Two Labels-Related Experiments Graduated from Gmail Labs
Article by George Norman
On 03 Mar 2011
Gmail Labs is a sorts of playground for Google’s software engineers. During their 20% time, the one day per week when they are allowed to work on something that is not in the job description, they can come up with Gmail Labs experiments that they believe enhance the functionality of Gmail. Sometimes the experiment doesn’t work, other times it works but very few users take a shine to it, and other times the experiment not only works properly, but it turns out to be very popular among users.

When an experiment brings much needed functionality to Gmail, Google invests more time into it, gets its software engineers to polish it, and then it makes it a part of Gmail. If an experiment is useful and popular, then it gets to graduate out of Gmail Labs.


The latest experiments to graduate out of Gmail Labs are 'Hide read labels' and 'Hide Labels from Subjects'. “We created the “Hide read labels” and “Hide Labels from Subjects” labs to help people manage their ever-growing lists of labels. Given the popularity and usefulness of these labs, we’ve decided to graduate them into fully-fledged features,” announced Stanley Chen, Software Engineer.

Released back in September 2009, the 'Hide read labels' experiment was rolled out to do a simple job – allow users to hide labels in the “More” menu when they do not contain any unread messages. Software developer David de Kloet gets credit for coming up with this experiment. David de Kloet said he came up with the experiment because “a lot of people want to see their labels in order to see which ones have unread messages, but they don't want a long list of label names cluttering up the left hand side of their inboxes.”

Released back in August 2009, the “Hide Labels from Subjects” was rolled out to perform a simple job as well – to automatically hide the labels from messages in the inbox, thus making more room for the message subjects. Software developer Christopher Semturs gets credit for coming up with this experiment. Christopher Semturs said he came up with this experiment because he sometimes found it hard see to the subjects of emails when using his netbook.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Gmail Labs, Hide read labels, Hide Labels from Subjects
About the author: George Norman
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Two Labels-Related Experiments Graduated from Gmail Labs
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