Sunday, June 9, 2013

Gadgetwise Blog: Q&A: Experimenting With Gmail Labs

Are those Gmail Labs add-ons safe to use, or could I be endangering my in-box by installing them?

Those nifty little Gmail-helper programs known as Labs, which do things like display Google Docs and Map previews in messages, or provide a preview pane for the mailbox, are experimental. While some Labs are quietly safe, some could potentially cause problems with your in-box loading properly. Google itself stresses that Labs could break at any time, and certain Labs add-ons could change or disappear temporarily — or for good. So proceed at your own risk.

You may find that some Gmail Labs are so inventive and handy that they are worth that risk. Google occasionally highlights new additions to the Labs collection on the Gmail blog for people who like to sample new software.

You can see the current roster of available Labs by logging into your Gmail account, clicking the gear icon on the right side of the screen and selecting Settings from the menu. On the Settings screen, click the Labs tab to see what features are available and click the Enable button next to the ones you want to try out. Click the Save Changes button to turn on the selected Labs.

If you find a Labs add-on not to your liking, return to the Labs tab on the Settings screen, click the Disable button next to the one you want to turn off and click Save Changes. If something has gone horribly wrong and you cannot get your Gmail in-box to load, Google has a way to disable all your Labs at once: just use the address instead of your regular Gmail bookmark.

The Gmail Help site has more troubleshooting tips for Labs problems.

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