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Gmail Labs' experiments: What's in, what's out?

Google kills 5 features, promotes 6 others to big boy club

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Google has slotted six new features into Gmail after testing the technologies in its Labs playpen, at the same time the company has dumped five other features that never got past the experimental stage.

“Over the next few days, you'll see Muzzle, Fixed Width Font, Email Addict, Location in Signature, and Random Signature stop working and disappear from the Labs tab,” noted Google software engineer Mark Knichel in a blog post yesterday.

Mountain View may have signed the death warrant for those products, but it still has reasons to be cheerful given that it has plucked five experimental technologies out of Labs and promoted them to Gmail proper.

Knichel said the ad broker had so far tested 60 features via Gmail Labs, although, as we’ve noted previously, neither Wave nor Buzz were ever part of that experimental crowd.

Technologies that are making the leap into Google’s mainstream Gmail product include Search Autocomplete, Go To Label, Forgotten Attachment Detector, Custom Label Colors and Vacation Dates.

Google has also made room for YouTube Previews in Gmail, which is hardly a surprising move seeing as it’s slotting one part of its omnipresent online estate into another.

“Retiring features is always a tough decision - we invest in building and maintaining them and we realise some of you are probably fans of some of Gmail's lesser-used features. But Labs are experimental features, and from time to time they may break (that's why there's a quick way to disable them), or even disappear,” said Knichel. ®

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