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Summary:

Gmail just launched a few new features — nice buttons, mail alerts within conversations, forwarding a whole conversation — and they’re all quite nice. But why stop there? I personally am logged onto Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar pretty much all my waking minutes. They […]

Gmail just launched a few new features — nice buttons, mail alerts within conversations, forwarding a whole conversation — and they’re all quite nice. But why stop there?

I personally am logged onto Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar pretty much all my waking minutes. They are without a doubt my most-used applications, and I am quite happy with the price tag. I even recently jumped ship from GigaOM’s email setup in favor of sending things through a Gmail alias, just so I could use Google’s excellent search engine and spam filter.

That said, with a few added tools I’d be an even more loyal user. I’ve been building a list over the last couple days of niggling feature requests.

A notepad/to-do list. I would put a blank text box in the open space in left pane of Gmail, under the mail folders and above my contacts. When I log into Gmail from another browser or computer, whatever I’ve written would be preserved. If you could export to-dos that have deadlines to Google Calendar, that would be a nice bonus.

I’ve tried Stikkit over the last few days, and it’s pretty smart, but I want this right in my Gmail. Google Notebook is not the same; if I wanted to download something I might as well use the Mac Stickies desktop app (which I do, every day) The GTDGmail Firefox extension is more complicated than my needs, and takes too much learning.

Real integration between Gmail and Google Calendar. Please do a better job of recognizing appointments and events in my email and asking me if I want to add them to my calendar. I was under the assumption that this was included in the current product, but it really isn’t.

Address book. Searching for contacts is not as simple as it could be. And why not just let me keep my address book here if I’m going to store my whole life on your servers?

Simpler calendar sharing. There are way too many formats and options, and I’ve wasted many minutes trying to get this to work properly. Just tell me where to point someone who wants to see my calendar. And also, the calendar takes WAY too long to load. Like Marissa Mayer says, it’s about speed.

One extension that helps a little bit with this is GCalQuickTab, which lets you toggle between your inbox and calendar with keyboard shortcuts.

Better handling of attachments. Please allow me to sort emails by size so I can ferret out large attachments and easily find things that have been sent to me. (Yes, I know you have crazy amounts of storage, but that doesn’t mean this wouldn’t be useful.) Also, I’d really like a gallery for viewing thumbnails of all of my attachments. Lastly, I’d like to be able to drag files into messages in order for them to be included as attachments. Enclosing files in an email takes, at a minimum, three clicks per attachment.

dragdropupload helps somewhat, dropping a file into an email if you drag it onto the “Attach a file” link.

What about you guys? Any feature requests? Or do you know of any other add-ons I should check out? It would be pretty hard to convince me to jump ship from Gmail, but feel free to try if you’re using something really killer (and preferably free).

With thanks to Ross Mayfield, James Hong, Om and Katie, and others I’ve griped about these topics with.

  1. Hej,
    I totally agree with your statements and I really miss the “post-it” option in GMail – usually I misuse drafts for that, but from my point of view this cannot be the solution :). Anyway, another feature I’m missing is digital signature and/or encryption. This would be really great, but not really to be expected due to JavaScript.

    Martin

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  2. This isn’t really a feature request but I’d love to have more storage, I don’t mind to pay for it :)

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  3. For notes, you must really try Sidenote: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/productivity_tools/sidenote.html

    My only gripe is that I want it to write to the Stickies files (so sidenotes would be stickies and vice versa) but that’s only because My bloackberry syncs with stickies and nothing else.

    And the one gmail feature that’s keeping me from moving everything there is IMAP. It’s a must have for decent mobile email integration.

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  4. I would really like to be informed with an SMS when email arrives into certain folders, or to certain accounts, but not when spam arrives (Yahoo).

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  5. A good archive function, safe messages to disc / compress

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  6. I would like to have a real change of email address: Now recipients on outlook see a ” on behalf of …@gmail”.,
    And there should be a way to import/export all your email, and/or to change your adress. I I wanted to switch to gmail for my domain, I would loose my current inbox with almost 7000 messages in it… That isn’t really an option. And splitting my archive also isn’t nice…

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  7. I want easier handling of multiple accounts. I have an account for work, for personal email and for my mailing lists. I’d like to be able to tie them under one umbrella without having to completely sign out.

    I’m also with Panman…that “on behalf of…” thing is a problem. I forward my work email to gmail and then use gmail as my webmail and as email backup. When I use my PDA to answer email, I’m really checking gmail through the great Java app, but I don’t want the recipients to know that.

