In our Google Hacks eBook, we compiled 20 great hacks for Gmail users looking for tips and tricks for a better Google inbox experience. Below are the final four hacks.
Escape the ruined lab
Many of the tools mentioned thus far have been made possible through Gmail Labs, a service which test-drives ideas for new features. As with anything new, some of these features occasionally break. Broken labs, while somewhat rare, can cause major disruptions in the use of Gmail. Thankfully, Google offers an escape hatch that blocks all labs from Gmail. Using that link, users can access the “un-Labbed” version of an inbox anytime.
Survive slow internet connections
A slow or unreliable internet connection can make Gmail access frustratingly sluggish. Fortunately, Google offers a pared-down version specifically for use in low-bandwidth emergencies: HTML-only Gmail. This bell and whistle-less version is lean, mean and usable even on old dial-up AOL connections. While it may not offer all the same functionality, the basics (reading, replying and composing) are all there and ready for work. Take that, janky coffee-shop Wi-Fi hotspot!
Kick out squatters and spies
Nobody’s perfect, right? I’m sure many have occasionally signed into Gmail on someone else’s device or PC and forgotten to sign back out later. Those forgotten sessions are just hanging out, waiting for someone to discover them and abuse access to precious inbox data. Even worse, someone might have stolen a password and logged into an account without knowledge or permission. Stay ahead of all of these nightmare scenarios by checking in on Gmail using the Last Account Activity link at the bottom of the inbox. The screen will list all the IP addresses where someone has accessed an account. This screen also includes a Sign Out All Other Web Sessions link, which will kill any non-mobile-app’s immediate access to an account. Combine that with a quick password change, and anyone who accessing a Gmail account will immediately get the boot for good.
Get personal with Gmail
After all the customization and personalization tricks you’ve learned in this guide, there’s one last finishing touch that many Google users overlook: Adding a profile picture. With the very low adoption of Google Plus, relatively few users have ever configured a profile picture for their account, which means the people who receive your emails, chats and phone calls via Gmail never get a personal image of who you are. Gmail can resize, reformat and crop any image you upload – any self-portrait, selfie or self-referencing image, logo or meme will do. You’ve gone to all the trouble of making your mailbox your own, why stop at the artwork?
The simplicity of the Gmail interface often leads users to assume that they can’t tweak or fine-tune their experience for added comfort or efficiency. Nothing could be further from the truth. With a few easy adjustments and additions, you can optimize Gmail for your personal workflow and make mail-management simpler, faster and more productive. Just remember, even the most well-designed inbox deserves a good backup plan.