Google recently added the ability to call phone numbers directly from Gmail. With this new feature, you won’t have to get out your phone and retype a number; instead, any phone number sent to you via email or chat message will appear as a link. Once you click the link, Gmail’s dialpad will automatically pop up. The feature uses Google’s voice and video plugin, so if you don’t already have it installed, you’ll be prompted to do so.
Google also recognizes that people get a lot of email, and having a way to sort or filter that mail is really helpful. To that end, Google is introducing a new feature in Gmail Labs known as Smart Labels. This feature will automatically categorize incoming Bulk, Notification and Forum messages, and label them as such. If you already have filters set up to help you categorize your messages, Smart Labels can play nice with these settings.
Click to call phone numbers
With the ability to call phones built right into Gmail, you no longer have to get out your phone and retype a number anytime someone sends you one in an email or chat message. Starting today, you’ll see that phone numbers appear as links, like this:
Just click the number, and Gmail’s dialpad will pop up, already populated with the number you’re trying to call.
Click “Call” and voilà! Of course, if you don’t already have the voice and video plugin installed, you’ll be prompted to do that first.
You’ll also see a little green phone icon next to numbers in your contacts which you can use to do the same thing.
New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels
People get a lot of email these days. On top of personal messages, there are group mailing lists, social network notifications, credit card statements, newsletters you might have signed up for, and promotional email from a shopping site you used once months ago. Gmail’s filters and labels were invented to help manage the deluge, but while I have about 100 filters that triage and label my incoming mail, most of my friends and family have all their messages in a giant unfiltered inbox.
Last year, we launched Priority Inbox to automatically sort incoming email and help you focus on the messages that matter most. Today, we're launching a complementary feature in Gmail Labs called Smart Labels, which helps you classify and organize your email. Once you turn it on from the Labs tab in Settings, Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming Bulk, Notification and Forum messages, and labels them as such. “Bulk” mail includes any kind of mass mailing (such as newsletters and promotional email) and gets filtered out of your inbox by default (where you can easily read it later), “Notifications” are messages sent to you directly (like account statements and receipts), and email from group mailing lists gets labeled as “Forums.”
If you already use filters and labels to organize your mail, you may find that you can replace your existing filters with Smart Labels. If you're picky like me and still want to hold on to your current organization system, Smart Labels play nice with other labels and filters too. On the Filters tab under Settings, you'll find that these filters can be edited just like any others. From there, you can also edit your existing filters to avoid having them Smart Labeled or change whether mail in a Smart Label skips your inbox (which you can also do by just clicking on the label, then selecting or unselecting the checkbox in the top right corner).
Labs in Gmail are a great testing ground for experimental features, and we hope Smart Labels help you more effortlessly get through your inbox. If you notice a message that was automatically labeled incorrectly and want to help us troubleshoot, you can report miscategorizations from the drop down menu on each message (in doing so, you’ll donate the full message to our engineers so that we can improve the feature). Give it a try and send us feedback on how we can make it work better for you!
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