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Brevity is the soul of email

You don't have time to sort through the hundreds of expert opinions on how to rein in a runaway inbox. That's why I did the sorting for you.

As I worked my way through about a dozen of these strategies for boosting email productivity, a theme arose: Keep it brief.

In that spirit and without further delay, here are the top suggestions of productivity gurus for avoiding email time sinks.

Don't let your inbox set your schedule I'm one of those people who visits his inbox before I have my coffee or open a newspaper in … Read more

All Email Providers review

All Email Providers lets you easily control multiple e-mail accounts from one app without the need for a complicated setup or repeated log-ins. Though it could use more options, especially the option for merging inboxes, it's tough to deny how useful this could be for people who have multiple e-mail accounts they use regularly. If nothing else, it can be a lot easier to set up than the default e-mail app.

This app lets you log into multiple e-mail accounts at once, so you don't have to constantly access them from their Web interface. To get into your … Read more

Yahoo, ICQ chats still vulnerable to government snoops

Nine months after Edward Snowden revealed extreme Internet surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies, some major technology companies have yet to take rudimentary steps to shield their users' instant messages from eavesdropping.

A CNET analysis shows that Yahoo and ICQ transmit the content of supposedly private instant messages in unencrypted form, exposing them to both government spies and malicious snoops on the same Wi-Fi network. AOL's AIM service encrypts content -- but leaks metadata about who's talking to whom.

These privacy problems were highlighted by a Guardian article Thursday, which revealed that spy agencies were eavesdropping on … Read more

Later app for iPhone reminds you to send e-mails, texts, and tweets

The iPhone comes with a useful Reminders app that helps you keep track of your various daily responsibilities, but free app Later by developer Nick Walter might be of added help because it focuses on reminding you only about texts, tweets, and e-mails that you don't want to forgot to send. The app feels half-baked at this point, but a future update might bring it all together.

Later provides a simple interface with four buttons at the top, and you can ignore the settings button unless you want to send the developer your thoughts. The other three let you … Read more

Prevent Gmail for Android from loading images automatically

As you might recall, early in December Googled announced it was going to start displaying images automatically in received e-mails. The company promised that it had figured out how to maintain the same level of security by processing the images through its own proxy servers. At the same time, Google announced that the feature would eventually make its way to its mobile Gmail apps.

Fast-forward to the most recent update to Gmail for Android and the feature is indeed included. After updating on both my Moto X and Nexus 5, images were displaying automatically in e-mails I received. I didn'… Read more

How to prevent Google+ users from e-mailing you

Don't want strangers on Google+ to start inundating your Gmail inbox? No problem. You can control or completely turn off this option.

On Thursday, the search giant announced a new feature that would let anyone on Google+ e-mail fellow users without having to find out their actual Gmail address. Respond to such an e-mail, and your address is then revealed to the other person.

Anticipating that many people might not want to receive e-mail from total strangers, Google lets you fine-tune this setting. Here's how:

Open your Gmail account. Click on the gear icon in the top right … Read more

How to stop Gmail from displaying images by default

Gmail now displays images by default. No longer will you see emails arrive with the line at the top that says "Images are not displayed" with a link to display the included image or images. Google will now use its own proxy servers to serve images instead of sending them directly from an image's own external host server, which protects you from snooping eyes -- spammers, marketers, and other ne'er-do-wells -- who are attempting to gain information about you from an attached image and the server from which it came.

While a proxy server lets Google … Read more

Yahoo Mail slowly comes back, but more work to be done

Yahoo Mail's recent troubles are still causing all kinds of issues for the company.

Yahoo posted an update to its Mail Status page on Wednesday night, saying that while it has restored POP access to its service, it was still trying to get IMAP back up. At that point, Yahoo delivered 30 percent of messages sent during the protracted outage and said it expects the remaining messages to be delivered Thursday afternoon.

Yahoo Mail has been set back on its heels for some time now. In October, the company launched a design revamp that drew the ire of users, … Read more

Review: Email Verifier for Mac checks the validity of an e-mail address using a remote server

With its fast remote servers, Email Verifier for Mac can confirm the validity of an e-mail address within seconds. It's a small and easy-to-use Web-based app that offers free individual e-mail checks but has tiered subscriptions for bulk operations. Unlike some other similar services, this one uses its own IP address, so there is no danger that your computer IP will be blacklisted.

Email Verifier for Mac looks, behaves, and installs like an app but is, in fact, a tiny Web browser that displays the service's Web site as its homepage. It features a minimalistic, accessible interface with … Read more

Encrypted messaging coming to Microsoft's Office 365 next year

In response to e-mail privacy concerns, Microsoft announced Thursday it will introduce message encryption for Office 365 in early 2014.

The new feature, dubbed Office 365 Message Encryption, will allow users to send automatically encrypted e-mail to recipients outside of their own company, regardless of its destination. In addition, all replies and forwards of that original message are automatically encrypted as well.

"No matter what the destination -- Outlook.com, Yahoo, Gmail, Exchange Server, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Squirrel Mail, you name it -- you can send sensitive business communications with an additional level of protection against unauthorized access," … Read more