Tagged: gmail

Google (Contacts, Mail, Talk) confusion

Image representing Google Talk as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

When Gmail first introduced the ability to import Contacts, I prompty exported my addressbook from KAddressbook. And then I mostly forgot about it, until recently. In the meantime, Google happily kept adding “suggested” contacts to my addressbook.

I decided to revisit my Google Contacts after reading some blog posts about new functionality. Sure enough, Contacts now even has its own URL (google.com/contacts). I figured this was a good time to clean out the contact and start from scratch with a clean list not polluted by the automatic suggested contacts. So I went ahead and deleted all the contacts and re-imported them from my desktop address book.

Surprisingly, there are weird interactions between my Google Contacts, and my Google Talk buddy list. A lot of people on my buddy list silently disappeared, without any kind of message or confirmation from either GMail, Talk or Contacts. And since then, my attempts to add back all the deleted buddies has failed miserably. Every time I add someone to my list, they show up just fine, but if I log out and log back in, they are usually not there.

What is even worse, this behavior is non-determinstic. Some additions persist across multiple sessions, while others are more ephemeral. I still don’t know exactly what the interaction between these three properties is, but it is very confusing. Google should clarify this more — what exactly is the impact of modifying my Contacts on things like Google Talk etc?

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GMail Chat


I’m sure everyone has seen the Google Talk interface within GMail by now. They’re activating it in some weird order — its enabled on all my email accounts but one — the one that I use the most! Anyways, its just a matter of time I guess.

Initial reaction? Well, it works. But so does Meebo, and a host of other web based IM services. So whats new? Clearly, the archival of chat transcripts is a big plus. I wish I had this feature common across ALL my IM accounts. Right now I just have to use Kopete’s history plugin, and keep histories synced across all my different machines with [[http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/|Unison]] and its a pain.

But its good to see that Google is trying hard to open up Google talk. I just checked whether I could add my Google Talk account to my regular Jabber account (@jabber.org) and it works! And with all the work behind [[http://code.google.com/apis/talk/about.html|libjingle]], soon all of the IMs would be able to provide voice chat through a single, open, standardized protocol (I believe Kopete already has implemented support for Jingle in their development branch). I wonder how Skype will react to this development — my guess is that they will emphasize more on the telephony and VoIP aspects of their service.

GMail unlabelled


Another priceless greasemonkey script: [[http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/2283|GMail unlabelled]] adds an “Unlabelled” label to quickly display emails with no label.