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  8. Google needs to get smarter about contact management.

    Why not split it off into it’s own little app? Google Contacts, that contains all your gTalk, gCal, gMail relationships. Let it use labels (mail groups suck). Make it super easy to access and edit. Hell, partner with Facebook, LinkedIn, and myspace – to automatically populate your contacts list with your friends, coworkers, and … whatever myspace has.

    Bonus points: Sort your contacts by the last time you contacted them. That way, your mom can say, “You haven’t called me (via VOIP) or written in a month! Google says so too!”

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  9. [...] Liz Gannes has some suggestions on how to improve GMail in her post over on Web Worker Daily. It has already sparked off a feisty conversation. Join in and have your say. [...]

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  10. Mine isn’t exactly a gmail feature but rather a Google tools integration request: I’ve surprised myself by becoming a real fan of Google notebook, and I’d really like to see a gmail “email this note” function added to the notebook.

    Notebook has become a great “it’s there on any of my machines” short term note/bookmark tool for me. With the addition of a “mail this note” option to the actions, that sent the link and my associated notes via my gmail account I’d be a very, very happy man.

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  11. How ’bout attachments for Google Calender ?
    Attaching a picture or a document to a Google Calender appointment would be sweeeeeeeeeet….

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  12. I’ll have to agree with the need for a to do list. If they do add one I hope it is more than the to do list on Google Desktop. People need something that allows them to tag, prioritize and nest their to do’s. C’mon Google, that should be easy for you.

    I’ll also have to agree with the Contacts. This is the weakest point of Gmail in my opinion. While integrations would be nice, just improvements to the basic functionality and features are essential if people are expected to use it more than just casually.

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  13. I’m with PanMan and Judi S. about the “on behalf of” garbage.

    Yahoo!Go has great integration with my PocketPC phone for calendar, email, contacts, notes and photos, but still harder to use than g* on the desktop.

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  14. Try BlueTie- its free and does everything you’re asking plus a lot more and there are no ads.

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  15. I really like the idea about contact management. I use gmail/gtalk/gcal/gnotebook quite extensively, and as time goes on, I suspect that I will use docs and spreadhseets more and more. A gcontacts would be a wonderful addition, one shared between apps.

    I can see about the todo and integration with gcal. I guess that’s what I end up using Backpack for.

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  16. * Import/Export Mail to common format (mbox) — this would have been nice when I switched over to Google hosted domain. I had to pull my old GMail off via POP and now have it archived in mbox accessed through Thunderbird.

    * Better Contact Management — Sync with my Mac Address Book, which I also sync with my cellphone. I’d like sync not just import/export, so adding some one via my phone will show up in GMail contacts which I can add more detail.

    * I like Liz’s suggestion of To-do Lists or just an open text field sticky like the Google Homepage stickies. Maybe just have a section on the left that I can add any Googe homepage widget to.

    * and please stop opening a new window/tab every time I switch to look at my calendar.

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  17. [...] What’s on WWD: 1. Please Add These Features to Gmail 2. Stikkit reviewed. 3. Scrybe, a refresh [...]

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  18. My top request would be the ability to toggle the “threaded view” on and off! Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it. Can’t imagine I’m the only one who finds it rather annoying at times …

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  19. I have signed up for Google Apps for your Domain service. Now you can create a personal start page for your domain like (start.yourdomain.com) and add gadgets for email, calendar, to-do lists and sticky notes. This solves all my “Personal Organizer” problems with the satisfaction that the domain on the address bar points to our company’s domain :-)

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  20. I need ability to create a filter by clicking on the email id of the sender. I have 1000+ emails in my inbox that I want to catalog.
    It is painful to
    click on an email,
    click on “show options”,
    hilight and copy the email,
    click on filters,
    create a filter,
    apply tags
    apply to existing conversations

    All I need is this -
    SHOW ALL EMAILS FROM THIS SENDER IN INBOX or IN ALL MAILS
    CREATE FILTER FOR EMAILS FROM THIS SENDER

    Simple request, I think.

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  21. Drag and drop for attachments is not really possible, as JavaScript does not allow for websites to access the users HD (for good reason!!)

