Selasa, 16 Maret 2010

Kamis, 18 Desember 2008

Gmail Labs Feature Lets You Turn E-Mail into Google Docs

Call it Gmail's evolution by a thousand innovations.

Gmail Labs has whipped up another interesting feature in the name of efficiency, letting users turn an e-mail into a Google Docs file with one click.

The genesis of this, like so many other Gmail features, came out of a personal need from a Gmail software engineer. Google's Jeremie Lenfant-Engelmann noted:

More than once, I've had a conversation over e-mail and later realized that the information contained in the messages would make a great starting point for a document. So I built an experimental feature for Gmail Labs that does just that: with one simple click, "Create a document" converts an email into a Google Docs document.

To try this, you need to navigate to the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, select "Enable" next to "Create a document" and hit "Save Changes" at the bottom. Open an e-mail in your Gmail in-box and you should see the Create a Document link on the right side of the page. Convert away.

Does anyone else think this "experimental feature" will become permanent? I sure do. You won't have to copy and paste e-mail content, open up a Docs file, and drop it in. I can recall several times composing an e-mail to a colleague, then realizing it should look more official, copying and pasting the content into a Word document and shipping it as an attachment.

Now you can do all this from within Google's cloud, which is nice. Is this an earth-shattering feature? Hardly, but we need to consider the big picture. This points to the big trend in Gmail, which is becoming increasingly integrated with the rest of Google Apps.

This is Gmail's evolution by a thousand innovations. In 2008, we've seen a slew of them, including the ability to read PDFs in Gmail, a task manager, SMS text chat, a Calendar and Docs gadget, canned responses, and voice and video chat.

What is your favorite? What would you like Google to add to Gmail in 2009?

Yahoo, Not Google, Moves Search Data Match Closer to an Endgame

There is a game worthy of the great "Tom & Jerry" cartoons afoot in the land of search engines.

On one side are Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, all of which collect user log data because they argue it helps them improve the way their search engines and other Web services work, maintain security and prohibit fraud. Google has great YouTube videos on the reasons for saving user logs, which include our search queries, IP addresses and cookies.

On the other side are privacy advocates, regulators and legislators, who argue that our civil liberties are being infringed upon at the level of bits and bytes. These groups don't want search engines storing user data any longer than they have to.

The European Commission's Article 29 Working Party, an ominous-sounding advisory panel made up of data protection commissioners from each of its 27 member countries, leads the way in cracking down on the data retention limits, calling for search engines to delete search records after six months.

Until today, the search engines came closest to this target in September, when Google reduced its data anonymization timeline from 18 months to nine months. This seemed like a monumental gesture at the time, but, oh, what a difference a few months make!

Yahoo today, Dec. 17, vowed to anonymize log data within 90 days for not only search, but also page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks, with certain exceptions for fraud, security and legal obligations. Yahoo's overture shaved 10 months off of its previous data erasure policy.

Microsoft, which seems painfully opposed to any sort of leadership position in search, is still stuck at 18 months. The chagrin in Redmond is palpable. To recap, Yahoo is quickest to nuke your data from its system at three months, Google at nine, Microsoft at 18.

Yahoo said in a statement:

Yahoo conducted a comprehensive review of its data practices across the globe. The heads of business and engineering units worked with privacy and data governance teams to thoroughly review data needs for global products and services, striving to ensure that Yahoo retains data only long enough to serve our business and create the highest-quality user experiences while maintaining the ability to fight fraud, secure systems and meet legal obligations.

Yahoo decided that three months of data retention was all it needed to continue successfully offering its services. But doesn't a reduction of 10 months seem like a drastic change to anyone, particularly as these companies fought tooth and nail to keep data as long as they wanted?

Why was Yahoo dragging its feet? Perhaps Yahoo wants to evoke as much good will as it can as it slides ever so slowly into obliteration. Search Engine Land and Ars Technica seem to think so.

How much more value can Yahoo derive from holding user data for 90 days? My suspicion is none. Why not just eliminate the storing of user data logs?

