All posts in “Email”

Burner email accounts will save your disaster of an inbox

Email is a pain. 

Yet, despite that most obvious of truths, it’s almost impossible to use the internet without an email account. Or, realistically, several accounts. You need one for work, one for your personal life, and at least one for all the garbage “confirmation email” signups that most sites now require. But there’s a trick — something those in the know have been doing for years — to make your time online less of a depressing slog of clicks and spam: burner emails. 

Unlike a straight up fake email address (hello bonglover420@highlife69.biz) that you made up on the spot while filling out an online form, a burner email is a real account that you can actually check. It has the benefit, however, of not being explicitly tied to your name or other online accounts. In addition, it has the clutch aspect of keeping that aforementioned spam as far away from your real inbox as possible. 

But how to do it quickly? Going through the process of creating a new Gmail account, say, every time you need to hit a “click to activate” link found in an incoming email is annoying. (Although, you can create a Gmail account without providing a real email address or phone number for confirmation.) 

Thankfully, there is an entire host of free services online that allow you to create a temporary email inbox with the click of a single button. Notably, these services should not be used for anything private or confidential. Also, importantly, this is not an instructional manual on how to create anonymous email accounts 100 percent disconnected from your real world identity — so don’t get all excited about the digital crime spree you’re about to go on. 

Instead, this is about streamlining your daily internet life. And so, in the spirit of single clicking your way to burner account freedom, allow me to introduce you to the concept of 10 minute mail. 

Although the exact amount of time differs per service, the general idea is the same: A single click creates an email inbox for a limited amount of time. The inbox is automatically open for the receipt (and often only receipt) of emails. After the set time period, the email address and its associated inbox’s contents expire.

One such service, 10MinuteMail, allows you to add an additional 10 minutes to the life of the account should you feel like it. 

“10MinuteMail.com does NOT keep logs or records of your personal data including, but not limited to, your IP address, your incoming e-mail, and your outgoing e-mail,” reads the site’s privacy policy. “Your privacy is very important to us. A temporary cookie is used to allow the service to deliver the e-mail to the right person, but will expire when you close your browser.” 

There are scores of other similar sites like 10MinuteMail (just search for “10 minute mail” on Google). 

A related, but slightly different service, called Maildrop allows you to choose your own address (hello bonglover420@maildrop.cc). However, anyone can view the inbox in question if they happen to have or guess the email address associated with it — or if it is linked, say, in a Mashable article. 

“While it may be unlikely that someone can guess a random inbox, there is no guarantee that other people don’t have access to your email messages,” reads Maildrop’s privacy policy. “Please treat Maildrop as if someone else were watching over your shoulder at all times.” 

Like we said, don’t use these services for anything private or sensitive. But hey, when you just quickly need a throwaway email address for some random internet bullshit, burner email accounts have you covered. 

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It’s not just you. Gmail’s having problems.

Naughty.
Naughty.

Image: VICKY LETA / MASHABLE

Go ahead, ignore all those high-priority emails. You have a legit excuse: Gmail is acting up. 

The Google-provided email service has been a bit finicky, with reports of unspecified service disruptions affecting users in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Google confirmed that all is not well in email land with a Monday afternoon post to its apps status page

“We’re investigating reports of an issue with Gmail,” reads the message. “We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior.”

A quick look at Down Detector shows the undefined problems appear to be mainly (but not entirely) focused on the coasts. 

Who needs email?

Image: down detector

Of course, the internet noticed the disruption to its regularly scheduled programming and took a moment to complain. 

Contrary to popular belief, however, the Gmail service disruption is actually a blessing in disguise. You now have the perfect excuse to ignore people. 

So blow off that email from your boss, blame it on Google, and go outside. We promise we won’t tell. 

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How to fix Gmail’s cluttered design with a simple Chrome extension

One of Gmail's old designers has some problems with the way it looks now.
One of Gmail’s old designers has some problems with the way it looks now.

Image: Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you’re annoyed by Gmail’s cluttered design, you’re not alone. Its lead designer from 2008 to 2012, Michael Leggett, recently spoke to Fast Company about how much it bugs him — and how he built a Chrome extension to fix the problem.

Leggett created Simplify Gmail, a free Chrome extension that removes all icons from the left and right sides of the home screen. Every chat, folder, starred email, and add-on is gone. The Gmail logo at the top of the screen is also removed. In the end, you’re left with a nice, clear view of your primary inbox — and not much else.

Simplify Gmail does exactly what it sounds like it should do.

Simplify Gmail does exactly what it sounds like it should do.

Image: Simplify gmail

It’s a utilitarian approach to email that definitely isn’t suitable for everyone, but those who obsess over a clean workspace will love it. I’d easily recommend this extension to anyone who needs to get through a huge stack of emails.

Leggett has long specialized in helping people sort through emails. He told Fast Company that Google’s insistence on adding other services to Gmail eventually led to the creation of Inbox, another famous project he led at Google. 

Google killed Inbox earlier this year, to the dismay of many dedicated users. Leggett decided soon after to release his extension to the public. So let this be a reminder that if you, like the lead designer of Gmail, are getting tired Gmail’s new features — you can always try fixing it with a Chrome extension.

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Gmail turns 15, gets smart compose improvements and email scheduling

Exactly fifteen years ago, Google decided to confuse everybody by launching its long-awaited web-based email client on April 1. This definitely wasn’t a joke, though, and Gmail went on to become one of Google’s most successful products. Today, to celebrate its fifteenth birthday (and maybe make you forget about today’s final demise of Inbox and tomorrow’s shutdown of Google+), the Gmail team announced a couple of a new and useful Gmail features, including improvements to Smart Compose and the ability to schedule emails to be sent in the future.

Smart Compose, which tries to autocomplete your emails as you type them, will now be able to adapt to the way you write the greetings in your emails. If you prefer ‘Hey’ over ‘Hi,’ then Smart Compose will learn that. If you often fret over which subject to use for your emails, then there’s some relief here for you, too, because Smart Compose can now suggest a subject line based on the content of your email.

With this update, Smart Compose is now also available on all Android devices. Google says that it was previously only available on Pixel 3 devices, though I’ve been using it on my Pixel 2 for a while already, too. Support for iOS is coming soon.

In addition to this, Smart Compose is also coming to four new languages: Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

That’s all very useful, but the feature that will likely get the most attention today is email scheduling. The idea here is as simple as the execution. The ‘send’ button now includes a drop-down menu that lets you schedule an email to be sent at a later time. Until now, you needed third-party services to do this, but now it’s directly integrated into Gmail.

Google is positioning the new feature as a digital wellness tool. “We understand that work can often carry over to non-business hours, but it’s important to be considerate of everyone’s downtime,” Jacob Bank, Director of Product Management, G Suite, writes in today’s announcement. “We want to make it easier to respect everyone’s digital well-being, so we’re adding a new feature to Gmail that allows you to choose when an email should be sent.”