    It would need to be added to the JS language and handled appropriately within the JavaScript security model, and it really is too huge of a security risk to allow. One small mistake and every website in the world can all of a suddenly go on to your computer and grab all your personal files (bank account records, tax return, home made porn vids, etc)

    Sticking with an “Upload Attachment” button seems all that much better now! :)

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  22. What GMail really needs to add is support team members, abuse team members, and the originating IP address of the sender to it’s header information. GMail is quickly becoming known for it’s spam because the sending IP address is not in there, there’s no way to track it, and even if you were able to, abuse complaints get black holed.

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  23. 1) ‘mark as read’ should be a filter option
    2) Something that’s filtered ‘skip inbox’, but in a thread that’s already in your inbox should display collapsed, not like a new message in the thread. In that circumstance, the ‘skip inbox’ filter has no effect.
    3) ‘this is never spam’ should be a filter option.
    4) People in your addressbook should never be filtered as spam.

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  24. Amen to that brother. And whats with this whole beta thing anyway? I mean, WHO ARE these people? I had gmail since about two years ago. It was beta then, and it’s beta now. It will be beta tomorrow, and it will be beta next year. Good job, Goog.

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  25. 1) Searches providing more than twenty items / screen.
    2) Being able to deal with more than 100 items/screen. I’ve got 5k of spam messages and I’d like to just set them all to “read”.
    3) Have you noticed “the longer you don’t log in, the less effective the spam filtering works”? If I leave Gmail running, the spam filter is exptremely efficient and effective. Don’t connect for a day or two and you’ll find more spam than actual messages in your inbox. If this isn’t the case, I’d like to see someone refute it (with somthing other than fiat/ukase).

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  26. the record keeper Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    What about Choosing priority when sending emails and requesting reception/reading?

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  27. [...] Web Worker daily requests that Gmail adds a few more features to its services. I also agree and I even added my request on the comments area. To be followed. [...]

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  28. I think the best addition to GMail is the Firefox extension GMail Skins. With this extension installed, the left column of my personalized Google homepage shows up within GMail.
    And on the left column of my personalized homepage, I have the Google Calendar widget and the Remember the Milk widget. This way I can always see the current month and the daily agenda from my Google calendar, and a list of my upcoming To Dos from Remember the Milk. In essence, I’ve integrated Google Calendar and Remember the Milk ToDos into GMail.

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  29. I totally agree. Nice post.

    -Abecks
    http://abecks.net

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  30. /signed

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  31. Hey Liz, Great post. I totally agree on your suggestions for gmail espacially the part about

    “Please allow me to sort emails by size so I can ferret out large attachments and easily find things that have been sent to me. (Yes, I know you have crazy amounts of storage, but that doesn’t mean this wouldn’t be useful.) Also, I’d really like a gallery for viewing thumbnails of all of my attachments. Lastly, I’d like to be able to drag files into messages in order for them to be included as attachments. Enclosing files in an email takes, at a minimum, three clicks per attachment.”

    Gmail is an excellent email client the filter is great the embedded IM is also great to but sometimes I get very frustrated when using gmail particularly when I try to search for appropriate mails or when dealing with attachments.This could be a whole lot easier.Glad somebody feels the same!

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  32. How about finding a way to sync the Google calendar with Outlook, or directly to a PDA? That’s the one downside to Google’s calendar…otherwise I would use it religiously.

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  33. Ditto.

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  34. In regards to Google Calendar, I find it completely ridiculous that you can only set up notifications for items in your primary calendar. Doesn’t that render the multiple calendar feature nearly useless? (hyperbole)

    Sure you can see the other events when you are in the calendar but I can only be notified of my personal events but not work events, or vice versa…

    wtf?

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  35. 1. The ability to tag my emails. I know you have a fantastic search algorithm, yet my email subject line, sender are not always the way i remember the email, rather i remember everything via the context, so tagging my email helps.
    2. The ability to sort things as Liz said
    3. Importing/Exporting of emails from other accounts
    4. With the integration of Google Doc, open up my word documents, spreadsheets in my signed in Google account rather than asking me to download the attachment to see. Today Google provides a poor interface of HTML View, which is average enough for viewing the content.
    5. I know you are increasing your storage everyday, but i prefer to use my storage for my emails and not be oh-so-useless attachments, forwards and a whole bunch of non-sense. Why can’t you guys integrate Google base or GDrive to my account and push all my attachments over there, with a note on the sender, date etc. It works like a virtual storage box to me and i can segregate my attachments over there instead of breaking my head here or searching things over here.

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  36. I just need to filter by any header line. E.g. my provider adds an “X-Original-To:” header to all messages that are collected in one catchall mailbox. Filtering by To: does not work here if I get Bcc-copies.

