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Until now, there hasn't been a good way to send email to friends and family in Hindi, my native language and their language of choice. That's why I'm happy to announce a new feature for Gmail that lets you type email in Indian languages. If you're in India, this feature is enabled by default. If not, you'll need to turn it on in the "Language" section under Settings. Once enabled, just click the Indian languages icon and type words in the way they sound in English -- Gmail will automatically convert them to their Indian language equivalent.



For example, if you have Hindi selected, "namaste" will transliterate to "नमस्ते." We currently support five Indian languages - Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam, and businesses and schools using Google Apps should see this in the coming weeks.

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This post comes to you from our team in Switzerland, a small country with no fewer than four official languages and many more spoken by people living here. The majority of Gmail users are outside the U.S., so it's no surprise that since we launched Gmail Labs last year, people around the world have been asking for these experimental features in their local languages. As of today, we're making Gmail Labs available internationally.

You may wonder, since most Gmail features are available in almost every supported language immediately at launch, why Labs hasn't been. The truth is that Labs itself is a bit of an experiment -- it came out of people's 20% time, and we weren't sure if it would really work. Specifically, we thought there was a chance that everything would just break. Every time a Gmail user signs in we create a custom version of JavaScript for them based on the Labs features they have enabled. Since we have 43 Labs right now, there are 243 (~8 trillion) possible versions of the Gmail JavaScript that a user could get. If you account for the 49 languages where Labs are now available, it gets even bigger -- 49 x 243 (~430 trillion) versions. It would obviously be a challenge to actually test all of these versions. But we put a lot of effort into building an architecture that supports this type of modularity, and fortunately, it seems to be working pretty well so far. So we figured, why not, what's another another 422 trillion permutations?

If your language is set to, say, Italian, you'll see a new page in Settings (or Impostazioni) called Labs. There, you'll find a list of experimental features you can choose to turn on -- everything from the useful (like offline access), to the arcane (like filter import/export), to the slightly ridiculous (like mail goggles). Most of these are translated to work in all of Gmail's supported languages except Hebrew, Arabic, and Urdu. Keep in mind that all Labs features are early experiments -- no design reviews, no product analysis, and not that much testing -- so they may occasionally break. If you run into problems with your account after turning them on, try this escape hatch.

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Sometimes I regret sending a message the morning after. Other times I send a message and then immediately notice a mistake. I forget to attach a file or email the birthday girl that I can't make her surprise party. I can rush to close my browser or unplug the Internet — but Gmail almost always wins that race.

An email to the wrong Larry pushed me over the edge. I could undo just about any other action in Gmail — why couldn’t I undo send? Many people agreed, including Yuzo Fujishima, an engineer in the Tokyo office. My theory (which others shared) was that even just five seconds would be enough time to catch most of those regrettable emails.

And now you can do just that. Turn on Undo Send in Gmail Labs under Settings, and you’ll see a new “Undo” link on every sent mail confirmation. Click “Undo,” and we’ll grab the message before it’s sent and take you right back to compose.



This feature can't pull back an email that's already gone; it just holds your message for five seconds so you have a chance to hit the panic button. And don't worry – if you close Gmail or your browser crashes in those few seconds, we'll still send your message.

I've had Undo Send turned on for a while and it's saved me several times. Let us know if it saves you too.

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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.

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Gmail's threaded conversations are useful because they keep your messages in context -- you don't have to look for previous messages to see what people are talking about. But sometimes, when many people are replying to the same conversation, you open a conversation and quickly wish you hadn't because you don't have time to read all the new messages right then.

You could mark the conversation as unread, but this makes all the messages in that conversation unread. And the next time you open the conversation you have to remember which messages you already read and which ones you didn't get to yet. Since we at Google send and receive a lot of email, we found this pretty annoying. So we decided to fix it.

Now if you're reading a conversation that had unread messages when you opened it and you mark it unread, Gmail will only mark those messages that were unread when you opened the conversation in the first place. It's a small change, but it's the little things that can make a UI feel right or wrong, and we hope this makes Gmail a little bit more right.

Though we realize this change would also be useful when reading mail on your phone (people mark stuff unread on their phones so they'll remember to come back to it on their computers), for now it only works on your desktop browser.

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Sometimes, in a frenzy of productivity, I'll create a bunch of tasks on my main list. Later on, when it's time to start prioritizing, I'll realize that some of those tasks make more sense on another list (GTDers, take note!). But until now I wasn't able to move all of those tasks without tediously re-entering them.

Now you can easily move a task (and all of its sub-tasks) to another list. To do this, simply click on the arrow (or use Shift-Enter) to the right of the task. At the bottom of this screen is a drop-down with all of your task lists. Simply select another list, and leave the screen by clicking "Back to list."



Poof! Your task will magically migrate to the other list. To convince yourself it's still there, visit the other list in the list switch pop-up.

Another new feature should help with those times when you write what's really two tasks as a single task. Or maybe you hit Enter a little too quickly and continued typing something in a new task that was meant for the previous one.

Now, you can split a single task into two tasks or merge two existing tasks. If you've ever used a word processor, you already know how to do this. Simply use Enter and Backspace as you would normally.

If you're not already using Tasks, turn it on from the Labs tab under your Gmail Settings. Once you do, you'll see the "Tasks" link right near your Contacts. Just click it to get started. We're working on a number of small tweaks like this to make Tasks more useful, so let us know what else you'd like to see.

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In addition to offline access to Gmail while you're traveling or without a strong internet connection, you can now see your Google Calendar events when you're disconnected. Offline Calendar lets you view your existing schedule and events, but not edit them, so you don't have to print out calendars the night before a trip. This feature has been available to businesses and schools using Google Apps for about a month; we're now turning it on for everyone.

Like Gmail, the offline feature of Calendar uses Gears, an open source browser extension that adds offline functionality directly to the browser.

To enable offline Calendar access, sign in to Google Calendar and look for the "Offline Beta" link in the upper right-hand corner of your account, next to your username. We've released this early and are still ironing out some kinks, so if you encounter any issues, be sure to let us know. If you access Calendar through the Premier or Education Editions of Google Apps, your domain administrator will first have to elect to turn on new features from the Domain Settings page of the Google Apps control panel.

There are multiple ways to see your calendar when you're away from your desk — in addition to offline mode, we offer two-way sync for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices. So wherever you go, Google Calendar can be there with you.

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Filtering is an essential Gmail power-user feature. With filters (and labels) you can use Gmail to handle a ton of incoming mail. I know — I'm subscribed to 64 mailing lists at Google. My filters let me manage the deluge with ease.

But managing the filters themselves has been another story. Each filter has to be crafted individually — though the ability to "filter messages like these" (see "More actions" while reading a message) does simplify the most common case a great deal.

Filter import/export, available today in Gmail Labs, helps you work with filters in bulk, rather than just one at a time. The basic function is simple: turn it on from the Labs tab under Settings, and from the Settings > Filters page you can download a file containing some or all of your filters or upload a file to create a set of filters all in one go.

Here are some other ideas for things you can do by importing and/or exporting your filters:
  • Download all your filters. If you're using POP or IMAP to get backup copies of your mail messages, now you can include your filters too.
  • Share filters with other people. If you have a set of filters that is especially good at organizing particular kinds of mail that others also receive, you can now make those filters available to them.
  • Temporarily "disable" a set of filters by exporting them and then deleting them. To "reenable" them, just re-import them from the file you exported.
  • If you're comfortable editing XML, you can make new filters that are similar to existing filters. Export the old ones, edit the resulting XML file, and import it back again. For more information about modifying these XML files, see Gmail Labs user group for Filter import/export.