Need a to-do list? Google adds one to Gmail

Google Labs offers up new Gmail Task feature for testing by users

In today's world where everyone has more and more to do every day, Google is testing out a new Gmail tool designed to help users get those things done.

Google announced on Monday that the new to-do application, dubbed Tasks, sits on top of the Gmail window and appears in a chat-like window that's visible while users read e-mail, use the search function or do other tasks, the Task Team said in a Gmail Blog post.

The feature, which is coming out of Google Labs, is still in its testing phase, noted Leon Kotlyar, a Google spokesman. To try out the feature, users need to log onto Gmail and then click on Settings and then the Labs tab, where they can choose the Tasks feature. After trying it out, users can send their feedback directly to the feature's creators.

Kotlyar said there is no timeframe for the new feature to be officially added to Gmail -- and noted that there's no guarantee that it will be added at all.

"It let's us test these features and let's users in on the creative process," said Kotlyar. "It's something we've heard a lot from users - from people inside the company and from outside users. They're looking to improve their productivity and simplify their schedules and calendar."

Tasks is designed to let users create to-do items from scratch or from within their e-mail application. "Mail is where people get a lot of work done," added Kotlyar. "Having a task list integrated into Gmail makes a lot of sense in terms of seamless integration between tasks."

The company has been busy adding upgrades to its Gmail service in the past several months.

Toward the end of October, Google unveiled multiple gadgets, which were also created by the Google Labs project. The gadgets enable Gmail users to look at Google Calendar and Google Docs data without having to open the hosted applications.

And earlier in October, Google Labs unveiled Gmail Goggles, which is aimed at preventing Gmail users from sending e-mail that they might later regret. Last month, Google Labs rolled out a test version of an audio search indexing system that is designed to find specific words in videos and let users jump to the portion of the video where the words are used. And in August, the company unveiled Google Labs-developed Google Suggest, which suggests search queries as users type words or letters.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
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