Gmail Labs have been the playground of “mad Google scientists” for over a year and a half now – they churn out new and experimental additions to Gmail one after another and users can opt to use that new functionality at their own risk.
Google Labs has seen anything from the game Snake to the Forgotten Attachment Detector (an actually useful feature). Six of these features are graduating – being included into the default Gmail feature set, while five others are being retired.
The six that made the cut are:
- Search Autocomplete (auto complete for the Gmail’s search box)
- Go To Label (keyboard shortcuts for label searching)
- Forgotten Attachment Detector (warns you if your email says you’ve attached a file but there isn’t one)
- YouTube Previews (lets you watch linked YouTube videos straight from the inbox)
- Custom Label Colors (organizes labels by assigning a color to each label)
- Vacation Dates (automatically turns on the vacation responder for a preset time period)
Or in pictures:
Four of the graduating Gmail Labs features
And here are the ones that are going to the Gmail Labs retirement home:
- Muzzle (hides the status message of your contacts in Gmail chat)
- Fixed Width Font (lets you view the message with a fixed width font, good for ASCI art, I suppose)
- Email Addict (locks you out of Gmail for 15 minutes)
- Location in Signature (appends your location to your signature)
- Random Signature (random famous quote as signature)
The retired features will disappear from Gmail Labs in a few days, but there are plenty of others waiting for their chance to graduate.
If you want to check out features that are still experimental go to Settings -> Labs in your Gmail. There are some interesting looking features there, like “Undo send” and “Don’t Forget Bob” (like the Forgotten Attachment Detector but checks for forgotten recipients). If they get popular enough, maybe one day they’ll graduate too.