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May 30, 2013

Technology News Briefs — May 30, 2013

Gmail Redesign Focuses on Organization        

A redesigned Gmail is all about helping its users stay organized.

Google launched the redesign of its e-mail service Wednesday (May 29) to allow desktop and mobile users to customize their inboxes.

On PCs, the new inbox groups mail into sections — primary, social, promotions or updates — which appear as different tabs at the top of the page. The new format allows users to stay organized, decide which e-mails to read and when to read them.

“You can easily customize the new inbox — select the tabs you want from all four to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab,” said product manager Itamar Gilad in a blog post.

Mobile users — Gmail for Android 4.0+ and Gmail for iPhone and iPad —will see the primary category upon opening the app, but it is easy to navigate to the other tabs.

Anyone who does not like the new look can go back to the previous design by switching off all the optional tabs. Users also have the option of switching to any other inbox style.

The new desktop, Android and iOS versions of Gmail will roll out over the next few weeks. For an early peak at the desktop version, keep an eye on the gear menu and select Configure inbox when it appears in the Settings options.

Apple Files $53M Settlement in Water Damage Lawsuit

Apple will shell out $53 million to settle a class-action lawsuit linked to warranties for its iPhone and iPod touch devices.

As part of the cash settlement, the more than 153,000 iPhone and iPod Touch customers who were denied warranty coverage for water damage to their devices will receive a refund of up to $200 each.

Apple’s “liquid damage policy” allowed the company to deny warranty claims if an indicator inside the device in question had changed from white to pink or red. The indicator was supposed to change color only if the device had been damaged by water or some other liquid, which would void the warranty. 3M, the manufacturer of the indicators, however, later said heat or humidity could also cause the indicators to change color.

iPhone customers whose warranty claims were denied before Dec. 31, 2009 and iPod Touch customers whose warranty claims were denied before June 30, 2010 are eligible for a cash settlement.

The proposed settlement must still receive court approval.

Facebook Rolls Out Verified Pages, Profiles

Facebook is launching verified pages for celebrities, journalists and other “high profile” people.

Verified pages will feature a small, blue check mark beside the name of the celebrity or other well-known person on timelines and in search results as well as elsewhere on Facebook. The update is rolling out to profiles as well.

“Verified Pages belong to a small group of prominent public figures (celebrities, journalists, government officials, popular brands and businesses) with large audiences,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“We verify profiles or Pages to help you be sure that they are who they claim to be. Keep in mind that not all authentic profiles and Pages are verified and that you can’t request to have your profile or Page verified.”

Facebook also encourages users to report fake accounts.