Gmail Calendar, Documents And Gadgets, Oh My

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A third new functionality will allow Gmail users to add links to other sites into their Gmail page.

Writing on the Gmail Labs blog, Dan Pupius, Gmail engineer, laid out the mission statement for the latest round of additions. "We wanted to take this to the next level and let you start adding your own stuff to Gmail. Today we're launching a few Labs experiments that let you add gadgets to the left-nav, next to Chat and Labels."

Those experiments Pupius refers to are the ability to view the events listed on the Google calendar and the most recently accessed Google Documents.

Both will be integrated into the left-hand navigation feature most Gmailers have become accustomed to. However, Pupius notes that Google and the Gmail Labs team aren't tied to left-hand navigation.

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"We're not tied to the left-nav as a primary way to extend Gmail—in fact, we think it is relatively limited and doesn't offer scalable real estate," Pupius wrote.

The third feature—which the Gmail team is calling "Gadget Pasting"—is an experiment in every sense of the word, designed more to let developers and users play around with adding gadgets from other sites into their Gmail interface.

In order to add a gadget from an outside site, users paste the URL or XML spec file into Gmail and the content will start to appear. But the developers at Gmail Labs urge caution about the aesthetics of the feature.

"We realize this isn't very user-friendly right now; it's a sandbox mainly aimed at developers who want to play around with gadgets in Gmail," Pupius wrote.