In June 2008, Google introduced Gmail Labs, which was their way of allowing Gmail users to try out new features before they are fully integrated into Gmail. If you wanted to use some of these experimental features, all you had to do was enable it in a new Labs tab in the Settings page. For example, some Labs features allow you to preview Yelp listings, create custom keyboard shortcuts, and search Google within the Gmail interface. There are over two dozen available Labs features for anyone to use, and enabling them requires only a simple click of a button. Here are 8 killer Labs features to get the most out of Gmail.
- Inserting Images
- Mark as Read Button
- Multiple Inboxes
- Nested Labels
- Pictures in Chat
- Refresh POP Accounts
- Signature Tweaks
- Undo Send
With this feature enabled, you can easily insert images into your emails. All you have to do is either upload an image from your computer or from a URL. Sure beats attaching images and referencing them by name, eh?
Rather than clicking ‘More Actions’ so that you can mark a selected email as being read, all you need to do now is click a single ‘Mark as Read’ button. It may not seem like much but each click can quickly eat away more of your time than necessary.
For those who seek some organization managing their email, Multiple Inboxes will provide just that. For example, if you import your email messages from a school or work email address, you can create separate inboxes for each one. Of course, you can always create a filter which labels particular incoming messages. Another great way to use this feature is to configure separate threads based on search queries. It can be your starred messages, all unread messages, or labels. Simply go to your Settings to configure this feature to your liking. To learn more about how to advanced search operators in Gmail, read this article.
Using labels to organize your email is a great way to visually sort through your Gmail inbox. If you happen to use a lot of labels, however, things can quickly become difficult to manage. Using Nested Labels, you can easily organize related labels to represent their inheritance by adding slashes (/). For example, if you want a School label with the child labels, Math and English, create the following labels: School, School/Math, and School/English.
You can’t get enough of your friends’ faces when you chat with them, right? Or maybe you can’t get enough of your own face. Either way, this feature will allow you to see your friends’ faces and yours when you chat with them.
Fetch messages from your POP accounts on demand by using the refresh link on top of the inbox. Sorry, but simply clicking the refresh button on your browser bar isn’t the same thing.
Don’t you hate it when you reply to an email and your signature is appended at the very bottom of the quoted message? I know I do. That signature took years to perfect! Seriously!
With this feature enabled, your Gmail signature will be placed before the quoted text in a reply and removes the “–” that appears before signatures.
Son of a b!@$%! I just sent an email for a job and forgot to attach my cover letter and résumé!
Does this happen to you a lot? With Undo Send, you get to experience the closest thing to a time machine and easily correct your mistake. When this feature was first introduced in March 2009, it only allowed users 5 seconds to recall a sent message. Now, the feature has been improved and allows you to increase the time to 30 seconds. This feature only works because it delays an email message from being sent. So, if you want to send something as soon as possible, realize that the message won’t be delivered until the time allotted has expired.
If Undo Send doesn’t suit you, maybe Boomerang for Gmail will.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a Undo Publish button for blogs? Now, that would be sweet.
Image by Robert Llefi