Ten Gmail Labs Features You Should Enable

Gmail has been slowly but surely rolling out cool new features ever since they started Gmail Labs. If you haven’t taken advantage of the fruits of Labs, here’s a look at 10 Labs features you should enable.

Offline Gmail

Probably the most significant feature you can get out of Labs, Offline Gmail takes advantage of Google Gears to turn Gmail into an offline email client. You can search most of your messages, draft new messages, and do pretty much everything you can do with Gmail while you’re connected to the internet. Gmail automatically detects whether you’re connected or not to keep your offline and online Gmail in sync. (Read more)

Multiple Inboxes

Got a widescreen monitor and a lot of filters and labels you want to keep an eye on? When enabled, Multiple Inboxes displays up to eight different searches or labels next to your inbox for a king-sized dashboard of your email activity. (Read more)


Google has taken a lot of guff for not creating a to-do list app to round out their productivity suite of apps. Tasks may not be a full-fledged app (yet), but it’s a great start. You can even turn an email into a task with a simple Shift+t keyboard shortcut. Once set up, you can add tasks to your Firefox sidebar and access it from your cell phone and iGoogle. (Read more)

Go to label

Gmail has all kinds of great keyboard shortcuts, including combo keys that take you to your inbox (‘g’ then ‘i’), starred mail (‘g’ then ‘s’), and more. With Go to label enabled, you can quickly navigate between labels from your keyboard in a similar manner. Simply type ‘g’ (Go), ‘l’ (Label), and then start typing the name of the label you want to go to. Go to label will autocomplete the label, so chances are you’ll be there in a couple of keystrokes. Go to label also works with the next Labs feature, Quick Links.

Quick Links

Quick Links adds a new sidebar to Gmail just below your labels. When enabled, Quick Links can be used to bookmark anything in Gmail, from a common search to a specific email. It’s an incredible way to set up quick access to common searches without setting up a filter and label.


By default, Gmail ships with one yellow star to help you better keep track of and call out important emails. With Superstars enabled, you’ve got a whopping 12 different icons to choose from. You can even search for different superstar types specifically—especially handy if you want to set up some Quick Links with your Superstars!

Canned Responses

Do a lot of repetitive typing, do you? With Canned Responses, you can set up canned replies so you can quickly and easily fire off that same old reply without succumbing to the pains of RSI. Your hands will thank you. (If you’re really serious about canned responses, check out Texter [Windows], TextExpander [Mac], or Snippits [Linux]).

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

Love keyboard shortcuts but never quite got the hang of the layout of Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts? With Custom Keyboard Shortcuts enabled, you can customize any of Gmail’s default shortcuts to your liking. Handy!

Forgotten Attachment Detector

Save yourself the embarrassment of the second whoops-I-forgot! email with the Forgotten Attachment Detector. It scans your email to determine whether or not you had meant to attach a file and alerts you if an attachment is missing.

Pictures in Chat

The Pictures in Chat feature does exactly what it sounds like: adds user icons to your Gmail Chat window. This one won’t boost your productivity all that much, but it’s a nice little tweak.

Gmail has tons more great labs features not mentioned here, so if we didn’t cover a favorite of yours, give it the airtime it deserves in the comments.

Google Redesigned Updates, Adds GReader Redesigned

The crafty skinners at Globex Designs have officially released Google Redesigned 0.2, a Firefox extension that gives a whole-cloth new look to Gmail, Google Calendar, and, new to this release, Google Reader.

Here’s a look at each of the sites that gets skinned under the Redesigned extension (click for the even-bigger view):

Google Reader Redesigned:

Gmail Redesigned:

Google Calendar Redesigned:

Here’s what the folks at Globex, possibly headquartered in Cypress Creek, have to say about what’s new in 0.2:

  • NEW STYLE! GReader Redesigned
  • Support for Mozilla Prism
  • Extension options dialog support
  • Support For Status Bar Icon Hide (activated in the add-on options dialog)
  • Optimized update system
  • Localization support for Bosnian, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish languages
  • Code optimization

Users with Google Redesigned already installed should see an update ping the next time they launch, but can also manually grab the newest skins by right-clicking the Google Redesigned tray icon and choosing “Check for Style Updates.”

Wish another Google Product got the Redesigned treatment? Tell us about it in the comments, or at Globex Designs’ forums. Thanks Hanchen!