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I used to have a problem. People would ask me questions, over chat or email, and I'd have to leave Gmail to search Google for an answer. Then I'd have to select the answer, copy it, go back to Gmail and paste the answer into the chat window or my reply. Sometimes I'd get distracted and forget to go back to Gmail, and I'd have to go through it all again when I remembered what I'd been doing.

With the new Google Search experiment in Gmail Labs, my problem is solved. When you turn this feature on from the Labs tab under Settings, you'll see a new search box on the left side of your inbox, like this:


Type your search in, and a window (like a chat window, but a bit bigger) appears at the bottom of your screen with the first few search results.


You can click on a search result and it'll open up in another window (or another tab) so you can make sure it's what you're looking for. Once you're sure it's a result you need, moving your mouse over the result back in Gmail reveals a pull-down menu that lets you do stuff with the search result.

What's in the menu depends on what you're doing in Gmail:
  • If you're reading a message, you can start a reply to the message with the search result as the first thing in your reply.
  • If you're writing a message, you can paste the result, or just the URL into your message.
  • If you're chatting with someone, you can send the result via chat.
  • You can also always compose a new message to send the search result.
If you have keyboard shortcuts turned on, typing g and then / will take you to the search box when you're not composing, and Ctrl + g will do it when you're composing (that's + g for Mac users).

Like all things in Gmail Labs, we're going to be tinkering with it, so let us know what you think.

Oh, and one other thing: with all the stuff we've been adding to Gmail Labs lately, the left side of your account might be getting crowded. A lot of the people who've been playing with this new feature have found it useful to turn on "Navbar drag and drop" in Labs so they can move the web search box up to the top where it's easy to get to.

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For a short period of time after launching emoticons for mail, we believed we had successfully captured the entirety of human expression in 19 faces (we're still debating whether the robot face counts), important representatives of the animal kingdom such as and , emoticons for both love () and heartbreak (), and, well, a pile of .

But soon a growing feeling of dread overcame the group . How could we have included a but not a cat? What if I want wine rather than ?

And thus was born a new Labs feature: extra emoji, the colorfully animated brainchild of our team in Japan. Simply go to the Labs tab under Settings, enable "Extra Emoji," and have that glass of you've been dreaming about. Ask your in-laws about the fluffiness factor of their pet . Become a meteorologist and start predicting . Dance like you mean it . Then let us know what you think.

(If you're wondering how we had time to create another couple hundred emoticons when we're busy doing important stuff like rewriting Gmail for mobile and making Gmail work offline, the answer is: we didn't. All of these extra emoticons are straight from the secret underground labs of some of the top Japanese mobile carriers, used with permission. Thanks guys!)

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A few months ago, we added fast online viewing of PDFs in your browser. As of today, that same viewer now supports TIFF and Microsoft PowerPoint document formats too: you can now view TIFF and PPT files online, directly in your browser, without having to save the files to your computer and without needing to buy, install, or wait for any special software to start up.

We've had a "View as slideshow" option for PowerPoint files for a while; now we've integrated this conversion technology into the same viewer that we use for PDFs and TIFFs.


This viewer provides a richer set of features than the old "View as slideshow" version: you can zoom in and out, select text to copy and paste, and "print" the presentation to a PDF document. And, unlike the old version, we no longer require you to have a Flash plugin installed on your browser.


I don't know about you, but the TIFF files I receive are almost always multiple-page faxes -- and the default TIFF viewer on my computer only shows me the first page. It's quite frustrating. On the other hand, our online viewer, powered by Google Docs, will show you every page and give you the option to "print" the TIFF by opening it as a ready-to-print PDF.

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Have you ever realized you mistakenly left someone important out of an email, or just spent too much time trying to decide who from your long list of contacts to include? Well, some of us on the Gmail team feel your pain, so we wrote a new Gmail Labs feature called "Suggest more recipients."

Once you've enabled it from the Labs tab under Settings, you'll see suggested recipients while composing messages. Gmail will suggest people you might want to include based on the groups of people you email most often. So if you always email your mom, dad, and sister together, and you start composing a message to your mom and dad, Gmail will suggest adding your sister. Enter at least two recipients and any suggestions will show up like this:


Click on a suggested name, and they'll get added to your email.

Hopefully having lots of friends and co-workers just got a bit less onerous for you. (Oh, the burden of popularity!) Enjoy, and as usual, please let us know what you think.

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Well, it's about time. You no longer have to use workarounds to put images into your messages or attach images when you really want to inline them. Just turn on "Inserting images" from the Labs tab under Settings, and you'll see a new toolbar icon like this:



Make sure you're in rich formatting mode, or it won't show up. Click the little image icon, and you can insert images in two ways: by uploading image files from your computer or providing image URLs.

Keep in mind that Gmail doesn't show URL-based images in messages by default to protect you from spammers, so if you're sending mail to other Gmail users, they'll still have to click "Display images below" or "Always display images from ..." to see images you embed.

Got feedback on inserting images? Send it our way.

