You’ve got (G)Mail

By OctaneGo, August 3, 2011 | Tips & Resources

Like most Google products, this one too was a real market share winner. If we were to ask you to guess which Google product do you use most often after search, the answer would undoubtedly have to be – Gmail. Google mail or Gmail as it is now popularly known was launched as an answer to years of domination of the email segment by Microsoft and Yahoo. And it was actually the result of the “20% time” that Google employees get to work on projects which interest them apart from the regular work that they do.

Gmail has gone from strength to strength as Google rolls out new features every few months. As Google says, Gmail is built on the idea that email can be more intuitive, efficient, and useful. And maybe even fun. Google has been quick on its feet with Gmail lately – it has been releasing new features at an unimaginable pace. These days it is possible for one to watch YouTube videos within Gmail, undo sent messages, and also insert images right into your email. These are all useful and wonderful features…only if you have turned them on in Gmail Labs. If you are wondering what exactly is Gmail Labs, well as the name says- it is the Gmail version of Google Labs, and has several dozen features to offer from location-based signatures to multiple inboxes – these features can take your Gmail experience to the next level. However, the irony is that many people don’t know about Gmail Labs or haven’t taken out the time to review all of the features. Fear not, we at Octane will take out some time from our busy lives and use this post to tell you about a lot of cool facts about Gmail and some tips & tricks that you might have never even heard of.

  • Undo send an email –
    Undo send what? Reading that line again? Yes you read it right. You can actually undo send an email, but obviously there is a catch to it. It’s a lesser-known feature, but Google just made it even better than it was before. When it first launched, you were given a 5-second window during which you could hit “undo”. Now that’s up to 30 seconds, which we think is pretty neat and could avoid a lot of embarrassment if you ever mixed up recipients. If you thought why don’t most people even know about such a feature, that is because the feature is mostly hidden and can be found only in labs, which also means that’s in the testing phase.
  • Gmail was upgraded from beta status only on July 7, 2009, along with the rest of the Google Appssuite. All this while, ever since its launch Gmail was being tweaked by its engineers and had the wonderful BETA suffix attached to it.
  • Gmail took the email storage battle to new heights and offered an initial storage of 1GB per user while Hotmail and Yahoo were stuck at offering single digit storage in megabytes. And if you notice carefully, they say that Gmail storage is forever increasing. How Google manages to do that till date is still a mystery.
  • Gmail Motion was nothing but an April Fools prank intended to make people imagine the unthinkable that email could actually be controlled by the movement of their hands.
  • Although technically you only have one Gmail address, you can create as many variations of it as you wish to help manage your incoming mail.You can do this by adding a word after your name with a plus sign (if the site you’re entering the address into allows it). So, yourname+newsletters@gmail.com, yourname+shopping@gmail.com, and so on.
  • Useful for prioritizing replies if nothing else, there’s a setting in Gmail that will enable you to see if a message has been sent just to you, or a mailing list. No arrows will show if the message was sent to a mailing list, “>” shows up when the message was sent to you and others, and “>>” indicates the message was sent to just you.
  • While Gmail’s keyword search works well enough for basic queries, there are some advanced options that can help refine your process. For example, entering to:me is:unread in:inbox will bring up any unread mails in your inbox. Entering has:attachment will show you a list of e-mails with files attached, and after: 20/08/2010 before: 25/08/2010 will offer up a list of messages from that specific time period. You can view the major search operators over at the Gmail support site — it’s well worth memorizing a few.
  • If you haven’t noticed already, Gmail like most other Google online suites has a new look, which is very simple and clean, and a welcome refresher from the interface we all got used to.
  • You don’t need to log in separately into your Google+ account or download GTalk or Google Voice either. You can do it all from the comfort of your inbox. Isn’t that cool?
  • If you are a frequent Gmail user, we suggest you get hold of Gmail shortcut stickers. They are these colorful stickers that you place on your keyboard and they let you operate Gmail in a jiffy. We aren’t sure if they are up for sale online or elsewhere, but if you do know someone who works at Google, ask him/her to get you a set. :)
  • Snooze an email
    Now this isn’t similar to undo send an email, but rather as the name suggests snoozes an email. Still not clear what exactly does it imply, well with a bit of code (that Google will provide) it allows you to archive an email for now, but you can have it automatically reappear in the inbox at some specified time in the future.

Well we could go on and on about Gmail tips and tricks, but the fact of the matter is that there are way too many to cover in one post, there are better links out there on the Internet too. But we just thought of bringing you some of the tips, tricks and facts that we thought were interesting and you might not have heard of them. Also another blog only on Gmail would make us seem like evangelists for Google, which we are not. So this is all for now folks. Oh and by the way if you haven’t noticed, Gmail has launched an intervention campaign to help your friends who might be using other email clients to switch to Gmail. Now that’s intelligent marketing.

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