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ExtraBITS for 15 August 2011

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Just a couple of things to note this week — Google introducing a new way of viewing Gmail’s Web interface with a preview pane and Amazon creating a Web app version of its Kindle software.

Gmail Gains Optional Preview Pane -- For those who read Gmail via its Web interface, including in Mailplane, Google has released a Gmail Labs feature called Preview Pane. It gives Gmail a vertical interface with labels on the left, a vertical list of message summaries in the middle, and the main conversation display pane on the right. It works best with wide screens, though if you have a tall screen, you can switch it to a horizontal split instead of a vertical split. The approach is much more like Gmail’s tablet interface, and in turn like Mail on the iPad.

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Kindle Reading Comes to the Web -- Amazon has created a Web app version of its Kindle reading software for Safari for the iPad, Mac OS X, and Windows, and Chrome for desktops. The app uses HTML5 to mimic the natively written Kindle apps, and does a quite decent job. Amazon leverages HTML5 local storage support to download Kindle titles to the browser, too. This is seen as a workaround by Amazon to bypass Apple’s 30-percent cut of media purchase fees in iOS apps.

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