September 15th, 2008 | Published in Gmail (Google Mail)
I spent this last summer as many of the Gmail engineers do, armed with a cup of coffee or a can of soda, poring through lines of code, winding my way through the code base, and every once in a while taking a glance at the big whiteboard of feature ideas that the team maintains. When I had some spare time on my hands, I picked up a few of the ideas from that list and got started turning them into Labs features.
The first one I worked on was something we had been experimenting with a few years ago here inside Google but had never launched -- a Forgotten Attachment Detector. Many of us have experienced the embarrassment of having sent a message without attaching the file we said we were going to attach. Turn on the Forgotten Attachment Detector in Labs, and you'll get an alert if you mention attaching a file but forget to do so.
My fellow intern Mark (the same guy who brought you Custom Label Colors) wrote this next one: the Mark as Read button. If you're tired of digging into the "More actions" menu every time you want to mark unread messages as read, just turn on this Labs feature to add a "Mark as read" button to the top of your inbox.
My summer on the Gmail team is over, and I'm back in school at Berkeley. That means I'm also back to being an avid Gmail user rather than one of its developers, but I remain ever excited about all of the new Gmail features -- both Labs and non-Labs -- that were in development while I was interning, and that we'll soon all be able to use.