do something like this isn’t exactly mind blowing, but for Google to consider that maybe people who can’t afford hundreds of dollars for a phone, and/or may not have any widespread internet services available, might just enjoy actually having a modern convenience now and again is the kind of move that should make similar service providers take notice, bite their pride, and start to offer the service themselves if possible.

Currently the service is available in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, but it looks like the ambition is to offer Gmail SMS to as many markets as possible. Considering the large number of cell phone users in Africa, for those in underdeveloped parts of the continent (and similar areas of the world), the expansion surely can’t come soon enough.


Anyone else experiencing the iOS 4 Mail bug?

iOS 4.If you are, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t even have to say it. For those who don’t know, the Mail app in iOS 4 has been loading ghost messages – emails with no sender, no subject, and no content – instead of the real deal. In some cases the message takes up space on the screen, but the cell reads “This message contains no content.”

In my own experience, the emails also have strange dates – 12/31/69 in most cases. It’s a really annoying bug, so bad that I went back to using regular old mobile Gmail. Apparently, though, deleting the email account and then reapplying it will fix the bug. You may have also noticed that you could access another folder – your Trash for instance – and then return to your Inbox to find things properly loaded.


Give Gmail Ads The Cement Boot Treatment

Gmail logo.I enjoy the massacre of ads. This sentence will slaughter ads without a messy bloodbath.

It’s two sentences actually, but appended to emails, it kills the ads in Gmail without bothering with any special coding. How?

Gmail uses the words contained in your emails to generate the ads on the right side of the screen and those integrated into other locations. But Google also blocks words related to tragic or catastrophic events in all of their advertising. Adding the sentence above attempts to query an ad pool that simply does not exist. Instead of advertisements you get a nice blank space, like you are using your email client of choice (which Gmail is (sort of), for many).

The trick comes from LifeHacker via the personal blog of one Joe McKay. His coverage of the “hack” is much more extensive than the LifeHacker post, but LifeHacker gets authorial credit for the two sentence phrase that seems to work for every email. As McKay points out, email length does matter, and to ensure an ad free experience, you’ll need one blocked word for every 167 acceptable words. LifeHacker says they’ve tested different length emails with the two sentences at the top of this post and they’ve worked every time.

Source: Joe McKay