Gmail ‘People Widget’ Gets New Photos

    April 6, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

The Gmail team at Google announced in a Google+ post that the ‘people widget’ in Gmail would now display up to 3 recent photos that person has sent you. The photos will link back to the emails they were sent in.

The ‘people widget’ is the box on the upper-right side of an email that displays the name of the person in your email conversation. The widget offers different options pertaining to the person, including adding them to a Google+ circle or suggesting other people you may know through them.

About half of the comments to the Google+ post were praise to the Gmail team for providing this minor upgrade. The other half turned the comments section into a place to complain or beg for Gmail features they want or miss. Popular requests for the Gmail team included contact pictures with better resolution and an upgrade for Google tasks.

Personally, I would never have noticed the change if I had not seen this post. Along with a commenter to the post, I don’t pay attention to the widgets. I had to dig into my Gmail settings to even see if it was turned on, and then had to search for someone who often sent me pictures. So it has a small window of usefulness, but it’s nice to see that the people working on Gmail are concerned about the little things as well.

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  • http://www.richpasco.org/ Rich Pasco

    I am not a GMail user (and this note may illustrate one reason why), but my wife and some of our friends are.

    A few days ago, I e-mailed some personal photos of my wife to one of our friends who uses GMail, and cc’d my wife. This was intended to be a one-time transmission for just their eyes.

    But now, whenever either of them open any e-mail from me, on any subject, those photos appear in the right margin of their GMail screens, under “Recent photos.”

    This proved especially embarrassing to my wife when today she opened a business e-mail from me with a professional colleague watching, and the personal photo again popped up in the margin. She asked, how can Google justify doing such a thing? More importantly, how can she prevent it from happening in the future?

    She tried an experiment: She located the message with the photos attached and invoked “delete this message.” Then she found it in her Trash and invoked “delete forever.” But still, the pictures show up under “Recent photos” when she reads any message from me. Even worse, if she clicks on any of those photos, the entire text of the message she supposedly just deleted forever shows up again.

    She would like to permanently remove those pictures from Google’s memory. She is afraid that Google will use them to illustrate mail to other GMail users who should not see them. I would like to assure her that this will not happen, but I have no factual basis for such assurance.

  • http://www.richpasco.org/ Rich Pasco
    • Marilyn

      Rich, you should sue Gmail. I just realized that a picture I took of my dog with a messy room for a background has been distributed to everyone I have been emailing. This is a complete invasion of my privacy.

      Had I sent out pictures of myself in no clothing I would be hiring a lawyer right now to sue Gmail. This is ridiculous.

  • krembo99

    I have the exact same problem. Some “funny” photos that my lawyer sent me, which contains inappropriate material, appear now on on the mails from this lawyer . if I show a mail to a business colleague – this is embarrassing !!