The one GMail tweak you've really been waiting for

GMail SoapOur love for GMail may be unconditional, but when pressed, there are some things we'd begrudgingly admit we'd like to change. We'd like to be able to delete messages without deleting conversations, we'd like a little more flexibility when assigning star s, and we'd very definitely like our signature to appear at the top of replies instead of the bottom. (Who thought that was a good idea?!?)

Well, the 66% Genie has arrived and granted two of our three wishes as well as some things that others may have been wishing for as well. Google has release the GMail Labs version of GMail. If you'd like to turn your tried and true Chevy Impala of a GMail into the Mars Rover, you go into settings, click on the new labs tab and then enable the new features you are willing to experiment with. The GMail team cautions that features may break or disappear at any time, but that you won't be left in the lurch. You should be able to go into the labs tab at any time and opt out of your experimental test subject status returning to the known stable version of GMail.

Notable new GMail features available from GMail Labs:
  • Quick Links - Adds a box to the left column that gives you 1-click access to any bookmarkable URL in Gmail.

  • Superstars - Adds additional star icons.

  • Fixed width font - Adds an option to the reply dropdown menu that lets you view a message in fixed width font.

  • Custom keyboard shortcuts - Lets you customize keyboard shortcut mappings.

  • Mouse gestures - Use your mouse to navigate with gestures. Sounds cool.

  • Signature tweaks - Places your signature before the quoted text in a reply, and removes the "--" line that appears before signatures. Hooray!

  • Old Snakey - play a game of snake. Huh?

  • Hide Unread Counts - Hides the unread counts

So what was the one change we really, really wanted? The signature tweak. I never have understood why GMail put my signature below the original senders text. Now It's back where it belongs.

qv: Gmail Labs

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.