GMail ‘Experimental’ Features: Superstars & Quick Links

Few days ago, the developer folks over at GMail had introduced the GMail Labs – the experimentation hotbed for new features in GMail. They had introduced 13 new features wherein users can change the settings to enable/disable them and try them out on an experimental basis. Though I have not exactly been too much busy all this past few days, I somehow tried not to get too close to these experimental addons. I was trying out a little experiment of my own on GMail (involving CSS & Stylish; but that’s for another day, another post) and hence didn’t try’em out. Today, however I got a little free time and was on Safari, so had the chance to check out two of these new features….

GMail Superstars:
This add-on is nothing but the addition of a few more gif icons to the starred feature in GMail wherein messages can be starred so as to stand out prominently. Previously there was a plain ol’ yellow coloured star but now we’ve twelve more gifs which can be cycled through for starring a mail. User can select which gifs to use from the settings page by dragging the icons from/to the In use/Not in use selection:

Superstars   Used Superstars

  • Likes: Can differentiate between important mails, easier than coloured labelling.
  • Dislikes: None

GMail Quick Links:
Feature where a particular view can be added as a quick link or bookmarked within the mail interface itself. Again, an enhancement to already existing functionality. The UI has almost every link one needs to access a particular function, be it sent mail, archived mail, labelled mail or drafts. One has to be very imaginative in thinking up links that are not present by default but can be generated via search/filters and then add that view as a Quick Link. Some that I could think of and add were Today’s Mail & My Mail:

Quick Links

  • Likes: Customisability of views that can be accessed via several clicks, quick access to tedious views not present in UI, can use to view all mails with a particular type of attachment.
  • Dislikes: Cannot manually add the search/view path. In automation terminology, its record and save rather than script it!

Other features will be tried out later on…stay tuned!

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