Google’s Gmail Labs is a “playground where [Google’s] engineers can come up with new features”, and ultimately, by using user feedback and usage statistics, bring these new features to standard Gmail, in a process called “graduation” from Labs (read more about Gmail Labs here). Since it began 18 months ago, Gmail Labs has been bouncing fresh functionalities off guinea pig users, and true to its raison d’être, has graduated 2 new features (Tasks and Offline Gmail) in the period, and retired (meaning removed from Labs) 1 feature (Right-side Labels). Google announced on Wednesday, that it will soon be graduating 6 features that were well-liked from the Labs soon, while retiring 5 others.
Here’s the list of features that will be graduating:
- Search Autocomplete – Provides improved and intuitive search functionality at the search box, making it simpler to find exactly what you are looking for, everything from subject lines to contacts and advanced search operators.
- Go To Label – Integrated into the search box as well, all you need to do is to type “g” and “l” which will be auto-corrected to “label:”, and combined with Search Autocomplete, will take you to your label as soon as you begin typing its name, and press enter.
- Forgotten Attachment Detector – Truly useful, this feature automatically scans your mail body, looking for phrases that suggest you have attached a file (e.g., “I’ve attached”), & then ask you “Did you mean to attach files?” before sending the mail. A lifesaver if you forgot to attach anything!
- YouTube Previews – Lets you view (called preview due to reduced video size) YouTube links in the mail body, without needing to click on the links to visit YouTube and see the video there. Saves a lot of time, and lets you stay exactly where you want to be, in you new-and-improved mailbox!
- Custom Label Colours – Now you can choose from over 4000 custom colour combinations, giving real life and vibrancy to your Gmail interface, while helping you categorize your labels at the same time!
- Vacation Dates – Just specify the dates you’ll be ‘out of touch’ or ‘away’ in advance and Google with automatically send the message you have written (in advance), without you having to turn the Vacation Responder ‘on’ or ‘off’ before you leave for wherever it is you have to go.
The 5 features that will be retired, or removed from Gmail Labs, are: Muzzle, Fixed Width Font, Email Addict, Location in Signature, and Random Signature.