Gmail Becomes a Powerhouse with Google Gadgets

Gmail Labs has been seeing a great number of new additions lately and I will writing up about some of the best ones in there shortly.

Right now, we’ll look at a couple of shiny new Gmail Labs additions today. If you are unaware of Gmail Labs, it’s in your Gmail account already. You will find it before the settings tab and you can scroll through the list of extra features and enable the ones you want.

So far, Gmail Labs was adding features based on feature request from users. Now, they have taken it to the next level and added support for Google Gadgets in Gmail sidebar.

Google Gadgets in Gmail Sidebar

I have to throw a word of caution that this feature isn’t exactly user friendly at the moment but more aimed at developers. The reason is to add a Google Gadget to the Gmail sidebar, you need to be able to find it’s XML spec file and add the gadget with it.

For eg. the YouTube gadget could be added via it’s XML spec file –

Google Docs & Calendar in Gmail Sidebar

As an extension of this feature, Google has already released a Google Calendar & Google Docs gadgets for Gmail sidebar.

Google Docs gadget lets you quickly view a list of docs and even give you quick links to create new documents or go to the ones you already have. You filter this view, by starred, owned by you or all docs. Indeed you can search across all your documents right from your Gmail. Perfect for the road warriors using Google for everything.

Google Calendar gadget shows events in your calendar and lets you quick add tasks.

My $0.02

The 2 new gadgets are kind of locked to the left side of the Gmail. This might not be so user friendly and might lead to scrolling down a lot to see gadgets. You could free up some real estate on the left by opting to use right-side Labels and right side chat features in Gmail Labs. Another one you could use is the Navbar drag and drop which lets you move the gadgets up and down to re-arrange them as you like. But, it doesn’t let you move stuff from left side to right side or vice versa.

I am in Gmail all the time and these little features are really making Gmail a powerhouse for me and lets me get to their other services quickly and seamlessly. I am already using a ton of useful Gmail Greasemonkey scripts, custom Gmail looks, Gmail html signatures, etc for additional functionality and Gmail Labs has taken it to the next level.

What are your favorite Gmail labs features?

Update: 01/28/09

Here are a couple of Google Gadgets I use in my Gmail sidebar almost daily now:

Remember the Milk Gadget

(if that doesn’t work try – – Updated 5/29/09 URL Shortener

[via Official Gmail Blog]

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9 Responses to “Gmail Becomes a Powerhouse with Google Gadgets”

  1. Caroline@no debit card loans October 29, 2008 at 4:42 am #

    Apparently Google and Microsoft are in a battle to dominate the “cloud” or so it said on the news last night. Online apps and storing data online is going to be the new thing.

  2. JR @ Cheap Laptop Computers October 29, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    I love the calendar especially when working online, I can organize my daily tasks and goals with ease.

  3. Kevin@Great Wall of China Facts October 30, 2008 at 9:38 pm #

    The calander feature looks really cool. I am thinking about switching from yahoo to gmail.

  4. MOin October 31, 2008 at 2:44 am #

    really nice gmail is becoming more and more useful day by day i am looking into it. thanks for update or i would’ve never noticed the change.

    MOins last blog post..15 Most Useful and Best Portable Apps

  5. cat November 3, 2008 at 11:09 am #

    I have already switched to gmail and advice everybody to do the same

  6. Aaron@HR Software November 5, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    This is great. It will add more support for things like remember the milk!

    Aarons last blog post..November is National Flu Awareness Month

  7. Ajijic Vacation Rentals Mexico November 6, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    Glad to see that Gmail Labs keeps enhancing their offering.

    Right now, I’m a very low level user. Do you have a recommendation for tutorials for the newbie to come up to speed?

    Lovin Life in Ajijic, Mexico,

    Joel Smith
    Casa Preciosa, Ajijic, Mexico

  8. John Edwards November 7, 2008 at 1:19 pm #

    “I have already switched to gmail and advice everybody to do the same”
    SkyLink, Matrix, Google,….

  9. Reckless Driving. Andrew. November 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm #

    Gmail just keeps getting better. I’m glad I ditched Outlook a couple years back. It was definitely the right decision to make!

    Reckless Driving. Andrew.s last blog post..5 Famous Will and Estate Contests