If you're fed up with having to choose from other people's iGoogle themes, you'll soon be able to create your own.
A new tool, which should be available to all iGoogle users in the next few hours, lets you upload photos from your desktop into an editor that lets you crop them down to fit inside iGoogle's header space. There's also a color picker to change each individual color of your iGoogle page.
Earlier this week, I sat down with Gmail Product Manager Todd Jackson to talk about the future of the service and to find out what's been keeping the team busy behind the scenes. Here are five tidbits from our meeting you might find interesting.
1. More Themes are coming--including ones designed by you.
No new Gmail Themes have been added since the feature launch in late November, but Jackson says more of the skins are coming. "We want to keep adding Themes. People like it. We don't know exactly how we'll do that yet. The 30 Themes that we chose were hand-designed to look great in Gmail."
Jackson says the team was split on whether to open up the design process to third parties, like what's been done on Google's customizable start page, iGoogle.
That complexity doesn't mean that the Gmail folks are beyond letting users design their own themes. When pressed if there would one day be a design-your-own Theme tool, Jackson said the closest thing users might be getting is a tool that lets them choose the colors of each Gmail element, similar to the color picker used for Gmail's labeling system.
As to when new Themes are coming, Jackson wouldn't say. However, I got a peek at a few rejects and early mock-ups, including several iterations of plaid that would get the lumberjack or golfer in all of us a little excited.
2. No iPhone Gmail app in the works
For iPhone users who are fed up with Apple's built-in Mail application and wish that they could get a native Gmail application like the ones for Android and J2ME phones--don't hold your breath. "We could make one for mail, potentially," Jackson said, "but we'd also have to make one for Palm and BlackBerry. For each platform, it's time consuming."
Instead Jackson thinks the future of Gmail on phones centers around improved 3G coverage and new standards such as HTML 5 that will make using Gmail on your handset's browser less painful. "If we can design for the Web and give you the client-like experience that you're used to getting with Gmail on your browser, it's going to be a good experience."… Read more
Tonight you're probably going to make some hefty New Year's resolutions, which statistically you're never going to keep. Why not at least make a change you know will make a difference immediately? A Firefox theme can change the feel of your browser and all it takes is a simple download. You can't just waltz into a new year without making a few changes, right?
We've put together a nice slide show of downloadable Firefox themes so you can improve your browsing experience in the New Year.
Out of curiosity I pinged Google to see if the company would release usage numbers on the recently released themes and Labs add-ons in Gmail. The tools let users customize the Gmail experience in a number of ways, and all without the use of special browser add-ons or scripting hacks. More importantly, they let people custom tailor their e-mail experience no matter what computer they're on.
In other words, your theme and Labs add-ons can tell Google, or anyone else, a lot about why you're using the service.
While the company will not disclose the hard numbers on … Read more
On Tuesday security vendor WebSense issued an alert warning that holiday coupon e-mails from familiar companies may be malicious code in disguise, in this case a mass-mailing e-mail worm.
The warning cites one spoofed McDonald's e-mail that claims to present their latest discount menu, and asks the recipient to print out the attached coupon. A similar mailing pretending to be from Coca-Cola asks recipients to print out details about their new online game, and also offers recipients a chance to win Coca-Cola drinks for life. Websense says the attached zip file contains files named either coupon.exe or promotion.… Read more
Google says it aims Gmail at the technological elite, knowing that the information overload problems they have today will be the problems mainstream users have tomorrow. But apparently the company isn't above appealing to those who are willing to judge a book by its cover as well as its content.
On Wednesday, Google launched themes for Gmail, a feature that lets people customize the appearance of the Webmail application with a variety of new looks. Google is gradually rolling out the new feature to Gmail members "over the next couple of days," said Gmail team member Annie … Read more
I used to be a huge fan of Windows desktop themes. Granted, this was over 10 years ago, when I knew little about computers and was ignorant of the amount of system resources themes consumed. I don't use them today, as I prefer to keep my system clean and optimized, but I still understand the appeal. Customizing your desktop with a new theme makes for a new experience.
The Skins Factory is trying to give its users a new experience when installing desktop themes. It has announced that its Windows desktop-theme software, Hyperdesk, is now DRM-free. According to the … Read more
It's not exactly winter yet, though it feel fairly cold. However, folks at Pinnacle Systems think differently and on Thursday announced a new Pinnacle Theme Winter Pack for the Pinnacle Studio consumer video-editing application.
The Winter Pack is released together with the 12.1 update of the Pinnacle Studio software. The pack offers more than 80 additional winter-themed titles, DVD menus, and Pinnacle Montage templates. It will be included in special Pinnacle Studio Plus and Ultimate Winter Pack Editions at selected retailers until December 31.
The Winter Pack enables people to quickly create movies with themes relating to the … Read more
On Thursday, Photobucket introduced two new features: a way to skin albums and an overhauled organizational tool that lets users drag and drop photos into various folders.
Of the two, the organizer is the biggest enhancement. Users are taken to a dark gray editing environment that lets them make changes without the entire page having to refresh. Everything is drag and drop, which is useful for ferrying photos and videos between albums, and reordering album arrangement. There's also support for batch operations, so you can quickly move, reorder, and rename multiple photos at once.