Google rolls out quick action buttons for Gmail

Google is aiming to make Gmail responding, planning, and organizing a little bit easier. The tech giant announced Wednesday that it is rolling out quick action buttons for its e-mail service.

Not only can users RSVP to an event without even opening the e-mail invite, they can also rate restaurants, places, or shops from within their inbox.

Here's more from a Wednesday blog post by Google product manager Shalini Agarwal:

Email is an important part of how we get things done -- from planning an event with friends to organizing that family vacation to Costa Rica. And today, getting … Read more

Floating tea infuser is just ducky

If you're looking to bring a little levity to your morning cup of tea--and who isn't?--you'll appreciate this fun infuser from RSVP International. The infuser is made of 18/8 stainless steel. Fill it with loose tea leaves and drop it in your hot water. Then, when your tea has brewed the proper amount, there's no need to fish around for the infuser or to dirty a spoon. Simply lift Ducky out and place him into his handy drip cup. It's about $10 online, and makes a cute gift for any tea lover.

Ducky … Read more

Tea: Now in tube form

When it comes to brewing loose tea, more often than not the tea leaves are placed in a spherical stainless steel steeper and dunked in hot water. Well, no longer: first yellow submarines, and now tubes.

The Tea Tube Infuser by RSVP International passes the ball and instead opts for the tube form to accomplish its task. Measuring 6.25-inches long, the tea steeper makes for an excellent accessory for single-cup tea brewing. Constructed of stainless steel and polycarbonate plastic, the dishwasher safe device offers ease of use with its innovative design. When separated, the stainless steel end acts as … Read more

Take your (egg) top off

Even if you don't celebrate the holiday for religious reasons, Easter Sunday is a great time to celebrate one of my preferred proteins: the egg. Whether it's hard-boiled, poached, fried or scrambled, eggs are truly one of my favorite breakfast foods.

One egg preparation I've never enjoyed is the kind necessitating the gadget you see here: a scissor-like device called a topper, whose sole function is to shear the top off of your boiled egg.

Cutting through the egg and shell, the topper allows you to serve boiled eggs directly out of their shells, making for a … Read more

A gadget that makes shredding herbs a snap

Every good cook knows that cooking with fresh herbs beats using the dried stuff, but doing so can sometimes be a real pain. Thyme is fairly straightforward and can be stripped off easily, but some herbs, like chives, basil, sage, and rosemary, are tough to slice, especially for those with big fingers.

With these herb scissors from RSVP, cutting tricky fresh herbs is a snap. You can easily chiffonade basil, mince chives, and snip scallions into tasty miso-soup-size rings. Since the scissors have several blades, you can cut an entire stalk of herbs in only a few scissor strokes.

The … Read more

Figure out who's bringing what with MyPunchBowl's checklists

There's something to be said about Web services that have been set up to help people coordinate things in the least stressful way as possible. I dig sites like CircleUp (coverage) that offer a way to set up polls, or to solve quick logistical questions within a group, without requiring the creator or the users to agonize over the interface and execution. That's why MyPunchBowl's new checklist feature is pretty much the best addition to a party-planning service yet.

The idea is simple: you, as party creator, make a list of things you need for the party. … Read more

Phonevite does party invites by phone, not email

Phonevite is a new free invitation and RSVP service that turns your Web browser into a personal assistant of sorts, letting you call a large group of friends, family, or contacts without having to spend all day on the phone. Instead Phonevite provides an asynchronous solution, giving you an easy way to record a personalized invitation message using your computer's microphone, and send it out to a list of hand-picked phone numbers. From there you can send out the "invitation" right away, or schedule it in for a later date.

When an invitation goes live, Phonevite will … Read more

CircleUp partners with online sports network

CircleUp, the RSVP-like service that launched at Demo 2007 a few months ago, has announced a partnership with e7 Sports, a management service for small sports teams. CircleUp will be added to the list of tools coaches can use to elicit responses from a bevy of parents and players about things such as uniform sizing and carpools. It's the mailing list re-done, this time with a centralized way to see other people's responses.

If you find yourself trudging through massive e-mail threads and having to hit reply-all, CircleUp would likely be more helpful. The service provides some simple … Read more

MyPunchBowl adds RSVPs, YouTube integration

MyPunchBowl, the party planning service I covered in January, has added some neat new features, including publicly viewable RSVPs--one of the few things I griped about. The service has also added YouTube integration to let party goers share videos of the event.

Like competitor Evite, MyPunchBowl's new RSVP options let you see who has been invited, along with whether or not they're coming. You can also turn the visibility of the party's guest list on and off at any time, which is a nice touch if people start nagging you about wanting to see who's coming, … Read more