If anyone of you have read my previous blog, Know Them Better!!, you would be able to spot the imprints of the motivation of writing this blog. Its about an amazing thing that Gmail does. It actually have a lab which is ready to try out crazy things. And when you reach Gmail’s Lab you will see this written very aptly at the very beginning “Gmail Labs is a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime. They may change,break or disappear at any time.” So, as you can guess these features or stuffs are not something that you can rely upon completely. But yeah they do work. Atleast my personal experience with most of the features till date has been good. To reach the page you have to first log in to your account and then click “Settings”. In the “Settings” page click on the link saying “Lab” (settings —> Lab). Lets now explore some of the features which I found exciting:
1. Offline Feature: This is an interesting feature which can come in handy when your internet connection is causing you trouble. All you have to do is go to the gmail lab and enable the offline feature and save the changes. This would make Gmail go where the Internet doesn’t. It helps you to access your inbox through your browser and use Gmail’s familiar features when you’re offline. Once you enable this lab feature you then click on the “Offline” link in the upper-right of your inbox as shown in the adjacent image.
2. Previews in mail: Then you have a set of options through which you can enable the previews of various sites and applications in your mail like Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, Yelp. Again the same steps you need to go to the page and enable the lab you want to use. If you enable the YouTube lab then it will show a video preview whenever you receive a YouTube link in an email. You can watch the video right inline!
Similarly if you enable the picasa lab then it will show photos previews whenever you receive a Picasa link in an email. For Yelp it will show previews of Yelp listings (rating, location, phone number, etc.) whenever you receive a Yelp link in an email. I found this one very useful as it enables me to view them inline, but yeah for having a better experience you need to visit the sites which is again only a click away from you.
3. Google Voice Player in mail: Many times you might have received notification mails from Google about the voice mails left by your friends. With this lab you can play these voicemails left on your Google Voice account right from the email notifications. Isn’t it amazing!! Try it!! As like previous labs all you need to do is to go the page and enable the lab.
4. Message Translation: You can say that this might act as a kind of bridge between you and your friend who speaks a different language which you don’t understand. I know English is there to bridge the gap. But many times it might be better to express your feelings in your own language. Isn’t it? So enable this lab. What it does for you is that it will use Google Translator to translate messages you receive in other languages. Happy interpreting whats in others mind!! Oops sorry I mean whats in others messages which were beyond your comprehension till now.
Apart from these there are a whole lot of other features which are very exciting. Like you have the “Quick Links” which adds a box to the left column that gives you one-click access to any bookmarkable URL in Gmail. You can use it for saving frequent searches, important individual messages, and more. Then there is the “Random Signature” which rotates among random quotations for your email signature. Making it really funky!!
Then you have the “Hide Unread Count” which helps you hide the unread count of your inbox, labels etc. You have the “Nav Bar Drag Drop” which enables you to reorder the items in your navigation bar using drag and drop.
Some of these are small utilities, some are fun stuffs, but one thing is common, all of them is exciting. So don’t wait its time to try your hands on experimentation. Oops!! I mean try your mails on experimentation would be more apt!!