    Many mailing lists also add headers to allow easy filtering – all this does not work yet :-(

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  37. What Gmail needs – multiple signatures with HTML

    I love Gmail and use it as a repository for most of my email accounts. However there are two things that bother me and make sending email from Gmail a little frustrating.
    The first is that I can only define 1 email signature. I have multiple email acco…

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  38. a simple to do widget is available for google ig :-) I think that might help you :-) some of them are available / extended in the mobile ig xhtml version too!

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  39. [...] Ahora solo nos falta pedirle a Google que nos permita ordenar mensajes de acuerdo a su tamaño y mejore la integración con otros servicios como Google Docs y el Calendar. Web Worker Daily nos comenta al respecto mientras que en TechCrunch ya considerán que el servicio es perfecto. [...]

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  40. “A notepad/to-do list.” just use google docs? You could create google doc by sending some text by email to youraccountname-secret-code@gmail.com

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  41. Hi,

    I really like GMAIL … BUT … there are a few item that I don’t like.

    1) Sometimes unrelated email gets combined and unattachable.

    2) If you want to attach a label on a sent email but do NOT want keep it in your sent items (and delete it) it doesn’t stay in the designated lable area. If you move it to inbox, then lable it, then delete it from sent items … again … the whole thing deletes from everywhere.

    Has anyone else complained about these items?

    Thanks.

    – Richard …

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  42. [...] wait, do it now! And Liz, add reliability and 100% uptime to your GMail wishlist. Share/Send Sphere Topic: Software 2.0 Tags:Gmail [...]

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  43. Something that I miss is being able to search for emails with no labels on them. In case you happen to “lose” (archive) something, it’s almost impossible to find it again. Sometimes I even want to create a new label after a while to archive those emails under it, but how to find them all again ?

    And, of course, the ability to related/unrelate conversations. Sometimes the subject gets messed up with MIME conversion for special characters, for instance, and Gmail can’t put them in the same conversation, which is annoying.

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  44. Very simple feature that is missing: When I add or edit a contact, I should be able to also add them to a contact group at that time. Currently, I have to save the contact, then find him or her in the contact list, check the box and add them from the groups drop-down box at the top of the page, which is quite inconvenient. Also, adding contacts to groups when I have searched for the contact and am only viewing the search results does not work.

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  45. I second IMAP. POP3 just isn’t good enough anymore.

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  46. I would like to have SyncML support to sync my contacts with PDA’s, phones etc.

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  47. Has anyone ever tried to redesign Gmail’s (ugly yet simple) interface? Any designers in here….

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  48. it should be mentioned that I’ve been a gmail user for 3 years now and I will not go back, it was love at first sight, however:

    1. how about REAL rich text editing and the ability to embed graphics (wysiwyg), this IS the web after all.
    2. ability to remove or add messages from/to conversations without totally deleting it.
    3. ability to choose to NOT group by conversations! it can be an annoying feature.
    4. if not dran’n’drop for attachments, then allow multiple files to be selected for attachment. sheesh, get with the program.

    finally

    5. shag off with the blocking .exe and archive extensions! Jeez!

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  49. I would like a sort ascending/descending feature for all columns… subjects, names, dates, sizes…

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  50. hi there,
    check our

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  51. how about IMAP access? i’m totally done with the sloppy handling of POP between my two computers.

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  52. IMAP is not possible since GMail is based on tags and IMAP is based on a folder structure. You’d have to put a copy (!) of a mail with multiple tags into several “folders” in an IMAP-account.
    There are no “folders” in gmail. Tags are something completely different…think about it!

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  53. Ok, so IMAP isn’t an option for Gmail, but is there another protocol that could download or synchronize emails on multiple computers? Perhaps it is time for a new protocol that is based on tags.

    I don’t think Google will implement IMAP just because their whole reason for creating all of their products was to get people to use the web. It’s more advantageous to keep users using their web client.

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  54. Madison Isnar

    Do you have RSS feeds running on your site? And if so, where I can get your RSS feeds? Which reader can you advise me to use?

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  55. I cannot understand why Sent Mail cannot be ‘archived’ from the Sent Items folder.

    Can this be fixed , please ?

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  56. Sherman Powell Sunday, January 4, 2009

    For what it’s worth, many of these suggestions are listed in the “Improve My Stuff” website at the following address: http://www.ImproveMyStuff.com/tag/gmail

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  57. what about imapping? great features! Thanks for sharing

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  58. Shared Contacts is another missing element.

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