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Email is a universal way to communicate. No matter where you are, you can reach anyone else in the world with the press of a button. We take it for granted now, but it's so much easier to keep in touch with people than it was in the old days of pens, paper, and stamps. But there’s still an important barrier we need to overcome to make email truly universal: language. Gmail is already available in 58 languages, and today we’re bringing that total to 71—covering 94 percent of the world’s Internet population and bringing us closer to our goal of making sure that, no matter what language you write in, you can use it in Gmail.

These 13 new languages are joining the Gmail family: Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

As any native speaker knows, each language has its own nuances, so we worked closely with linguists to make sure the tone and style are just right. For example, both Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional Chinese characters. However, you’ll notice that Gmail’s new Chinese (Hong Kong) language uses 收件箱 for “Inbox” instead of 收件匣, which is a word more common in Taiwan.

All 13 languages are rolling out today in Gmail on the web and feature phone browsers. Try out any one of them by going to your Settings. It’s much easier than finding the right postage.

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Unless you’re a budding Ansel Adams, odds are you take most of your photos using your phone. And whether it’s photos of your hiking trip or a night out, sending photos to friends and family just got easier. Starting today, you can save time and insert your Auto Backup photos from your phone into Gmail messages on the web using the new Insert Photo button.

When you click the button, you'll instantly access all the photos that are backed up from your mobile devices, starting with the most recent.
If you upload and organize your photos into albums on Google Photos, you can also share entire albums. Plus, you can now resize images while composing messages by dragging on any corner to make your snapshot picture perfect.
These new features will be rolling out today in Gmail on the web. If you haven’t already, turn on Auto Backup so you can easily include photos from your latest adventures in emails to family and friends.

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Shelfies are so yesterday, so we’re saying goodbye to Gmail Shelfie. That said, many of you told us that you loved the concepts of themes and sharing together, so we worked through the night to update this feature into something even better. Today, we’re excited to announce that you can now share any custom theme—your favorite vacation spot, pet, family photo or even, yes, a selfie—with friends, loved ones or anyone.

If you’re using a custom theme that you want shared, simply click on “Share your theme” under Themes in Settings.
And if you opted into Gmail's top trending Shelfies theme, then you can either update to your own custom theme or follow the Gmail Google+ page where we’ll be sharing some of our favorites on “Theme Thursdays.”

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Today, Gmail hits the double digits. Over the last 10 years, you—our users—have been our biggest inspiration. You've sent us ideas for features you want, and told us what you like (and didn't like...). So while it may be our birthday, we want to say thank you to you with a gift that is, well, all about you.

When custom themes launched back in 2012, we urged you to find “your perfect image and make Gmail your own.” And you did. Many of you rushed to take photos of yourselves to upload as your Gmail custom theme, which you started referring to as selfies.
An early selfie in Gmail

As you undoubtedly recall, this term quickly spread beyond email themes and has permeated our culture so thoroughly that the Oxford Dictionaries named it Word of the Year in 2013.
Custom themes catalyzed selfie generation

You all love setting selfies as your custom theme in Gmail, but you’ve told us there’s one major problem: there isn’t a way to share your selfie with others. As the pioneering platform for selfies, Gmail is committed to being at the forefront of innovation in the selfie space. And we think it's a tragedy that your handsome hair, luscious lashes and beautiful brows have been trapped in your own inbox. Until now, that is. Today, we’re proud to free your selfies by launching Gmail Shelfie, the SHareable sELFIE.

Gmail Shelfie is built on the idea that you shouldn’t be selfish with your selfie. With just a few clicks, your mom, your aunt, or that girl you have a crush on can set your Shelfie as their Gmail theme so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background.

Got an awesome selfie? Upgrade it to a Shelfie! Simply open or refresh Gmail on the desktop and share it with your friends. If you're looking for inspiration, set your theme to Gmail's top trending Shelfies. You can also see who's currently trending on our Google+ page.

Spoiler alert: Word of the Year 2014 will be Shelfie... clearly.

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Promotional mail has a lot of images, from pictures of snazzy new shoes to photos of that rock-climbing gym you’ve been wanting to try. But right now, those images are buried inside your messages—and with only subject lines to go on, it can be a challenge to quickly pick out the deals and offers that interest you most. To help you find what you’re looking for faster, you can now sign up for a new field trial for Gmail that lets you view the Promotions tab in a more visual way.

To take part in this field trial, you can sign up at g.co/gmailfieldtrial and if you’re selected, a new grid view will bring to the top of your inbox key images from deals, offers, and other marketing emails if you have the Promotions tab enabled. Grid view also comes with infinite scrolling, making it easy to quickly scan through your messages and find the ones that look interesting.
You’ll be able to toggle between the new visual grid view and the standard list view by clicking a button at the top of the tab. We’re just experimenting for now, but we hope this view will make it a little bit easier for you to get things done. Sign up at g.co/gmailfieldtrial and if you're selected, we’ll follow up for your feedback!

