Gmail is one of Google’s and the world's most widely accepted services, be it for business or personal use. LIke any sucessful venture Google has undertaken, the popularity of the service was soon followed by tons of useful suggestions coming in from users which including Google employees. So naturally to elevate the efficiency of this product, Google decided to implement these suggestions by building Gmail Labs. This system comprises of experimental features which can be altered or discarded by Google anytime. They don’t form a part of your standard feature set and can be enabled/disabled according to your preferences. However, a handful of features have graduated to become a part of your daily Gmail experience (Forgotten Attachment Detector, Superstars, Nested Labels, Advanced IMAP Controls and more).

Getting started with Gmail Labs is quite simple
Under settings on the right upper corner, you’ll find Mail settings which will take you to the 'Labs' tab. This section has a list of Gmail Labs features. You can enable any/all features with a single click and disable them when not required. Here are 10 of the features you might want to consider having active.

Undo Send:
We’ve all been through those regretful moments of clicking on the send button and then realizing that the mail has some error (or has something in it you might not have wanted to actully say). A word spoken can never be taken back but fortunately with Gmail, we don’t have to adhere to that saying. The Gmail Labs 'Undo Send' feature ensures that you quickly make up for the mistake with the Undo button. Once you hit on the Send button, you will notice an Undo option appearing above the Inbox. The button exists just for a few seconds from the time you hit Send but that sould be enough time for most users to prevent the messege ever leaving thier mailbox.

Instantly aborts the wrong message

Inbox preview:
This feature gives you a quick preview of the Inbox while your Gmail is still loading. This Labs feature definitely comes to the rescue of those with a slow Internet connection and who often wait for Gmail to load only to see no new emails. Needless to say, the inbox preview is made available each time you check mails.

View the inbox before Gmail loads

View the inbox before Gmail loads

Message Sneak Peek:
Message Sneak Peek feature closely follows the Inbox preview feature. As the name suggests, you get an instant preview of a message which helps determine whether it’s worth opening or not. It could be essential to users with a long list of messages. Place the cursor on a particular message and right-click to view a pop-up that shows the content that the email holds within. Besides, it offers options like archive and delete as well.

A quick sneak peek into messages

A quick sneak peek into messages

Mouse Gestures:
A single click and slight movement commands your mouse to swiftly navigate across the Gmail account. The enabled mouse gestures are simple. While reading a mail simply right-click and move the mouse towards the right side to check the next mail, left to reach the previous mail and upwards to return to the inbox. Likewise, in Inbox, right movement takes you to the next 100 mails while the left to previous 100 mails.

Shortcuts using the mouse

Shortcuts using the mouse

Send and Archive:
Replying to a thread and immediately archiving it is made possible with this feature. So, you don’t need to hit the archive option on every message after it has been sent. Once enabled, this feature shows a ‘Send and Archive’ button next to the Send button.

Canned Responses:
As Gmail states, ‘it is for the truly lazy.’ If there is a particular set of responses that you shoot out everyday then this feature simplifies your task. The Canned responses option is seen below your subject line. You can simply add, edit or delete a particular reply. Justifying truly lazy, users can even automatically send a set of emails by using filters.

Background Send:
We all want to multitask, don’t we? This multitasking feature ensures that you don’t have to wait until your mail has been sent rather you can move on to use other apps while the message is being send in the background. Those on a heavy dose of Gmail could find this feature fruitful.

Quick Links:
This Gmail Labs feature stacks your bookmarked URLs, frequently accessed messages and labels on the sidebar by adding a small box just like your Google Calendar box. All the links queue up in this section and are just a click away.

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts:
In addition to mouse gestures, you can also add keyboard shortcuts by enabling this option under Gmail Labs. All you need is simple clicks on the keyboard to execute commands like composing emails, replying to a email and so on. With Keyboard Shortcut settings (under settings), you can further personalize these shortcuts depending upon their preference.

A click away

A click away

Google Calendar Gadget:
This is a simple yet useful feature. On enabling it, you’ll find the Calendar gadget set on the left of the screen. This section keeps you updated and alerts about all upcoming events.

These features are quite handy and could help elevate the Gmail user experience. So, which one of these Gmail Labs features have you been using?

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