My belief is that Yahoo, Google and Microsoft can do this without seriously degrading their services, and eventually will. They just don't want to unless and until the EU, the Department of Justice or some major politicking group forces their hands.

This is quite the cat and mouse game indeed, but I wonder to what end? Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are slated to place their cases for data retention before the Article 29 Working Party panel in February. Will 2009 be the year Google, Yahoo and Microsoft cease storing our search and other user data altogether?

I put some of my questions to Google in the context of Yahoo's news today. Besides the company line about taking privacy seriously, Google Senior Privacy Counsel Jane Horvath responded:

When we make changes to our policies, they are dependent on what will be best for our users both in terms of the services we provide and the respect of their privacy. It is a balance that we are continually evaluating.

There will be big changes afoot regarding user data retention in 2009. The Big Three of search will succumb to their clearly softening stances on retaining our data.

We will see a glut of innovation, with the companies' search algorithms giving us similar or superior results based on our searches without storing and picking over our search queries, IP addresses and cookies.

I'm certain the companies can do this already; they've either become too reliant on our data or are scared to set us free and lose competitive advantages.

What do you think?

about:mozilla - 2010 goals, Thunderbird 3, Labs meetup, updating add-ons, Foundation report, Impact Mozilla, and more…

In this issue…

Thunderbird 3 Beta 1 now available!
Thunderbird 3 Beta 1 is now available for download. This milestone is focused on testing the core functionality of the new features and platform changes that will be included in Thunderbird 3. Thunderbird 3 Beta 1 includes new database technology that will make it possible to build fast new ways of navigating mail. For more background and for previews of experimental add-ons, see David Ascher’s blog post: “Thunderbird 3 beta 1 - a platform for innovation shapes up“.

New features and changes in this milestone that require feedback include: Tab interface for Mail, improvements to IMAP for faster message viewing, improved message reader view, new add-ons manager, improved address book interface, improved import of mail from other Mail clients, integration with Windows Vista search, and integration with Mac OS X Address Book.

Please read the release notes before downloading for more information about this release including known issues. Testers can download Thunderbird 3 Beta 1 builds for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in 38 different languages. For more information, see the full release announcement.

Today: 2010 goals brownbag meeting
Mitchell Baker is in the process of finalizing Mozilla’s 2010 goals which have been under discussion within the Mozilla community for quite some time. Mitchell writes, “I’m going to consolidate the feedback received to date and create a new version in the next couple of days. I will do a brown bag [presentation and discussion] on Tuesday, December 16 at 12:30 Pacific time (8:30 p.m. GMT) for final feedback. We’ll stream the discussion on Air Mozilla and moderated chat is available on #brownbag. We’ve had a lot of discussion so there may not be a lot of interest in this session. That’s fine. Also great if there is. The next version is likely to be very close to final, if not the final version itself. So if you have any thoughts you haven’t expressed, please do so asap.” Revised drafts of the proposed goals have been posted to Mitchell’s weblog, including the “Firefox” goal, the “data” goal, the “mobile” goal, and the “centerpiece” goal.

Mozilla Labs meetup: this Thursday, Mountain View
The Mozilla Labs team writes, “It’s time for another Monthly Meetup. This month’s Labs Night will be Thursday, December 18th, 6pm at Mozilla’s office - 1981 Landings Drive, bldg K in Mountain View, California.

Last month’s meetup with the Seedcamp teams was awesome, thanks so much to all who attended. This week - the final meetup of 2008! - we will hear progress updates on various active Labs projects. If anyone is up for sharing we would love to hear from you. As always, there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion and hacking. And of course, pizza!

If you are in the Bay Area we’d love to see you! Please RSVP so we know how many to expect. Thanks!”

Updating your add-on to Firefox 3.1 Beta 2
Paul Rouget has written a great post about how to update your add-ons for Firefox 3.1 beta 2. “Many add-ons should work out of the box with beta2. Others might need a little tweak. If you have tested and you are sure that your extension works with Firefox 3.1 beta 2 and doesn’t need any code updated, just update the compatibility version (3.1b2) on the AMO dashboard. If you know that you must update some code, do so and update the install.rdf file (increase the version of your extension and update maxVersion to 3.1b2), then upload your xpi file.” If you’re not sure about how to update your add-on, Paul has included handy step-by-step instructions as part of the full blog post. Check it out over at the Mozilla Add-ons blog.

