September 11th, 2008 | Published in Gmail (Google Mail)
We Gmail developers are arguably among the most demanding of Gmail's users. So in addition to the feedback we get from all of you, a lot of the ideas for new features come from our own frustrations and experiences. We send and receive a lot of mail, and we've already started using these Labs features to make replying that much better.
Quote selected text, by Ryan A
Gmail makes it easy to manage long conversations or threads by hiding the text you've seen before. Unfortunately, this means that the people you're communicating with that aren't using Gmail sometimes get annoyed with you for leaving 25 pages of irrelevant conversation in the email. Also, sometimes you just want to reply to one small part of a conversation. Deleting lots of irrelevant text is rather annoying, so this Labs feature should make your life easier. Just highlight the text you want to include in your reply, hit the keyboard shortcut "r" to reply, and the compose template will be just what you selected! Note: This doesn't quite work in Chrome or Safari yet, but it will in a few weeks.
Default 'Reply to all,' by Mark K
When we're working on features for Gmail, the email etiquette on the team is to reply all so everyone involved is kept in the loop. Mark was an intern here this past summer who got frustrated when he'd reply to an email only to realize that he forgot to reply all and had to resend the message. Thus, this Labs feature, which makes reply all your default selection.
Vacation time, by Darick T
While planning my own vacation, I didn't want to worry about composing, starting and stopping my vacation auto-response while I was on vacation. Call me a purist, but that defeats the whole point of being on vacation! So, to make my vacation that much sweeter, I used a bit of my 20% time and whipped up Vacation Time, which lets you compose and schedule your vacation autoresponse while you're planning your vacation, rather than while you're on vacation. And scheduling is as easy as it is in Google Calendar.
So go on, try it, and have a great vacation.