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(UPDATE) Gmail goes down

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UPDATE: Google apologizes for the outage that hit users worldw ide. But it didn't say what caused it, a recent entry on its official blog said. Excerpt:
If youâve tried to access your Gmail account today, you are probabl y aware by now that weâre having some problems. Shortly after 10 9:30am GMT our monitoring systems alerted us that Gmail consumer and businesses accounts worl dwide could not get access to their email. Weâre working very hard to solve the problem and weâre really sorry for the inc onvenience. Those users in the US and UK who have enabled Gmail offline through Gmail Labs should be able to access their inbox, although they wonât be able t o send or receive emails.
GMAIL users saw their accounts inaccessible late Tuesday (Manila time). The Gmail service says it is experiencing a "502 server error," which means tha t the server is experiencing congestion or has "too many connections, high traf fic." Helloluis observes o n Twitter: "Watching the #gmail complaints stream thru http://tinyurl.com/dbvtv 9 A bit like watching a crowd around a car accident." A few minutes after Helloluis tweets: " I don't think I'll ever get tired to se eing thousands of tweets on the same subject pouring in over the span of a few minutes. #gmail #fail." There is still no explanation on the Gmail blog as of this writing.
By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net Search engine giant Google has rolled another experiment through its web-based email service Gmail. It's called "Gmail offline." While the announcement comes after Zimbra's own offline email offering, Gmail u sers were excited (myself included) with the launch of this offline feature. It means I could read my messages even if I don't have an Internet connection. To set up Gmail offline on your PC, follow these steps: 1. Open Gmail account online. Set Language to English. 2. On the upper right hand corner of the account page, click Settings, then cli ck Labs Tab. 3. Tick Enable next to Offline Gmail. 4. Click Save Changes. 5. After reloading the browser, "Offline0.1" link appears next to the user name (username@gmail.com). Click the new link to start the setup of Gmail offline. (Setup time depends on the number and size of your emails.) (Reminder: Before starting the setup, make sure to use a browser supported by G mail Labs and Gears--IE 7, Firefox 2.0 up, Safari 3.0 up or Google Chrome--and have Google Gears, free software, installed in your PC). As the name suggests, Gmail offline allows users to access messages on Gmail even without connecting to the Internet. The feature was tested for over a year at Google Labs division before it was la unched and is still in the experimental stage, according to Gmail engineer Andy Palay at the Google blog site. So how does it work? When online, Gmail uses Google Gears technology to download a local cache of yo ur mail. An algorithm determines the "latest and most important" messages for d ownload and syncs a maximum of 10,000 messages in your local disk. The time needed for synchronizing messages depends on the number and size of th e attachments to be downloaded. Using wireless connection, it took me two hours to sync while I was continuousl y reading and replying to messages. A friendly note: Do not to enable this feature when using public computers to p rotect your account. Gmail offline only requires you to enter your log in name. So after almost a week of trial, here's my verdict: The downside: Adding attachments in reply messages while in Offline or Flaky mo de is currently not supported. But Google Labs is now working on it (according to the message prompt that appe ars when you click "Attach File"). The Calendar and Contacts manager features are also inaccessible. And since not all messages will be synced to your hard disk, email search results are limite d to those that are downloaded in your local cache. The feature is only availab le in English as of this writing. The upside: Since the messages are stored in your hard disk, it is faster to se arch, read and label messages. You can reply to messages, which are then stored in the Outbox folder. Reply messages will be sent once you connect to Gmail. A ttachments such as images, PDF files and text documents can be viewed and downl oaded or saved to your PC. Setting up Gmail offline for multiple computers is also possible. So you can ha ve this on both your home or mobile PC (separate syncing is required). Users ca n opt to use the âFlaky connection modeâ if you have a really poor Internet con nection. So have you tried Gmail offline? What's your take?
INTER NET services giant Google Inc. has launched the Google Earth 5.0 with an update called Ocean. The new feature allows users to look at 3D images of the underwa ter terrain and view the world's large bodies of water. Two additional features were also added to Google Earth 5.0. They include the H istorical Imagery and Touring. The former is a virtual time travel to areas usi ng archived satellite imagery. The latter is a feature that allows users to exp erience a voice-over tour of Google Earth. Users can view photos and videos embedded n Google Earth 5.0. There are also ad ditional materials from about 80 oceanographic organizations and a National Geo graphic Magazine quiz feature. There are also archival videos from the famous o ceanographer Jacques Cousteau. There is also a new Google Earth "GSP tracking" feature, which was initially av ailable on the paid versions of Google Earth. Incidentally, Google added these features to highlight environmental issues. Go ogle has already invited to the launch of Google Earth 5.0 former vice presiden t and environment advocate Al Gore who spoke of the new Historical Imagery feat ure, which also shows the drastic environmental changes happening to the planet . In light of these new Google Earth features, Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked abo ut the biodiversity loss in the world's oceans and said that the Internet compa ny can help change people's perception of the environment. Some Philippine oceanographic landmarks are also highlighted in Google Earth 5. 0. Among these are Apo Coral Reef and dive spots in the island resort of Boraca y and Siargao. The Google Earth 5.0 software can be downloaded for free. Watch this video:
YOU'RE lucky (or still sleeping) if you didn't see that phrase popped out of yo ur computer screen when you were doing a Google search. Apparently, sometime between " 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m. PST this morning" a bug in the Google search rendered all websites harmf ul, heh. But Google immediately sprang into action and fixed this problem caused by a "h uman error."
What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search result s with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to i nstall malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their compute rs. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to get our list of URLs. S topBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whethe r that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually resear ched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms. We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to re lease on the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem qui ckly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and roll ing fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and beg an disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.
Phew...
By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net HAVE you noticed the change in Googleâs favicon? On January 9, Google launched its latest âcolorfulâ favicon, which is that smal l icon appearing beside the URL (web address) on the address bar or the browser tab. According to a Google blog post by Marissa Mayer, VP search prod ucts and user experience, and Michael Lopez, web designer, the latest favicon i s a re-interpretation of the winning entry by André Resende, a computer scienc e undergraduate student at the University of Campinas in Brazil. Last year, Google launched a contest for users to design the company favicon. Resendeâs entry consisting of âa white 'g' on a color-blocked backgr ound was highly recognizable and attractive, while seeming to capture the essen ce of Google,â wrote Mayer and Lopez. The new favicon incorporates the bright colors of blue, red, yellow and green a lso on the Google logo. From the original design of Resende, the Google team said they incorporated min or changes including slight change in the color layout and moving the âgâ off-c enter. Mayer and Lopez posted on the Google blog site in June 2008 their âexplorations â on the Google favicons. They wrote that releasing the samples is âa first ste p to a more unified set of icons.â At that time, the Google team tried 300 desi gns. So what do you think of the latest favicon? Does it look better compared to for mer designs? Post your thoughts.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia t o have a local edition of the Google News service, executives of the search com pany said Wednesday. The news servic e sources content from more than 4,500 English-language news sources, inclu ding major news outlets in the Philippines including INQUIRER.net. "The Philippines is a very important market in a very important region," said R ahul Roy-Chowdury, product manager for Google News, based in Bangalore, India. Roy-Chowdury expects more than 24 million Filipino Internet users by the end of the year. "We want to make sure we can provide value to this growing audience, " he said in a teleconference with local press. According to him, the service ranks stories and news sources accordi ng to Google's algorithms and likewise based on what he refers to as "aggregate editorial interest,â which basically refers to how often publishers carry part icular stories. The local Google News site carries no advertisements although Roy-Chowdury poin ted at an indirect revenue model both for Google and content publishers. Some u sers can enter search items on Google after reading new stories or go to a publ isher's site. "We are trying to create an ecosystem here that allows publishers to monetize ( traffic) thru (Google) AdSense or any other content monetization system," Roy-C howdury said. There are more than 50 regional editions of Google News available in 20 differe nt languages, Google said.