Mozilla Foundation: December board report
Mark Surman has posted the Mozilla Foundation December board report to his weblog. “This past month was about trying things out, and continuing to move on planning and team building. Education ideas are getting more concrete. Conversations about ‘Mozilla as a social movement’ continue, including one (aborted) attempt at a community workshop and renewed energy around the Mozilla Manifesto. We’re involved in a couple of small efforts to help governments w/ participation and openness. And next step ideas on education got a bit more concrete. On the internal front, Mitchell posted about our 990 and financials.” More details, including a list of next month’s priorities, are available at Mark’s weblog.

Localization: QA and testing survey
Mozilla’s Localization drivers team (aka: l10n-drivers) has launched a QA and Testing survey that will help them analyze how our localizers create test plans and test localizations leading up to a product release. If you are part of a Mozilla localization team or have contributed in some way to a localization, please take this survey: Mozilla L10n QA and Testing survey. The survey includes 20 questions in four sections and should take about 10 minutes to complete. Please answer as accurately and carefully as possible.

Impact Mozilla: Vote now!
Ken Kovash writes, “The Impact Mozilla competition has reached its final phase - and now it’s your turn to determine the winner. After a month of hard work, all ten finalists have returned with their developed strategies and complete marketing plans.” To judge all ten entries, go to, giving yourself ample time (at least an hour) to read through multiple plans and carefully consider all finalists. The entry with the most votes will win the Impact Mozilla competition. Everyone is allowed to vote, although only one vote per person is allowed, and voting closes on Wednesday, December 17th. Mozilla intends to execute the winning idea in early 2009. For more information, see Ken’s original post as well as his ongoing series of posts showcasing the Impact Mozilla Finalists: Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV so far.

Firefox in your country survey: Round 2
Last week the Mozilla Marketing team launched round 2 of the Firefox in your country survey with a new list of countries and new and improved questions. The survey will remain open until December 26th. In this round the team is hoping to hear from people in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Sri Lanka, Spain, The Netherlands, and Vietnam. Please help spread the world to others, whether or not they use Firefox. The link to the survey is the same for everyone, and the page should automatically display the survey in the appropriate language. If it shows the wrong language, use the pull-down menu at the top right to change it. For more information, see Alix Franquet’s weblog post.

about:mozilla - holiday hiatus
The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time for about:mozilla’s annual holiday hiatus! Since there’s likely to be a dearth of news during the last week of December, the newsletter will not be published on Dec 30th. We reserve the right to skip Jan 6th as well, depending on whether there’s any news to pass along at that point.

We’re always looking for feedback about the newsletter, so if you have any comments, questions, or thoughts on how to improve it, we would really appreciate it if you could send a note to Thanks for reading, and happy holidays.

Developer calendar
For an up-to-date list of the coming week’s Mozilla project meetings and events, please see the Mozilla Community Calendar wiki page.

Subscribe to the email newsletter
If you would like to get this newsletter by email, just head on over to the about:mozilla newsletter subscription form. Fresh news, every Tuesday, right to your inbox.

Firefox 3.0.5 and security updates now available for download

As part of Mozilla Corporation’s ongoing stability and security update process, Firefox 3.0.5 and Firefox are now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux as free downloads:

Mozilla is not planning any further security & stability updates for Firefox 2, and recommends that you upgrade to Firefox 3 as soon as possible. It’s free, and your settings and bookmarks will be preserved.

Also, the Phishing Protection service will no longer be available for Firefox 2 users. Firefox 3 offers a free Phishing and Malware Protection service, which will continue to protect you from online scams and attacks.

If you already have Firefox 3 or Firefox 2, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This update can also be applied manually by selecting “Check for Updates…” from the Help menu.

For a list of changes and more information, please review the Firefox 3.0.5 Release Notes and the Firefox Release Notes.

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