Gmail wish list: five features we'd like to see

Our own ideas for some new -- and, perhaps, unconventional -- features we'd like to see in Gmail

In the early days, Gmail hooked us with its innovative features, like the way it threaded together e-mails under the same subject. And Google continues to add more clever features, such as the recently discovered option to auto-unsubscribe to spam newsletters. While they're working on it, we have our own ideas for some new--and, perhaps, unconventional--features we'd like to see in Gmail.

Act Like Xoopit

It's a shame that Yahoo just bought up Xoopit, a service that organizes the photos and video in your e-mail. Sure, you can use Xoopit with Gmail for now, but who knows how long the service will remain available? And it'd be nice to have an integrated service for searching videos and images - kind of like a Google Images just for your inbox. Maybe the competition will get Google working, if it hasn't already.

Drag and Drop Everything

Gmail recently allowed users to drag unused mail categories, such as Spam, into a folder that keeps them out of sight. Why not expand drag and drop to the rest of Gmail? Dropping attachments from the desktop would be helpful, but it'd be even better to throw e-mails into separate categories and tear e-mails away into their own browser tabs or windows.

Smart Signatures

A common complaint with Gmail is the inability to select from multiple signatures, but let's take it a step further: What if Gmail could look at the e-mail you're writing and, based on the contact and context, suggest the appropriate signature? A simple button at the bottom would sit next to the drop-down list everyone's waiting for, and if you forgot to sign, Gmail could remind you before sending, in the same way its Attachment Detector works in Gmail Labs.

E-Mail Preview

Ever get an e-mail that's sort of interesting, but probably doesn't need to be read in full? A preview function - beyond the limited text you see on the main page - would be useful for eliminating chaff from your inbox without ignoring it completely. Ideally, a pop-up box would show just the text of the e-mail, along with options to immediately archive or delete. This would come in handy while searching through old e-mails as well.

Did They Read It?

It's a little creepy that there is a program that can silently determine whether your e-mail recipient actually read what you wrote. Still, we wouldn't mind having DidTheyReadIt in Gmail. Imagine clicking a check box before sending and seeing a green light pop up next to the subject once the e-mail is read. Combine this with Gmail's experimental "Unsend" feature, and you've got a powerful way to snoop on your correspondents.

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Jared Newman

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