Gmail gets nested labels and sneak peeks

While Gmail features don't exactly roll out in the most traditional way, they do tend to add pretty useful functionality to Google's ever-so-popular webmail service. Now, as showcased on The Official Gmail Blog, available in Gmail Labs are two new features for your testing pleasure: Nested Labels, and Message Sneak Peek.

Nested Labels is exactly what it sounds like. Just like you can do in Outlook, Gmail now allows you to put sub-labels within parent labels. However, the UI for doing so is still non-existent (hopefully this will change in the future). To create a nested label, you have to use a specific naming convention when you create a label. For example, if you wanted a parent label called "Favorite People" with sub-labels called "Neowinians" and "Androids," you'd have to name them as follows:

Favorite People
Favorite People/Neowinians
Favorite People/Androids

Nested Labels

The above will result in a folder structure similar to the one in the picture above. If a label has nested labels within it, there will be a "+" sign to expand the label tree, and a "-" to close it.

Message Sneak Peek is Gmail's way of giving a preview of your emails without actually having to go into them. Taking a peek does not mark an email as read. When you right click on an email that's in your inbox, a nice sized box pops up showing you the email's contents. Within the preview, you have the ability to archive, delete, or mark the email as read. You also have the option to view the email in its entirety.

Message Sneak Peek

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

WebKit2 set for release soon

Next Story

HTC patents a dual-screen touchscreen phone

28 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

the UI for doing so is still non-existent (hopefully this will change in the future).

I hate that they do this. Why not release a version of the feature that is actually user friendly???

Antaris said,

I hate that they do this. Why not release a version of the feature that is actually user friendly???

They will when its finished. Read up, the article says the feature is in labs

I have not check into my gmail web ui for awhile. Been using outlook and wlm to congregate all my various accounts. But I'll check it out whenever its out.

Still waiting on FOLDERS, Google. It's Beginner's 101 UI design and your silly labels concept is just plain unintuitive.

excalpius said,
Still waiting on FOLDERS, Google. It's Beginner's 101 UI design and your silly labels concept is just plain unintuitive.
Folders will never come, they duplicate the functionality of the labels. I don't see the problem? you create labels as you would folders and then you just label a message and archive it. You need messages from a particular label back? click on the label on the sidebar and all related messages are shown...no different to folders really and very easy to use!

Edited by Xerxes, Apr 9 2010, 5:37am :

Xerxes said,
Folders will never come, they duplicate the functionality of the labels. I don't see the problem? you create labels as you would folders and then you just label a message and archive it. You need messages from a particular label back? click on the label on the sidebar and all related messages are shown...no different to folders really and very easy to use!

+1. Took only a few seconds to figure it out, but it was easy going from there. Prefer it this way honestly.

excalpius said,
Still waiting on FOLDERS, Google. It's Beginner's 101 UI design and your silly labels concept is just plain unintuitive.

Folders would be good, but Google is great at Search. So as long as Labels work as fast as folders, don't worry about it.

I am not sure how Labels are interpreted by POP and IMAP mail clients because I don't use them for GMail, but it seems to me that that's one place where Folders would work better than Labels.

excalpius said,
Still waiting on FOLDERS, Google. It's Beginner's 101 UI design and your silly labels concept is just plain unintuitive.

WTF? Labels ARE folders!

What do these "Labels" look like to you??

Favorite People
Favorite People/Neowinians
Favorite People/Androids

Jebadiah said,

Folders would be good, but Google is great at Search. So as long as Labels work as fast as folders, don't worry about it.

I am not sure how Labels are interpreted by POP and IMAP mail clients because I don't use them for GMail, but it seems to me that that's one place where Folders would work better than Labels.

I have Gmail set up at home with Outlook. Labels are interpreted as folders. As Xerxes said, labels are not much different then folders.

Croy said,

I have Gmail set up at home with Outlook. Labels are interpreted as folders. As Xerxes said, labels are not much different then folders.

The idea for folders is you move an email into the folder, typically out of your inbox. Labels are just labels and keep the message within your inbox. Not good if you like an organised inbox. Obviously the labels act as folders on 3rd party mail clients.
Google want people to use the web interface rather than any mail client since it offers a lot more. Annoying features like this (and imo threaded emails) should be something the end user can change. I currently have 2000+ emails all sat in one folder in GMail (Inbox).

Edited by ]SK[, Apr 9 2010, 9:39am :

SK[ said,]

The idea for folders is you move an email into the folder, typically out of your inbox. Labels are just labels and keep the message within your inbox. Not good if you like an organised inbox. Obviously the labels act as folders on 3rd party mail clients.
Google want people to use the web interface rather than any mail client since it offers a lot more. Annoying features like this (and imo threaded emails) should be something the end user can change. I currently have 2000+ emails all sat in one folder in GMail (Inbox).

Labels in Gmail basically are folders. I have 10 labels which show up on my left bar. I organize my mails through labels. It's a bit confusing at beginning the concept of label in Gmail, but if you think of labels as folders and not just like simple labels then it's ok.

Gmail labels are like folders and then some.

Edited by Croy, Apr 9 2010, 10:31am :

SK[ said,]

The idea for folders is you move an email into the folder, typically out of your inbox. Labels are just labels and keep the message within your inbox. Not good if you like an organised inbox. Obviously the labels act as folders on 3rd party mail clients.
Google want people to use the web interface rather than any mail client since it offers a lot more. Annoying features like this (and imo threaded emails) should be something the end user can change. I currently have 2000+ emails all sat in one folder in GMail (Inbox).

You can do the same thing by dragging emails from your inbox to one of the labels. It is no longer in your inbox, but in the label instead.

SK[ said,]

The idea for folders is you move an email into the folder, typically out of your inbox. Labels are just labels and keep the message within your inbox. Not good if you like an organised inbox. Obviously the labels act as folders on 3rd party mail clients.
Google want people to use the web interface rather than any mail client since it offers a lot more. Annoying features like this (and imo threaded emails) should be something the end user can change. I currently have 2000+ emails all sat in one folder in GMail (Inbox).


Just archive the messages then.

The "Move To" function in Thunderbird works fine for me, "moving" a message from the Inbox to a label archives it and applies the label.

looks good, I hope they don't hook people on it while its in "labs" then drop it without notice, like the did with "Right Hand Side" labels. That was a really great feature, now only a distant memory