CNET News Video: Daily Debrief: The customization of Gmail
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CNET News Video: Daily Debrief: The customization of Gmail

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On this edition of the Daily Debrief, CNET's Kara Tsuboi talks with senior writer Stephen Shankland about the constantly evolving features on Gmail, Google's Web-based e-mail program. From calendar modules to colored stars to quick access to your Google Docs, Shankland explains how the popular service is trying to become the one-stop shopping landing page to compete with Microsoft and Yahoo.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Welcome to the Daily Debrief. I'm CNET's Kara Tsuboi, here with CNET News senior writer, Steven Shankland. And we're talking about Gmail. A lot of you may use Gmail. It's a really popular web-based email program through Google, and I use it. You use it. It's a really easy system to use. But a lot of people probably don't know how they can customize Gmail. Why don't you explain how Google has set up this program? >> Sure. So Google has a program called Google Labs - excuse me, Gmail labs. You can get to that feature by going through settings in Gmail, and then there's a tab on the upper right that says, "Labs.' And that will expose a whole bunch of different customization options. Some of them are quite silly, like old snaky, which is a - you know, chase the snake game. >> Over, on top of your Gmail? >> Yes. >> Who needs that? More distractions. >> Nobody needs that. But it does show that it's kind of an interesting framework that you can do a lot with. Most of the customizations are considerably more useable. So you can adjust how your signature works, and the ones that are most interesting to me, I think, are some recent announcements they made this week. You can now add a module on the side of your Gmail application that shows you your Google calendar listings, and also what Google documents you have stored at the Google Docs site. You can also add a variety of other web-based gadgets by typing in the web address into a little frame - into a little text entry box. So they're making Gmail a lot more powerful as a place, not just where you can check your email, but where you can actually get a lot of other work done with Google properties. >> I mean a lot of this just seems really intuitive, that you should be able to email while you see what's going on in your schedule, you know, that kind of cross-platform. >> Sure. >> That makes a lot of sense. >> Right. And that's been done. I mean certainly, you know, Microsoft Outlook has been doing this for quite a long time now. >> Sure. >> So that level of - this is an obvious feature, but now they're actually bringing it to Gmail. >> And since you brought up Microsoft outlook - I mean is that probably what motivated Google, to try to compete and use this? Make this the one-stop shopping for, you know, a lot of users. >> Sure. Sure, I mean they have Outlook and Exchange in mind here. They also, I'm sure, are looking at Yahoo's web-based email and various other services. So they are, you know, bringing new features that are elsewhere into their email client. But it certainly makes sense because these are things you want to do at the same time. You want to know your calendar, if you're responding to your friend's email. "Hey can you come over for dinner on Friday night?" Well, here's my calendar right next to me. >> Let me check really quickly. Yeah. Now, one thing that I personally love about Gmail and Google is that they're constantly changing things. You know, like there's constantly new features that you can explore and discover. What can we expect from them in the coming week? >> Well, I'm not sure exactly, but they've got some new features that they're going to be adding as well after this. So they're clearly - they built a more flexible foundations for Gmail, which they'd released last year. And now their really putting some meat on the bones. So I suspect they're gonna be adding some significant new features here to Gmail to make it more of a hub for your online activity, not just an email client. >> Besides the calendar, any final module that you can recommend that we should all try out? >> Oh, there's a good question. Well, if you're a top poster, as somebody who likes to respond to email, at the top of email now and below, you can get your signature to show up right underneath your email because - it's been a long time annoyance for a lot to gmail users. It would put the signature way down at ate bottom of the email. So thought's one of the minor tweaks you can do. And other on is popular is us, and I think it's called "Super Stars." So right now, you can star your Gmail messages. >> Yeah. Superstars let's you cycle through a bund. There's a blue star a red star. Different colors, so there's some nice customization. there. >> I like my colors, only way tome stay organizd. >> Exactly. >> Thank you so much. CNET News senior writer Steven Shankland, I' m Kara Tsuboi. See you on the next Daily Debrief. ^M00:03:57 [ Music ]

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