January 1, 2013
System maintenance Thursday, January 3, 5:00-7:00 PM US/Pacific
The Gmail Notes datastore will be placed in read-only mode for approximately two hours on Thursday, January 3, 2013, starting at 5:00PM US/Pacific Time. During this time, you will still be able to view your notes in the sidebar, but you will not be able to create new notes or edit/save existing ones. (If you try, an error message will be returned from the server.)
August 24, 2012
System maintenance Tuesday, August 28, 6:00-8:00 PM PDT
The Gmail Notes datastore will be placed in read-only mode for approximately two hours on Tuesday, August 28, 2012, starting at 6:00PM Pacific Daylight Time (Tuesday, 29th August, 01:00 UTC). During this time, you will still be able to view your notes in the sidebar, but you will not be able to create new notes or edit/save existing ones. (If you try, an error message will be returned from the server.)
March 23, 2012
New Firefox add-on, version 1.5
We recently updated our Firefox extension, adding an option to set the shortcut key that toggles the Gmail Notes sidebar. The default key is Control-Alt-G, but that recently came into conflict with the highly-regarded Ghostery
add-on. It turns out that Ghostery 2.7.2 switched to this shortcut key in order to avoid a conflict with LastPass. (It's never easy...)
So starting with version 1.5 of the Gmail Notes Sidebar
add-on, there is a preference where you can enter a letter to use for the shortcut. You are still stuck with the Control-Alt prefix, and the default letter is the same 'G'. But if you have a conflict with another add-on, we are hopeful you can find a suitable alternative letter (we now use Control-Alt-N for Notes). Also, if you use this new feature, please remember
that you have to restart Firefox before the new shortcut key goes into effect.
You can check the status of the Gmail Notes add-on, and access the preferences window, by selecting the Firefox "Tools" --> "Add-ons" menu item.
March 18, 2012
System maintenance Monday, March 19, 6:00-8:00 PM PDT
The Gmail Notes datastore will be placed in read-only mode for approximately two hours on Monday, March 19, 2012, starting at 6:00PM Pacific Daylight Time (Tuesday, 20th March, 01:00 GMT). During this time, you will still be able to view your notes in the sidebar, but you will not be able to create new notes or edit/save existing ones. (If you try, an error message will be returned from the server.)
March 10, 2012
Gmail Notes reaches 3rd anniversary
So Gmail Notes has been online for over 3 years now, first going live on March 4, 2009. Back then, we considered our app a temporary workaround until Google added the same feature to Gmail themselves. But now, we now wonder if Gmail will ever
support private notes for users. Judging by the extremely small number of Gmail Notes users, there just isn't any serious demand for the feature. Here are a few stats to back that up:
- After 3 years, the Gmail Notes servers are storing 8304 notes created by 1575 users, for an average of 5.3 notes per user.
- The median, however, is well under 1 note per user, since two-thirds of users (1001) have just a single note in the datastore. Obviously, most people who try Gmail Notes don't continue using it.
- On a typical day (Feb 29, 2012), 1842 api requests were made from 24 unique users.
- And in the past 30 days, 163 unique users have signed in to Gmail Notes.
(FYI, there is also one Gmail Notes "business" user that pays for an extended quota, but their data are not included in the above stats.)
This low usage is surprising to us since, as the app authors, we cannot imagine using Gmail without notes. Nonetheless, we are glad that only a few people use Gmail Notes, because that allows us to continue providing the service at no cost. So although we originally implemented Gmail Notes as a temporary substitute for a Google-provided notes feature, we now expect that our app will be around for a looooong time...
February 18, 2012
We updated our nameplate
Unless you have a photographic memory, you wouldn't have noticed that we recently changed the font used in the "Gmail Notes" headline at the upper left corner of our website. We had previously been using the ubiquitous comic sans, even though that font seems to be universally hated by the graphics designer community. So we set out to find a no-cost alternative, starting with Google web fonts
, of course. We like the comic sans for its thick, rounded design, and also because it has an italics style. (And no, we never liked its uneven, nonuniform letters, which are intended to look handmade.) It turns out that, among the 400+ fonts in the Google web fonts site, only 3 have rounded letters, or at least include the term "round" in their name, so that narrowed down our choices fast. Fortunate for us, one of the three rounded fonts, Varela Round
, comes darn close
to what we were looking for. It doesn't include an italic version, but we found that setting the css font-style to italics causes the letters to be tilted. That was enough for us. Switching to Varela Round may look like a very small change on the outside, but we are really happy to finally be rid of comic sans. Maybe now we can join the voice of disdain towards that overused, generally-inappropriate comic sans font :)
FYI, we originally thought that the top of our page was called a "masthead", but we were informed that the correct term is "nameplate". You can check wikipedia on that...
Oh, and in case you are wondering what the old
nameplate looked like, we saved a screenshot of it here