Gmail isn't just cool because it's part of the Google family of services, it also has many extra features created by independent developers. These features are available to you at no additional cost by enabling them in the Labs area of the Mail settings menu. Here's a collection of 11 of the most awesome Gmail Labs features to get you started with a personalized Gmail experience:
While the name sounds like a vacation responder, it's more of a template insertion tool than anything else. You can add custom signatures or even a collection of courtesy read-receipts for customers.
Google Calendar widget
No need to wonder if you're available for that meeting on Friday morning, your Google calendar will be right there to check your schedule with this feature.
Google Docs gadget
If you receive Google Docs from your co-workers or boss, this feature can help save you time by showing you a preview of it right in your Gmail.
Google Maps previews in mail
Curious where an e-mail is telling you to go? This feature adds a small and clickable map preview right inside of the message.
Not all images you send to friends, family or even co-workers have to be uploaded as attachments. This Labs feature lets you drop them right into the text body.
Mark as Read button
Things like coupons or even a weekly summary of your finances are things you can look at later, but want to keep off your "unread count" now.
Message Sneak Peek
Curious what a message from a friend says but want to stay on task? Just right-click to get a quick peek so you can move on with your more productive activities.
Flip through your e-mail quickly by using only your mouse and the right-click button. This is great if you just need to glance over a collection of messages.
Normally you have to load each message individually, taking you away from the list of other messages you should be reading and/or responding to--not anymore. This feature can also be enabled/disabled with the click of a button.
Sender Time Zone
International communication is a breeze via e-mail, but what if you need to call the sender to ask a question? Help keep the communication friendly by not calling the sender while they're sleeping.
Forgot to add a recipient, or maybe you added too many? Perhaps there's a typo you caught as you hit send? Just click Undo send within a few seconds and you can make adjustments to the message.
Any of these Gmail Labs features can be enabled or disabled with just a few clicks, making it easy to find the perfect setup for e-mailing or chatting.