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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Use New Google Labs features in Gmail

Google Labs

Google has now integrated Google Labs in Gmail. Google Labs allow you to test features which are under testing. At present, there are 12 experimental features available to enhance your email experience. You can enable or disable each of these features from Settings/Labs. Feel free to experiment with them, you may find some of them very handy for your particular needs. I have mentioned some more useful ones here with its applications.


You need to login to you gmail account. You will find Google Labs icon on the top. Clicking on it will take you to Google Labs settings. Here you can enable or disable any features. (you can also go to google labs though 'Settings'

Quick Links: It adds a box to the left column that gives you 1-click access to any bookmarkable URL in Gmail. You can use it for saving frequent searches, important individual messages, and more.

For example, you can add a link to a draft email where you keep your to do list, or an email with your frequent flyer information. You can also save a common Gmail search by conducting the search (let's say for "is:unread" -- which brings up all your unread mail) and then clicking "Add Quick Link." (You can rename the link so that you can identify the search or bookmark.) There are whole lot of possibilities with this feature. More you 'digg' it, more you will find creative ways to use it. I may add new 'How-To' article for this feature alone.

Super stars: It adds additional star icons. After enabling this feature, you can choose which icons you wish to use in the "General" Settings page. In order to use them, first you can set the order in 'general' settings. You can pick and add or remove from 'in use' or 'not in use'. Now, when you want to add star icons, click successively to rotate through order.

Superstars can be very useful. Instead of using just a yellow star, you can add colored stars, check marks, exclamation points, and question marks to help diversify the reasons for a message being 'starred'.

Email Addict - It lets you take a break from email and chat by blocking the screen for fifteen minutes and making you invisible in chat. This is great idea if you can't leave your PC even if you have to go to rest room. (I hope, I am not the only one.

It adds a new "Take a break" link to Gmail’s top right navigation strip. Clicking this link places a gray overlay on Gmail and sets your chat status to invisible, essentially locking you out of Gmail for 15 minutes. (If something truly important comes up and you need access to Gmail again, simply reloading the page gets rid of the Take a Break overlay.

Hide Unread Counts - It allows you to hide number of unread emails in your inbox. If you have many news letters or daily emails, you can avoid the embarrassment of not reading your emails by hiding the count or pressure of reading them all.

Signature tweaks - It places your signature before the quoted text in a reply, and removes the "--" line that appears before signatures. Can't use this and the "Random signature" Labs feature at the same time.

Random signature - It rotates among random quotations for your email signature. You can set different signatures in 'general' setting. You can't use this and the "Signature tweaks" Labs feature at the same time.

Custom date formats - It adds options to the general settings page allowing the date and time format to be changed independent of language. For example, you can use a 24-hour clock (14:57) or show dates with the day first (31/12/07).

Pictures in Chat - You can see your friends' profile pictures when you chat with them.

Fixed width font - It adds an option to the reply dropdown menu that lets you view a message in fixed width font.

Mouse gestures - You can use your mouse to navigate with gestures. Hold right-click and move the mouse left to go to a previous conversation, move it right to go to the next conversation, and move up to go back to the inbox view. Works best on Windows. (It may conflict with firefox features)

Muzzle - It conserves screen real estate by hiding your friends' status messages.

Old Snakey - Kick it old school with Old Snakey! Enable keyboard shortcuts and hit '&' from the main page to play a game of snake.

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