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Twelve or more things I still want in Gmail

I wrote about this way back in February of 2006, and Google has added some of the things I wanted (like 'Undo"), but Gmail still lacks some things I think are important, so I'll bring it up yet again. Feel free to add anything on your wish list..

Revised again 04/15/2010

  • Templates. I have several "form" emails I send out for various purposes ( responses to certain types of inquiries). I keep them in Drafts now and cut and paste, but a template would be better, wouldn't it?

    Canned responses answers this well enough.

  • Selected Signature. My "Work" signature isn't really what I'd like for family and friends. It would be really convenient if I could set a label that would determine the signature based on who I am emailing. It seems easy enough to me: have a "default" signature, and allow specific signatures for specific labels. In the case of conflict, ask. That's easy, isn't it?

    Apparently not, but Canned Responses is half-OK

  • Let me set my own retention times for Spam and Trash. Right now, Google automatically deletes these after 30 days. Maybe I'd rather delete Spam after two days and Trash after 14. Yeah, I know I'm only at 12% of my allotted space, but it bothers me that Google is keeping stuff longer than I want. Yes, I am a little obsessive-compulsive, thanks for noticing. And you have no personality quirks at all, right?

  • Speaking of Spam: why does it take Gmail so long to understand that the "Bouncer takes Gravity out of Sex!" email is spam? How many times to I have to mark the exact same email before Gmail "gets it"? Or mail with the subject in Chinese characters? How about an "Latin Languages only" Option? Or better yet, "English Only" - I can't read anything else anyway, so it might as well be spam.

  • Sub-labels. Believe it or not, sometimes I want labels within labels. I bet other folks do too. There's a Greasemonkey script that does this, so why doesn't Gmail just do it?

  • Better control of "Conversations". Just because the Subject has changed doesn't mean it's not the same conversation, and the reverse is just as true. This would be similar to Labels, but would group messages like those with the same Subject are grouped now. So you'd mark things with a "Conversation" label just like you mark things with regular Gmail labels.

  • Speaking of that, how about an easy click for "All messages from or to this email address?"? I'd use that frequently because often I have no idea what text to search for, but I know who the conversation was with.

    Google almost has that now. Hover over a name and a box comes up - the "More" in that box lets you select "Recent Conversations".. but at least with Firefox, it's sometimes hard to get your cursor inside that box - it keeps going away.

  • Mailing Lists: I often want to send the same email to a group of people, but these aren't necessarily people who know each other so there is no reason for them to see each other's addresses. I can hide the addresses by using the group in BCC of course, but a mail list would be neater. Unimaginatively neater would be if I could add people to a group or mailing list with a right click on their address..

  • Macros would be nice. Persistent.Info has some add on scripts for that kind of thing (and more) but I don't like to add more junk to my browser. Macros, rules: whatever you want to call them. Even if its just the kind of lame thing Outlook Express does.. better than nothing.

  • A "Remind me" label.. anything labeled "Remind me" comes back to Inbox after some set period of time.. maybe the label itself could contain that information: "Remind me in 2 days", "Remind me in 2 weeks" and so on.. maybe it should stand out from the other mail, too..

  • Get those never used "chat" people the heck out of my side bar. Just because we both have Gmail doesn't mean I want to see them there all day, every day. Put the little button next to their name in their messages if you want, but don't put them in the side bar unless we actually have recently chatted.

  • Direct MX record. I forward aplawrence.com to my Gmail account but why have that extra processing? I'd happily pay a few bucks to be able to point my MX right at Gmail. Or maybe not.. I'm not really sure I'd use this, but I might.. and it wouldn't be all that hard to do.

    I guess they have that now - $50 per year per user?

  • Contacts. Sheesh, just because I emailed someone once doesn't mean I want them in the Contacts list. Here's a thought: maybe there could be a setting that says "if I send mail to someone more than X times, OFFER TO/AUTOMATICALLY add them to Contacts". Some people might set that to 1 and AUTOMATICALLY, but I'd set it to a higher number and make it confirm before adding.

  • Setting search options. I know, I know, you probably think this is outrageous, but when I'm searching, I almost always want to search Trash too. That "View Deleted" items you added is a nice touch, but why not just let us set our preferences? Maybe I'd like to search Spam by default too.. when I lose something, it can sometimes be very lost..

  • (New 04/15/2010) Labels again: let me put a label on a message WHILE I'M replying! It's so annoying to have to go find the message in Sent Mail just to label it.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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© Anthony Lawrence

Mon Jan 21 17:19:41 2008: 3505   rbailin

Two items on my wish list:

1. Forward email as an attachment. A feature in Outlook, OE and most other email readers forever. Sometimes you need to provide an exact copy of what you received.

2. Resend a message from Sent Mail. Sometimes your email gets lost in the ether. Why bother to have to cut & paste the original?

3. Lose the confirmation dialog when emptying the Spam folder. I'm 99.999% sure when I hit it, I really mean to do it.


Mon Jan 21 21:22:20 2008: 3506   TonyLawrence

Good ones, Bob: I'll second the nominations

Thu Jan 24 14:46:48 2008: 3517   JohnPalkovic

Labels within labels? You can already put multiple labels on a message, and searching for "label:foo label:bar" returns meaningful results. What more do you want?

Thu Jan 24 15:07:07 2008: 3519   JohnPalkovic

Mailing lists can be had with gmail. One registers a domain, and then signs up for the free version of google apps. It's just a few dns entries. Of course, there is the question of your massive archive of old mail at mail.google.com. The messages can be moved to the new account by simply adding the old gmail account in the new account settings, accessed via POP.

Thu Jan 24 15:22:12 2008: 3520   TonyLawrence

Multiple labels aren't sub labels.

They could be if you could easily drill down.. you can do that to some extent by searching within a particular label, but I'd like to just drill in: selecing one lable shows you the other labels those posts have, drill into the one you want..

Thu Jan 24 22:14:04 2008: 3523   JohnPalkovic

> Get those never used "chat" people the heck out of my side bar.

Easy. Visit their contact, e.g. by hovering your mouse over the list entry and choosing "More -> contact details", then set "show in chat list" to "Never." Then visit the Chat tab in settings and select "Only allow people that I've explicitly approved to chat with me and see when I'm online."

Thu Jan 24 22:27:44 2008: 3524   TonyLawrence

Nope, that doesn't do it for me..

Thu Jan 24 22:54:44 2008: 3525   JohnPalkovic

> Nope, that doesn't do it for me..

What browser/platform? I'm using Firefox and safari 3 on a mac running leopard.

It works in IE 6 on an XP pro system (just checked).

I can get to "never show" with all 3 browsers by simply hovering the mouse over an entry in the chat list on the sidebar of gmail and clicking in the popup that appears. It's also available in the Contacts listing within gmail. This behavior is documented in the online help for gmail.

Fri Jan 25 03:19:37 2008: 3528   TonyLawrence

I don't mean that it doesn't work, sorry: I mean it doesn't work for me: not what I want.. I want it to only show people I have had recent contact with as I said above.

Sun Nov 1 01:37:34 2009: 7402   Peter

I like to keep "sent mail" synchronized at several different accounts. For that I need a way to automatically BCC a certain address for every email. Rules exist in gmail for incoming mail, but nothing for outgoing mail. This would be *so* helpful...

Sun Nov 1 01:42:22 2009: 7403   TonyLawrence

Good idea, yes. I like it! I also like the new "Canned Response" tool.

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