Wednesday, March 18, 2009
My email is full of links: my friends send around YouTube videos to try and get a laugh, we share Picasa and Flickr albums with photos from last weekend's camping trip, and we email around the Yelp reviews of restaurants we're considering going to next Friday night.
The truth is, I'm pretty lazy. That's why I like YouTube previews in Gmail chat -- why open a new tab when I can watch the video my friend sent me right there? Gmail currently automatically detects package tracking information, addresses, and event information and shows quick links to delivery status, maps and directions, and Google Calendar. So why couldn't Gmail automatically detect links in emails and show videos, photos, and ratings right inside these messages as well?
We built some new Gmail Labs features that do just that. For our first set, we picked stuff that often shows up in email: YouTube videos, Picasa and Flickr links, and Yelp reviews. Turn on Picasa previews from the Labs tab under Settings, and rather than having to click on a Picasa album link to see the photos it contains, you can see photos right in the message itself:
Same for Flickr:
Enable Youtube previews, and you can watch YouTube videos from inside your email:
And whenever you receive a Yelp link in an email, Yelp previews show you ratings, phone numbers, and other listing information right there:
Give them a try and send us your thoughts. If you work on a product that would lend itself to a great preview in Gmail, we'd love to hear from you too.