What the Gmail lab shake up tells us about Gmaillers

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Labs at Gmail just got a little shake-up according to the Gmail blog. Apps that made the cut and have become fully fledged Gmail features include my favourite custom colour labels and youtube previews. Apps that got the boot include “random signatures” and “location in signature”. Here’s the list:

Search Autocomplete
Go To Label
Forgotten Attachment Detector
YouTube Previews
Custom Label Colors
Vacation Dates

Fixed Width Font
Email Addict
Location in Signature
Random Signature

Google’s main criteria for graduating or retiring apps is their popularity, so what do these sucesses and failures tell us about gmail and gmail users?

I reckon it shows that they’re frenetic powermail users who need to deal with huge amounts of mail and apps which help them do that are popular. Greater variety of label colours helps organise mail, search auto-complete and youtube previews save time.

Sweet funny touches like random signatures ain’t so popular with gmaillers cause it’s all about power and efficiency. That cute quote from Ghandi/Hello Kitty just ain’t what these guys want. Email addict turned gmail off for 15 minutes to make you take a break and do something relaxing. I don’t think gmaillers want breaks, they just want more information.
Similarly, Muzzle was an app which stopped gchat contacts’ status updates showing up, saving screen real estate, but in practice we all want more not less, so that didn’t take off either.

Related: The G-board: a keyboard just for Gmail

Anna Leach


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