In a first of it’s kind move, Google’s Gmail has announced the mass graduation and retiring of Labs features all in one swoop. Of the current roster of about 60 Gmail Labs test features, Google announced last night the graduation of six of those to full-blowing featurehood for Gmail users. Five others didn’t make the grade and are being retired.
The six features that made the cut and moved their tassels are:
- Search Autocomplete – simply fills in the Gmail search box automatically as you type, suggesting search terms based on your contacts, labels, and so forth; the same way Google search does.
- Go To Label – combined with Search Autocomplete, this new feature allows you to ad “gl:” or “label:” as an operator in your Gmail search box and search your labels for specific terms. So if you have a label titled “Gmail Info” and you use this operator to search “Gmail” it will auto-suggest “Gmail Info” and then return all of your emails with that label.
- Forgotten Attachment Detector – a surprisingly popular feature, this one scans your email as you draft it, looking for keywords like “attached” and “included” and alerts you if you haven’t attached anything to your email.
- YouTube Previews – an obvious feature that Gmail probably should have implemented as soon as they bought YouTube, this one embeds YouTube vids into your email whenever someone sends a link, so you can watch the vid directly from your Gmail inbox rather than having to click through.
- Custom Label Colors – simply allows users to color code labels with any of 4,000 color combinations to give you the ability to make every label different. For those of us who at least attempt to organize our Gmail inboxes, this is a life saver.
- Vacation Responder – lets you preset your vacation days on a calendar so that Gmail will automatically send vacation responses during that time period. So if you’ve already planned your big getaway for June 15-25, you can set that on your Gmail calendar and automatically set up an auto-response for that time period.
The five that were dropped were:
- Fixed Width Font
- E-mail Addict
- Location in Signature
- Random Signature
To find out about those dropped features, and which ones already have online petitions and calls for their return, check out Ian Paul’s roundup on PCWorld.
Overall, the new features are great and most Gmail users will probably find at least one or two of them useful. Those who try out stuff from Gmail Labs are likely to have already been using these features and are no doubt glad to see them made permanent.