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Optimize Your Gmail Experience with Google Labs

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Gmail is one of the most widely used email services worldwide. Used for both business and personal accounts, Gmail is known for being simple, organized and efficient.

It is no question as to how it’s gained its popularity — the platform has ample storage and a fast user interface, and offers a free sign-up. While most people know how to use Gmail for sending and receiving emails as well as the occasional Google Chat conversation, it’s questionable as to whether or not we are using Gmail to its full potential. There are so many ways to enhance your experience in Gmail, from tools that will help you stay organized and efficient to hidden features that you’ll find yourself using time and time again.


One big feature that Gmail has rolled out is the use of “Labs.”

laboratory image via shutterstock

Labs allow users to try out new experimental features in Gmail. One thing to keep in mind is that some Labs will not always be permanent, depending on their popularity or benefits to Gmail users. They may also change, break or disappear at any time. On the other hand, they may do so well that they move on to become permanent features. You can access, search for and enable Labs in your settings section. These labs are pretty neat. Here are just few that can make your Gmail experience even more awesome.

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Stop the outgoing:

Shoot. You sent an email without reading it over, and you know you made at least three typos. Well. That’s it. There’s no turning back. But is there? With Gmail, of course there is! We all make mistakes, and I am sure we have all clicked “Send” just a second too soon. The “Undo Send” feature found under settings and then “Labs” lets you go back in time with your sent messages. Be careful, though. You only have about 10 seconds before the message is officially sent.

What time is it?:

Why is that client in Hong Kong not responding to your emails in a timely fashion? That’s the answer right there: time. While it’s the afternoon where you are, it might be 3 o’clock in the morning for your recipient. Not to worry. Gmail offers a feature to eliminate this problem indefinitely. To know the difference in time zones for both parties, simple enable the “Sender Time Zone” feature. Under settings, click on Labs. Now when you select “Show Details” in an email, you will see both the time you sent the email and what time it is in your recipient’s location.

Labels and filters:

While most of us are using labels to keep our emails organized, the real question is whether or not we are filtering them. First, let’s recap labels real quick. Under Settings, click Labels. This takes the place of the usual “file folders” seen in Outlook and most Web-based mail servers. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the default labels that Gmail has generated for you. These include notes, personal, receipts and travel. From here you can add any label you wish (work, family, school, jokes), and sort your emails accordingly. That is where filtering comes in. Gmail created a great step-by-step process to help its users use filters properly and for the best benefit. Check it out!

In a flurry of communication and projects, your Gmail account can easily become cluttered and, ultimately, difficult to manage. This is just a snippet of how Gmail can be used for more than just reading mail. You can get the most of your Gmail experience by taking advantage of everything it has to offer. Spend some time perusing the Labs section of the mail service and play around until you find the methods that work best for you.