SLIDESHOW

10 Gmail Labs Features You Need Now

Optional Gmail features can make Google's mail service easier, better or more fun. Here are 10 of the best.

Power Up Your Gmail

Gmail just got a bit more powerful today with enhancements to Google Search, but you won't even know it if you're not taking advantage of Gmail Labs. Clicking the “Labs” tab under “Settings” in Gmail gives you dozens of optional features that make Google's mail service easier, better or more fun. Here are 10 of the best features to enable in Gmail Labs.

Background image of test tubes compliments of Flickr users Horia Varlan.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Google Search

This feature creates a pop-up window so you needn't leave Gmail to search the Web. New features, added today, that appear atop search results include dictionary definitions, spell check, a calculator, weather, news and local businesses.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Undo Send

Clearly I'm not the only one who's ever sent an e-mail and immediately regretted the wording or spotted a mistake. Hence, there's Undo Send, which lets you take back an e-mail for a few seconds after sending.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Old Snakey

Everyone can use a break once in a while. Enable Old Snakey, then turn on keyboard shortcuts in Gmail's settings, then press “&” to open up a classic game of Snake.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Forgotten Attachment Detector

This clever feature scans your e-mail for text that mentions attachments, and then opens a prompt before sending if you forget to actually include the attachment. Of course, once you enable the detector, you'll always remember on your own.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Hide Unread Counts

Not everyone's great at staying on top of e-mail, and their archives are full of ignored messages. This feature lets people hide their shame by removing the count of unread messages from the inbox and header.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Vacation Time

Gmail's vacation auto-responder, accessible in the settings menu, only lets you toggle between on and off by default. Turn on Vacation Time and you can specify a range of dates that you'll be gone.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

YouTube Previews

There's no need to open a new window next time someone sends a YouTube link by e-mail. This feature lets you preview the video from within Gmail. Similar features exist for Flickr, Picasa and Yelp.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Text Messaging

Once this feature is enabled, you can enter a phone number in Gmail Chat and send a free text message — but make sure the recipient has unlimited texting before sending a late-night screed. A related feature, SMS in Chat, creates a sidebar widget for firing off messages even faster.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Back to Beta

Gmail may have graduated from beta, but I remember when it was a wee tyke. This “feature” restores the beta tag to Gmail's logo so you can relive the glory days.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.

Inserting Images

Once this feature is enabled, you can place images directly in the body of an e-mail. Just look for the image icon above the text field.

Be sure to check out some great Chrome extensions as well.