Gmail Messages Get Richer

    March 19, 2009
    Chris Crum

It appears that they never sleep at Gmail. After the most recent improvement in conversation-saving with the service, they have now added the ability to preview YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, and Yelp content with a new Gmail Labs experiment.

"Gmail currently automatically detects package tracking information, addresses, and event information and shows quick links to delivery status, maps and directions, and Google Calendar," explains Google software Engineer Vishal Kasera. "So why couldn’t Gmail automatically detect links in emails and show videos, photos, and ratings right inside these messages as well?"

That’s what the new lab does. Here are some examples of what these previews would look like:

YouTube in Gmail

Flickr n Gmail

Picasa in Gmail

I don’t see why we couldn’t expect this lab or other labs to expand on this concept in the future, adding more services to the list. This can make email a richer experience much like a social network. With social networking becoming more popular than email, it makes sense to expand Gmail in this way.

As with all labs, it is only available on a voluntary basis. To utilize the feature, users would click the green labs icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen and find it in the list.