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Let's say your girlfriend sends you an angry email. It's mostly about how you behaved at the party last night and then left for a business trip without saying goodbye. You read it from the other side of the globe, jet-lagged after a 12 hour flight. You want to call and sort things out, but forget that it's now almost 3:00 am her time. After waking her up, things only get worse.

There's a new feature in Gmail Labs called Sender Time Zone that can help. Turn it on from the Labs tab under Settings, and you'll see green phone icons next to people who are probably awake and readily reachable (if it's between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm in the sender's local time zone) and red ones next to those who could be sleeping or out of the office:



Click "show details" and you can see when a message was sent in the sender's time zone as well as what time it is for them now:



Message headers always include the time sent and often include time zone info too. We use that information to show you these icons. If the time zone isn't included for a given message, this Labs feature won't display anything. Try it out and tell us what you think.

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Today we're introducing a major revision to Gmail for mobile that takes advantage of the latest browser technology available on iPhone and Android devices. We've updated the user interface, made it faster to open messages, allowed for batch actions (like archiving multiple messages at once), and added some basic offline support

Despite the advent of 3G networks and wifi, smartphones still lack a high-speed, always-on broadband connection and can have connections far less reliable than their desktop brethren. So, just like when we redesigned the Gmail for mobile client app last October, we've gone back to the drawing board and redesigned Gmail for the mobile browser to overcome some of these limitations. We made performance more consistent, regardless of connection type, and laid the foundation for future improvements.

Now, when you go to gmail.com from your iPhone or Android browser, archiving email is quicker because it doesn't require a response from a remote server. Instead, we cache mail on the device itself (using database storage on the iPhone and a device-local mobile Gears database on Android-powered phones). Actions like archiving or starring messages are first applied to this cache and then sent to Gmail servers in the background whenever a network connection is available. You only have to wait for a response from the server when you're requesting an uncached message or list of messages. As a result, you can start-up Gmail even if you're on a slow connection. You can even compose mail and open recently read messages while offline.

We made extensive use of other browser functions too: for example, the floaty bar that lets you archive, delete or apply more actions is animated via CSS transformations and controlled in part with touch events (when you scroll the screen, it follows you).


The HTML5 canvas tag is used to render the progress spinner without the overhead of downloading animated GIFs to the device. Now that we've developed a framework for the new Gmail for mobile, we're planning a whole lot more: faster performance, improved offline operation, new functionality, and interface enhancements that take advantage of the unique properties of smartphones.

To try this new version of Gmail for mobile, just go to gmail.com from your mobile browser. It's currently available on any Android-powered devices or iPhone OS 2.2.1 or higher. For now, the new version is available in English only. We'll be rolling this version out to everyone over the course of the day, so if you don't see the updated user interface yet (you'll know you have it when you see that floaty bar), check back soon. For easy access, we recommend creating a homescreen link.

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Five years ago yesterday, Gmail starting giving people a gig. What started as an internal tool for Google employees is now used by tens of millions of people around the world in 52 languages.

In honor of the occasion, you may have noticed a little cake on the Gmail homepage today.
Gmail 5th birthday cake

We wanted to put it there yesterday, but given that Gmail launched on April Fool's day 2004 and has a history of joking around on April 1st since then, we did something else instead.

In all seriousness, we want to give a big thank you to all of you who use Gmail every day, to those who've been around since the beginning, to those who were using an AJAX app before the term AJAX was popular, to those who started chatting right in your email and then video chatting a couple years later, to those who changed your theme on day one, and to those who have turned on some of the 43 experimental Gmail Labs features (and put up with the occasional bugs they introduce)...we couldn't have gotten here without you. Thanks.

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On the Gmail team, we believe finding the right email among thousands of messages can be as important as finding the right web page across the billions of web pages out there. So with the aim of making search in Gmail easier, we built a new experimental feature in Gmail Labs: Search Autocomplete.

Turn on Search Autocomplete from the Labs tab under Gmail Settings, and you'll get suggestions as you type in the search box. One of the most popular searches in Gmail is for names or email addresses, so the first kind of suggestions you'll see are contacts. Some names are not easy to remember (my last name is an excellent example!) — with this new Labs feature you can just type a couple letters and select the desired contact from the drop down list. Easy and quick as that.



Gmail also offers a bunch of advanced search operators, which provide a powerful way to find that one message you have in mind. You can search in specific places (e.g. in chats or sent items), or search for messages with attachments of a certain type (e.g. docs or photos). Suppose I want to search for photos that were sent to me by my friend Chris. Normally, I would have to enter Chris' email address followed by filename:(jpg OR png), which I gladly admit is even a bit too geeky for me. With Search Autocomplete, I can just type "photos" or "pictures," select "has photos" from the drop down list (as in the screenshot below), and the search query (filename:(jpg OR png)) gets inserted for me. Similarly, you can type in the word "attachment" and Search Autocomplete will list the most common attachment types for you.



One of the reasons we still show you the geeky search query is to allow you to adapt it to your needs. For example, if you'd like to include tiff files in your search result, you can adapt the query manually to filename:(jpg OR png OR tiff).

That's it for now. Play around and make sure to use the time that you save on searching to let us know what you think.