Google joins 'browser wars'

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Yup, it's official. G oogle has unveiled its new browser as it officially joins the browser wars. Remember the days when Mozilla launched Netscape and later Microsoft came into the picture with its Internet Explorer? Those were exciting times. Now, we have Google entering the fray. Why is Google launching its own browser, dubbed Chrome? "Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help driv e innovation on the web," writes
All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser . We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, w e shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends -- all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what ki nd of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elem ents out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pa ges to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern pl atform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build. Just as Microsoft announced updates to its Internet Exp lorer, Google has come out with what it touts to be a "simple and streamlin ed" browser that can work on Windows -- Microsoft's domain. Currently, it is on ly available in the Windows operating system, with Mac and Linux versions follo wing soon. "This is just the beginning -- Google Chrome is far from done. We're releasing this beta for Windows to start the broader discussion and hear from you as quic kly as possible. We're hard at work building versions for Mac and Linux too, an d will continue to make it even faster and more robust," adds Pichai. Google runs on Apple Safari web browser technology. In a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP), it says that Chrome is "Google's lat est weapon in its bid to become the leader in all Internet areas." Microsoft won the major browser wars in the 1990s defeating Netscape Navigator. "According to various estimates, Internet Explorer, which is the default browse r on computers with Windows operating systems, is used by between 60 and 80 per cent of Internet users around the world, with Mozilla Firefox a long way back i n second place," AFP reported.

Gmail group chat is here

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By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net FINALLY, Google has made Group chat available on Gmail. You can now start chatting with multiple contacts while you're checking your e- mail. To start a group chat, choose a contact, then click "Options" in the chat window to invite more people to the group chat. More details can be found here. New emoticons are also available. Here's a list of what you can now do with Gmail's ch at service. Start inviting friends to a group chat today.

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