Note: If you send promotional emails, check out the Gmail Developers site to learn how you can give your readers a better experience in Gmail using this feature.

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Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog

Your email is important to you, and making sure it stays safe and always available is important to us. As you go about your day reading, writing, and checking messages, there are tons of security measures running behind the scenes to keep your email safe, secure, and there whenever you need it.

Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email. Gmail has supported HTTPS since the day it launched, and in 2010 we made HTTPS the default. Today's change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers—no matter if you're using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.

In addition, every single email message you send or receive—100% of them—is encrypted while moving internally. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Gmail's servers, but also as they move between Google's data centers—something we made a top priority after last summer’s revelations.

Of course, being able to access your email is just as important as keeping it safe and secure. In 2013, Gmail was available 99.978% of the time, which averages to less than two hours of disruption for a user for the entire year. Our engineering experts look after Google's services 24x7 and if a problem ever arises, they're on the case immediately. We keep you informed by posting updates on the Apps Status Dashboard until the issue is fixed, and we always conduct a full analysis on the problem to prevent it from happening again.

Our commitment to the security and reliability of your email is absolute, and we’re constantly working on ways to improve. You can learn about additional ways to keep yourself safe online, like creating strong passwords and enabling 2-step verification, by visiting the Security Center: https://www.google.com/help/security.

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Whether you’re checking your email first thing in the morning or as you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, you want to get your messages as quickly as possible. With today’s update to the Gmail iOS App, it’s easier to do just that.

The app now fully supports background app refresh, which means your Gmail messages will be pre-fetched and synced so they’re right there when you open the app—no more annoying pauses while you wait for your inbox to refresh. This feature requires iOS 7, and you’ll also need to turn on background app refresh and notifications (badge or any other type) for the Gmail app.

The Gmail app also now supports sign-in across Google iOS apps, including Maps, Drive, YouTube and Chrome. Sign in to one, and you’ll be signed in to all (this also works for signing out). So you won’t have to type in that 27-character password or retrieve your 2-step verification code every time you navigate to another Google app. You may need to re-login after you update the app, but then you’ll be all set.

Head over to the App Store now to download the updated app so you can save a bit more time each day.

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Interested in celebrating Carnival with your cousin in Argentina, or not sure when your friend in Zurich is off for the Swiss National Day holiday? You can now choose from 30 additional country holiday calendars in Google Calendar to help keep track of special occasions in different countries so there’ll be even more to celebrate.
The calendars, which will be rolled out over the next few days, also contain a wider variety of holidays and display dates for holidays further into the future, so you can have enough time to book a flight to Buenos Aires to join your cousin for the water games, or ask your friend to send you a dozen August-Weggen.

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Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven't actually exchanged email addresses? If you are nodding your head 'yes' and already have a Google+ profile, then you’re in luck, because now it's easier for people using Gmail and Google+ to connect over email. As an extension of some earlier improvements that keep Gmail contacts automatically up to date using Google+, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients when you are composing a new email.
How it works
As you can tell from the example above, these emails work a bit differently so that your email address is only shared with the people you want. Your email address isn't visible to a Google+ connection unless you send that person an email, and likewise, that person’s email address isn’t visible to you unless they send you an email.

You're in control
You control whether people can reach you this way with a new setting in Gmail.
Emailing Google+ connections also takes advantage of Gmail's new inbox's categories. When someone in your circles emails you, the email will appear in the Primary category. But if you don't have them in your circles, it will be filtered into the Social category (if enabled) and they'll only be able start another conversation with you if you respond or add them to your circles.
Diana has sent an email to Peter and Peter decides if he wants to add Diana to his circles or reply.
This feature is rolling out over the next couple of days to everyone that uses Gmail and Google+. You'll get an email with information and a link to the setting when the feature is available.

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Have you ever wondered why Gmail asks you before showing images in emails? We did this to protect you from unknown senders who might try to use images to compromise the security of your computer or mobile device.

But thanks to new improvements in how Gmail handles images, you’ll soon see all images displayed in your messages automatically across desktop, iOS and Android. Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.

So what does this mean for you? Simple: your messages are more safe and secure, your images are checked for known viruses or malware, and you’ll never have to press that pesky “display images below” link again. With this new change, your email will now be safer, faster and more beautiful than ever.
Of course, those who prefer to authorize image display on a per message basis can choose the option “Ask before displaying external images” under the General tab in Settings. That option will also be the default for users who previously selected “Ask before displaying external content”.

Similar to existing features like default https access, suspicious activity detection, and free two-step verification, image proxying is another way your email is protected. This new improvement will be rolling out on desktop starting today and to your Gmail mobile apps in early 2014.