Extending Gmail with Google Labs

Gmail offers a number of features that allow you to customize your experience, and I’ve blogged about some of those already – such as adding a preview pane (like Outlook) and creating rules to filter incoming messages – but I haven’t yet written about the wonder that is (are?) Gmail Labs.  

What are Gmail Labs? 

Have you ever wanted to be able to automate replies that you send on a regular basis?  Automatically filter out bulk emails?  Add your calendar to your Gmail interface?  These and many more features are available within Gmail Labs, and can be enabled for any ICCSD account.  

How to Enable Labs

You can check out the full list of available labs – new options are added intermittently – by following these steps: 

  1. Click the Settings gear at the top right corner of your Gmail window, and then click “Settings”
  2. Click the “Labs” link toward the top of the settings window
  3. On the labs page, check the “Enable” button for any labs you’d like to add, and then click the “Save Changes” button toward the top of that window.  You can always go back to this page to disable any labs that don’t work out for you.  

My Enabled Labs

Right now, I’m using the “Custom Keyboard Shortcuts”, “Preview-Pane”, “Right-Side Chat”, and “Unread Message Icon” labs, and have also used various others over time.  I’d bet that most of the readers of this blog can find labs that are useful to you!