Google’s sure got it going on when it comes to innovation.
Look at Gmail, for existence. They changed the way we look at email conversation! If you didn’t already know, the Gmail team loves to come up with new features all the time. Many features they release to a testing zone, called labs, where we as users can give some of them a go to see how well they work.
Check out the labs section every so often to see if there is a new feature that you think could be of some use. Go there by clicking the little green beaker at the top of the Gmail window. Scroll through and see what they’ve got going on.
I’ve found 5 Gmail Labs features I think are worth the time it takes to try them out.
1. Quote Selected Text
Have you ever wanted to reply to an email while referring to something said within the email? Now Gmail has a Labs feature that makes quoting from an email super easy. Just highlight the portion you want to quote, and hit the reply button and the highlighted text is automatically quoted in your reply.
2. Quick Links
If you are like me you probably get sick of extra clicks and searches that you do over and over, day in and day out. Now, with the use of the quick links Gmail Labs feature, you can save some of your most used searches places and link directly to them. Simply enable the feature, head to your frequently visited location within Gmail, and click Add Quick Link. Easy as pie.
3. Green Robot
Do you ever use Google Talk to chat with your contacts? When you see them online, do you ever wonder if they are on a computer or their Android phone? With the Green Robot Gmail Labs featured enabled, the common indication circle becomes a little robot when they are on their phone. Simple yet handy.
4. Picasa and Flickr Previews in mail
These are actually two separate Gmail Labs features but I’ve combined them into one because they basically do the same thing only with different online photo sites. Once enabled, these Labs features will take links from Picasa or Flickr found in an email message and show a preview of them within Gmail. It will actually display a list of photos if several links are found.
5. Unread Message Icon
Normally if you keep your Gmail inbox tab open and are browsing on another tab, all you see is the read envelope icon next to the tab label. If you enable the Unread Message Icon Labs feature, it will also embed a small number indicating the number of unread messages in your Gmail account. This is helpful if you like to keep track of when new email arrives.
Keeping a close eye on newly released Gmail Labs features may just help you find a golden nugget that will dramatically help you in your email endeavors. Remember that Gmail Labs is actually a testing grounds for new features and that while many of the good features could be here to stay, others may not always work properly or may even eventually disappear.
Which Gmail Labs features do you find yourself using on a consistent basis?