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4 Gmail Labs You Need To Enable And Start Using Today

By Daisy HesseyComments

4 Gmail Labs you need to enable and start using today

With over 1 billion monthly active users and 15% of email client market share, Gmail is obviously doing something right!

The Gmail interface is clean, simple and easy to use, though sometimes seems to be missing that extra bit of functionality. That’s where labs come in. Labs are new or experimental features from Google which users can choose to enable  in the ‘settings’ of their inbox. 

The most popular labs, eventually become features of Gmail. There are currently 18 Gmail labs in total, and this post covers the 4 we’ve found most useful.

1. Undo Send

Whether it be clicking ‘reply’ instead of ‘reply all’, realising you’ve attached the wrong document or sent an email to the wrong person, we’ve all experienced at least one “Oh Shit” moment immediately after sending an email. This is then usually followed by a second email with an apology — which is not only a waste of your precious time, it can make you look careless.

There is a brilliant solution to prevent this called ‘Undo Send’. ‘Undo Send’ is a Google Lab which proves really handy at times when you may have clicked “send” too soon. This Gmail add-on delays the sending of messages for a few seconds after hitting the send button, giving you the option to ‘undo’.

To enable ‘Undo Send’ in Gmail:

  • Click the gear icon on the right side of your inbox and then ‘Settings’:

  • Choose ‘Labs’ from the row of tabs across the screen: 

  • Scroll down the page to ‘Undo Send’ and select the ‘Enable’ radio button:

  • Scroll down and Click ‘Save Changes’.

The default send cancellation time is 10 seconds, which should be more than sufficient. However, this can be easily adjusted to suit your preferences. To edit the time delay of ‘Undo Send’:

  • Click the gear icon on the right side of your inbox and then ‘Settings’.

  • Choose General from the row of tabs across the screen.

  • Scroll down to ‘Undo Send’. Send cancellation can be set to 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

  • Scroll down and Click ‘Save Changes’.

2. Unread Message Icon

Being keen to action and reply to emails as they come in is great. However, checking for new mail every 10 minutes can easily lead to you becoming a slave to your inbox, leaving you unable to fully concentrate on any other tasks. Ultimately, this can have a massive impact on your productivity.

We’ve read lots of blog posts on email productivity advising readers to only check their inbox once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In reality, with many people having emails coming in all the time, this isn’t really a viable solution. The ‘Unread Message Icon’ lab allows you to see how many unread messages are in your inbox with a quick glance at the favicon of the Gmail tab inside your browser. It is worth noting that, this lab only works with Chrome (version 6 and above), Firefox (version 2 and above) and Opera".

To enable 'Unread Message' in Gmail:

  • Click the gear icon on the right side of your inbox and then ‘Settings’.

  • Choose Labs from the row of tabs that will go across the screen.

  • Scroll down the page to ‘Unread Message Icon’ and select the ‘Enable’ radio button.

  • Scroll down and Click ‘Save Changes’.

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3. Mark As Read

Want to mark messages as ‘read’ without actually reading them? Too lazy to click on the ‘More’ menu to do this? Me too! Enable this lab and a ‘Mark as read’ button will appear when you select a message (or messages) in your inbox.

To enable this inside your Gmail:

  • Click the gear icon on the right side of your inbox and then ‘Settings’.

  • Choose Labs from the row of tabs that will go across the screen.

  • Scroll down the page to ‘Mark as Read Button’ and select the ‘Enable’ radio button.

  • Scroll down and Click ‘Save Changes’.

4. Preview Pane

If you’ve made the switch from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail, you may have found yourself missing the preview pane which allows you to see email messages at a glance inside your inbox.  Thankfully, Google developed the ‘‘Preview Pane’ lab to combat this. This widget works as you’d expect and splits your inbox in two, displaying a list of emails on the left and the preview window on the right. You can also change the way this is displayed from horizontal to vertical - with email the list on top and the preview on the bottom half of the screen.

To enable ‘Preview Pane’ in Gmail:

  • Click the gear icon on the right side of your inbox and then ‘Settings’.

  • Choose Labs from the row of tabs that will go across the screen.

  • Scroll down the page to ‘Preview Pane’ and select the ‘Enable’ radio button.

  • Scroll down and Click ‘Save Changes’.

Over to you

This blog post only touches the surface of what Google Labs has to offer. So, whether feeling all experimental or you’ve already dabbled in Labs - I’d love to hear from you! We are always looking to improve our efficiency with how we use technology at SupaReal so feel free to drop your own experiences, tips and questions in the comments box below.

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