I still use a native mail client on my handset, but if Google (s goog) keeps adding useful features to the mobile web app, I just may switch. The latest update is strictly for iPhone (s aapl) and Android handsets in the U.S. — hey, don’t shoot the messenger — and creates “smart links” for these link types:
- Google Maps address queries
- Google Maps directional queries (with one destination)
- Google Sites web pages
- YouTube videos
Instead of lengthy URLs for these links, Gmail will convert them to short, contextual links. That’s huge for the small screen, where standard URLs for maps and the like can take up way too much space. I suspect that Google is in the process of rolling this out gradually, because I sent a Google Map link to myself and still see the full URL.
Although this feature isn’t working for me yet, this screenshot of the long link shows the potential benefit of the smart link. If I put any additional information after the directions link, it would cause scrolling to read the rest of the message. It seems like a small benefit to have shorter links, but if it saves scrolling throughout the day, those little time savings add up.