What’s brewing in Google Labs?

LaboratoryWhile I was aware of Google Labs, I did not realize that each Google application had its own Google Labs, or at least a collection of enhancements specific to each application. I would like to thank Steve Dotto from Dotto Tech for pointing this out. 

Actually, upon further investigation, Google has discontinued the main Google Labs project, and is instead supporting each application with Google Labs enhancements. Basically, each application can be enhanced by enabling features through the Google Labs for that product.

Finding Google Labs

In order to enable a feature, you must access the Google Labs.

  1. Open the Google application you wish to enhance. Note: Not all applications are supported by Google Labs.
  2. Click the gear in the top right and select Settings.
  3. Open the Labs tab.
  4. Identify the labs you want to turn on and click the Enable radio button.
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

My Favorite Enhancements

Gmail

  • Canned Responses – Email for the truly lazy. Save and then send your common messages using a button next to the compose form. Also automatically send emails using filters.
  • Google Maps previews in mail – Shows Google Map previews of all the addresses found in an email.
  • Mark as Read Button – Tired of spending all that effort to click on the more actions menu every time you want to mark messages as read without reading them? Now just enable this lab and that is just a button click away!
  • Multiple Inboxes – Add extra lists of emails in your inbox to see even more important email at once. The new lists of threads can be labels, your starred messages, drafts or any search you want, configurable under Settings.
  • Preview Pane – Provides a preview pane to read mail right next to your list of conversations, making mail reading faster and adding more context.

Calendar

  • Jump to date – Quickly navigate to dates in the distant future or past (actual time travel not yet supported).

Google Document

Instead of Google Labs, Google Documents incorporate Add-ons to improve the application. I included these add-ons:

  • Table of Contents – Automatically creates table of contents in the sidebar that can be clicked through, for easy document navigation.
  • Thesaurus – Thesaurus for Google Documents revolutionizes your experience by helping you explore synonyms, antonyms and more.
  • Track Changes – Review and approve changes made to your document.

What tweaks have you made to your Google applications to improve or enhance its functionality?

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