Like a parent who takes their child out for ice cream after a doctor’s visit, Google has paired its “display ad experiment” in Gmail with some appealing new features. While there has been plenty to talk about over the last few weeks when it comes to minor extras, these two features will serve as great news for both personal and professional Gmail users.
Unread Message Active Favicon
Your favicon, that little icon that shows the website logo and is attached to your tabs and bookmarks, has previously displayed the recognizable “Gmail M” in the past. Now that enveloped M can get a beautiful addition with a new Gmail lab. That lab, titled “Unread message icon,” attached the number of unread emails to the favicon. Further, rather than requiring a refresh of your browser page to give a new number, this favicon will update actively each time a new message comes in.
Perfect for obsessively tabbing browsers like myself, this feature is still in beta and can be enabled in the Google Labs section of Gmail.
New Mail and Chat Notifications
Want to see new chat messages even when you’re not in the Gmail page? Want to get a desktop notification when a new email comes in? Now you can. This simple desktop notification feature shows us what HTML5 can do by allowing a purely web-based application to communicate with you even if you’ve minimized the entire browser.
You can enable the notifications for chat, email messages, or both in the Settings > General > Desktop Notifications section.
These features are still early phase releases, so glitches and upcoming tweaks are a part of the game. However, both features have been reported as running smoothly by users so far, and the options are even enabled in Google Apps.