Monday, October 22, 2012

Tech Tip: Most Often Missed Gmail Labs

By Steve Chang, Google Apps Certified Deployment Engineer

Customization has always been in my blood from cars, sportbikes, and even PCs. It is a way to personalize something that you own to something that you enjoy. Sometimes when you are given something that is a very useful system like Google Apps for Business, you just want to personalize and squeeze out more performance. That is where you find Google Labs.

As you may know, Google engineers are encouraged to take 20 percent of their time to work on something company-related that interests them personally and that they are passionate about. Although Google Labs has stopped producing new products, many are still available for your Google Mail enjoyment. Here are my top 3 picks of Google Mail Labs currently available to customize your Google Mail accounts, so here we go.

#3: Canned Responses
Within communication in any industry, there has always been a time where you typed the same email over and over again making both the process and the material monotonous. At least with the Canned Responses lab, you reduce some of your time in tedium by building templates you can efficiently revise. This will allow you to build your emails quickly without the need of re-typing or copy/pasting repeatedly. Another great feature of this Lab is that you can create a filter that will use a Canned Response to auto-reply to emails with specific search criteria. Who wouldn’t want that?

#2: Insert Images
For a long time you could not add images in-line with text within an outgoing email and could only attach the file or photo to the email to download first before viewing. Enabling the insert images lab will add a little picture icon across the top of the Compose section that will allow you to embed images into your email. You can insert and attach from your PC or from an URL on a website. Now you can paste those funny Memes to your fellow co-workers quickly and make them readily viewable.

#1: Signature Tweaks
When you first compose your email after creating a Signature in your Email Settings, your signature shows up at the bottom of the email. When you reply to an email, though, your quoted text shows up above the Signature that you thoughtfully made. The recipient will need to scroll down to the bottom of the email in order to find your contact information or to just marvel at your creation. Signature Tweaks under Gmail Labs places the Signature above the Quoted text so that it will always show up to your recipients just below the new email or email response.

There are quite a few more Gmail Labs available in the list presented to you under your Email Settings > Labs tab in your Google Mail account. So what are you waiting for? Go on and enable some Gmail Labs for yourself.