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Iranian government bans Google’s gmail amid expected protests

Iranian protest at UN Plaza in San Francisco June 2009

Iranian protest at UN Plaza in San Francisco June 2009

The Iranian Communications Agency has formally announced it has banned Google’s popular email service Gmail.

The Iranian government said the ban would be “permanent”. The agency said the country would develop its own national email service for citizens to use.

During the botched Iranian elections last summer, the government blocked a number of social networking websites, including Facebook. The government later banned Twitter as protesters organized rallies through Twitter and published tweets including video of events amid the government crackdown on the protests.

The latest Gmail ban comes as the government warns people to refrain from participating in anti-government protests, one of which is scheduled tomorrow. More protests are scheduled on February 11, the day marking Islamic Revolution celebrations.

Update: Reports are coming in that there are SMS interruptions

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Microsoft launches web-based IM support, Facebook feed going to Win Live

Microsoft today has added web-based support for IM on select Windows Live web pages, including Hotmail and the Win Live people page.

The feature was already added for users in Japan, Spain, the U.K., Italy, and France, though will now be added in North America, Brazil, Germany, and other European countries. The service will eventually support all users.

The new web-based IM support will make it easier for people to connect and use Windows Live Messenger from restricted computers such as at work.

Read the full story

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RIM Rolls out BlackBerry Internet Service 2.6

rimBlackBerry maker RIM has just completed upgrading its BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) to version 2.6 for North American customers. To get the new features for your Gmail account, you must delete your email account and re-add it. The changes in 2.6 are not very significant at all, the new features include:

* Display of password characters
o BlackBerry smartphone users have the option to display password characters when configuring email addresses with the BlackBerry Internet Service. This feature makes it easier for BlackBerry smartphone users to integrate third-party email addresses, especially when using a BlackBerry smartphone with the SureType® input method. Read the full story

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Google Sync Now Supports iPhone, Windows Mobile

Google has just released a beta version of its new Google Sync service. Google sync will let you automatically keep your Google Calendar, email and contacts synced between your iPhone and Windows Mobile phone automatically. This sync capability was already available on the Blackberry and Symbian S60 powered phones, though now support has been added for the iPhone, Windows Mobile, and other SyncML supported cell phones. Google Sync offers two-way synchronization, so if you make a change on your mobile phone or your PC, the changes will be immediately synched with the server. Thankfully, you don’t have to send SMS messages to “GVENT” to update your calendar from now on.

Google has also partnered with TrueSwitch to make it easier for you to migrate data from other email services including Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, among other services. You will be able to easily copy over contacts, old emails and other information to gmail. The new settings for you to start doing this are already available under Accounts and Import in the settings page in gmail. Just remember these services are beta and things can still go wrong.

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