Google Labs are experimental features that you can add to Gmail and Google Calendar to customize and enhance your inbox and calendar. To help you get started, we've put together a list of the labs we think you'll find useful (some are real time savers!). It's important to remember, though, that a lab can become unstable, stop working, or disappear at any time—they are experiments, after all!
You can enable or disable a lab whenever you like. Here's how:
1. In Gmail or Google Calendar, click the gears icon and choose Mail settings or Calendar settings.
2. Click the Labs tab.
3. For each lab you want to use, click Enable. If you want to stop using a lab, click Disable.
4. Click Save Changes at the bottom on the page.
Tip: After you enable a lab, you can quickly access the Labs page again by clicking the green flask icon
( ) in the upper-right corner of your Gmail or Calendar window.
Google Docs previews in mail
Shows previews of documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly in the email when you receive any link to a Google Doc. Also gives an option to open directly in Google Docs.
Extends your Gmail search to include Google Docs and Google Sites. Apps Search finds the most relevant results in Docs and Sites and shows them below your Gmail search results.
Uses Google Translate to translate messages you receive in other languages.
Adds a box to the left column that gives you 1-click access to any bookmarkable URL in Gmail. You can use it for saving frequent searches, important individual messages, and more.
Pictures in chat
See your coworkers' profile pictures when you chat with them.
Places your signature before the quoted text in a reply, and removes the "--" line that appears before signatures.
Sender Time Zone
Should I reply to this mail or just call the guy? Ooops… it's 1 am. Sorry, I didn't mean to disturb…
Custom date formats
Adds options to the general settings page allowing the date and time format to be changed independent of language. For example, you can use a 24-hour clock (14:57) or show dates with the day first (31/12/07).
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.
Message Sneak Peek
Peek into a conversation without opening it by right-clicking a message in your inbox.
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.
Displays Google search results inside your mail window, letting you quickly find things and use them when you're writing an email.
Create a Document
Allows you to create a Google Document from an email conversation or a new blank document if your keyboard shortcuts are enabled by pressing g then w.
Send & Archive
Adds a button to the compose form that lets you send a reply message and archive the email conversation in a single action.
Don't forget Bob
Once you pick some email recipients, Gmail suggests more people you might want to include based on the groups of people you email most often.
Got the wrong Bob?
Have you ever addressed an email too quickly, and included Bob (your boss) instead of Bob (your friend) by accident? If you're emailing more than two people at once, Gmail will check if you meant to include Bob Smith rather than Bob Jones based on the groups of people you email most often.
Hide read labels
The visible labels in the navigation bar will be hidden under the More menu when they don't contain any unread conversations.
Allows you to insert images into a message body. You can upload and insert image files in your computer, or insert images by URLs. This lab will not work if you have Offline Gmail enabled.
Quote selected text
Quote the text you've selected when you reply to a message. (Works with the mouse, too!)
Move the chat box to the right side of your Inbox, where it's easier to see.
Google Calendar gadget
Adds a box in the left column which shows your Google Calendar. See upcoming events, locations, and details.
Google Docs gadget
Adds a box in the left column which displays your Google Docs. Shows recent docs, starred docs, and has fast search.
Automatically declining events
Lets you block off times in your calendar when you are unavailable. Invitations sent for any events during this period will be automatically declined. After you enable this feature, you'll find a "Busy (decline invitations)" option in the Show me as field.
Bring life to your calendar and organize your events with icons for things like flights, vacations, parties, and meals -- or use different color stars to categorize your events. After you enable this feature, click on an event and look for the "Calendar flair" gadget to activate.
Note: Icons added to events you organized will be visible to all attendees.
Do you like pop-up reminders but hate how they rudely interrupt whatever you're doing? This feature will prevent reminders from bringing Calendar to the front. Instead, the title of the Google Calendar window or tab will happily blink in the background.
Who's my one-on-one with?
Having a hard time figuring out who scheduled that event called "Lunch" on your calendar? This feature displays the attendee's name right on the calendar if it's just you and one other person.
Planning ahead and want to see the whole year at once? Adds a Year View gadget to right of your calendar.
Attach a Google Docs document, spreadsheet or presentation; or any file you upload to Google Docs to your event.
Important: Guests do not automatically have permission to view an attached document. You must share each attached document.
Helps you reschedule an event by analyzing attendees' schedules, evaluating conflicts, obtaining conference rooms and proposing the best meeting times. It's like magic.
Free or busy
See which of your coworkers are free or busy right now. Requires that coworkers share their Google Calendars with you.
Jump to date
Quickly navigate to dates in the distant future or past (actual time travel not yet supported).
See what's coming up next in your calendar.
Keep track of the time around the world. Plus: When you click an event, you'll see the start time in each time zone as well.