If you have ever used Gmail on a tablet, you’ve probably appreciated the improvements made to the mobile UI and missed them when forced to use Gmail from your desktop browser. Luckily, Google just introduced a new preview pane feature for Gmail that allows you to quickly view snippets of messages, much like the mobile interface currently accessible on tablets (which, yes, dates from Outlook 2003 – thanks commenters).

You can enable the feature by turning it on from the Labs tab in your Gmail settings and switching between views via a new toggle button in the upper right corner of your inbox.

You can also move the preview pane below your message list if you have limited screen real
estate.

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23 Responses to “Google adds tablet-like preview panes to Gmail inbox”

  1. rbanffy says:

    I am quite sure I saw that in the late 90's, maybe on Netscape's mail client or Outlook 98…

  2. Gromit1704 says:

    It is more Outlook-like than iPad-like because it looks a right mess.

  3. Max says:

    Hope they make the on/off switch a little more obvious when it moves out of a Labs feature. One thing Google is good at is forgetting that they are not "the typical user". Just read their documentation, for example; it suffers terribly from the "well, WE know how it works, so it should be obvious to you, too" syndrome.

    • Jonathan_Gibson says:

      Agreed,
      The G-man I have been meeting for some time seem to carry an air of arrogance and better-than-thou that only grows over time. The fact they "borrow" so much from competitors {say, patents} feels like some sort of twisted version of communism as rationale for their making gobs of money "giving" goods away to garner eye-balls for their advertising core.

      This also reminds me of Adobe and the credentialism flourishing there that removes developers from the real world and allows them to ship expensive products that only run reasonably well on the very latest hardware. I routinely wait 20-25 seconds from the time I click the Photoshop CS5.5 "T" text tool before the toolbar options for that feature show up. Ridiculous.
      When I'm in charge of a product under development I never let my techs use the most-recent gear or operating system unless they absolutely need to work on features specific to that. I only recently have let them use more than one display at a time for the same reasons. Cruel and unusual, harsh, sub-standard working conditions? Naw, I advocate for the end user and make sure the goods will leave customers with a solution that satisfies.

  4. Wolf says:

    Outlook? True, I remember, I used to use that last century. And I liked that iPad-like style back then.

  5. James says:

    Looks like Outlook. No idea why Google refer to it as Tablet-like. It's like they're TRYING to piss Gruber off.

    Maybe its for the free publicity?

  6. nak says:

    This isn't tablet-like, it's Outlook like. I haven't used Outlook in at least 10 years, but last time I did this is what it looked like.

  7. voice of reason says:

    wow you people are annoying.. get your head out of steve jobs' ass

  8. Moeskido says:

    At least this "innovation" didn't require Eric Schmidt to kneel at keyholes while still serving on Apple's board. All they had to do was copy screenshots.

  9. Mister Snitch says:

    And remember kiddies, 'tablet-like' does NOT mean 'iPad-like', because it's Google that innovates while Apple just litigates. We know this is true 'cause Google told us so.

    • addicted44 says:

      You have a lot of likes (I added to those). The only question is how many of those likes picked up on your /sarcasm…

      • George says:

        All of them. Every one of those likes are users who came here from Daring Fireball where Gruber whined that the author didn't call this "iPad-like".

  10. Nick D says:

    this isn't tablet like – outlook, thunderbird etc have had this style of view for years.

    welcome to the 21st century gmail