New Labs Feature for Gmail: Green Robot!
Article by George Norman
On 20 Nov 2009
The software developers at Google have announced the release of a new Gmail Labs offering called Green Robot! This new offering is meant to improve the Gmail Chat user experience by letting the Gmail user know when his friends have chat open on their Android-powered devices. The icons in Gmail Chat use various colored bubbles to display the status of a specific contact. A red bubble means the contact is busy; a yellow bubble means the contact is idle; and a green bubble means the contact is available.

The catch is that you may see a green bubble next to a contact, but that contact may not really be available. Why? Because that contact may have chat open on an Android-powered device. And this is where the Green Robot! Gmail Labs offering comes in.


Software Engineer Chad Yoshikawa explains: “Turn on Green Robot, a new experiment in Gmail Labs, and you'll see a robot icon next to people who are currently using Android phones. These icons can help you decide whether to tailor your conversation to the type of device that your chat buddy is using. For example, when you know the guy on the other end is using his Android phone, you may decide to send shorter, more concise chat messages.”

If you would like to turn on Green Robot!, here is what you have to do:

Step 1 - Go to Gmail (click here – a new tab will open), enter your login credentials and click "Sign in". If you are already signed into Google, click this link and you can just skip step 2 in this tutorial.

Step 2 - In the top right corner of the screen, right next to your user name you should be able to see “Settings”; click it. Now locate “Labs” and click it as well.

Step 3 - Scroll down until you find a Labs feature called Google Robot!. Select Enable, then click Save Changes (there’s a Save Changes tab at the top of the experiments list and at the bottom as well) and you’re done.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Gmail Labs, Green Robot!
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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