Gmail Rant: A few features that would make my life easier

Sections: Communications, Email / IM, Google, Originals, Web, Web Apps

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With any product or service, there’s always going to be room for growth (and complaints). Below are a few Gmail features I think would make my life, and possibly some others lives easier.

Ability to Mark ONE Email in a Conversation as Unread

You’re scanning through your email, and get to one that you want to come back to later. What do you do? Mark it “Unread”, of course. One of my biggest pet peeves in Gmail is how they won’t let you mark ONE email as Unread — you have to mark the whole conversation as unread. Then, when you go back to that email later, you have to scroll through all of the old threads in the conversation to get to the only email you wanted to see. The backbone for such a feature is already there, since when a new email comes in, only that one new email is unread in the conversation. So why don’t they make the quick change an enable this feature? Does this bother anyone else?

Colored Stars

Colored labels are great, but what happens if you need to categorize your important items? Yes, you could use the labels to identify what each item belongs to, but what if you want to star items different colors based on importance… or work versus personal… etc.? Which brings me to my next point…

Set Email Importance

Now wouldn’t it be great if we could sort our emails based on importance? Outlook allows you to do this – granted it’s not as well as it could be done, but at least the feature is there! Say you have a few emails that are not so important, and then some others that are very pressing issues. You get around 100 emails a day (like many of us tech bloggers do) and your important items get lost in the mix. Gmail… can you help me out with that?

Ability to Add Items to a To-Do List

And yet another task management need. Many times we get emails and forget we had something to do. Yes I could easily label things “To-Do” and then remove it from that label once I’m done with it, but doesn’t this seem like an attractive feature to have built in? Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to highlight text in the email, and then click a button in the sidebar that says “Create To-Do Item from this Text”?

Alright, that’s enough ranting. Now you tell me what you want to see in Gmail’s future…

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  • Adam Berger

    You can use Remember The Milk for to-do's. It is still a bit clumsy but it works. It has Gmail, Google Calendar, and iGoogle integration.

    I could not agree more with the rest of the points and would like to add two more:

    1. Formatting… Copying and pasting text into and out of Gmail is a pain. The formatting either doesn't clear when I copy in, and the toolbar hardly lets me re-format it & when copying out into lets say, Word, the formatting doesn't retain either.

    2. Signatures… Why would I want my signature to pile up thread after thread at the bottom of my conversation instead of inline with each email? Yup I can use BetterGmail but 1. I shouldn't have to and 2. the feature does not work with Gmail 2 yet.

  • Doug Berger

    Thanks for the additions, Adam. Anyone else have some more? We can create a master list of these and submit 'em to "The Man"! :)

  • JG Mason

    As a control freak, I love the threaded messages, except when I don't. I'd like the option to unthread everything and see a list by date or to/from (ala Outlook). I hate searching and not finding.

    I'd like to see better calendar integration for reminders, drag and drop functionality

    I'd also like to see my Google calendar sync with my iPod calendar.

    I'd like to see which of the 13 email aliases is giving me spam mail. I can't tell from the list view which it is and I am not going to open one…

    I'd also like to find buried treasure, be marooned on a tropical island and one day meet a real snowman.