Google is bringing one of the more popular features from its Gmail tablet application to the desktop with introduction of the Preview Pane from Gmail Labs.
The idea is that users can preview message content before they click on them to take an action.
Gmail users may enable Preview Pane from the labs tab in Gmail settings. Once they do, they'll see a toggle button in the right-hand corner of their messages list to switch between list views and preview pane:
So I toggled and saw this:
"It's probably a very familiar layout to those of you who have used Gmail on a tablet device," said Maciek Nowakowski, Google associate product manager, in a blog post. "We also think it's going to work especially well if you have a larger resolution screen."
Indeed it is. Pretty much like what I saw on the Motorola Xoom, Gmail app for the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tabs I've used.
Google also lets users move the preview pane below the message list via the dropdown arrow next to the toggle button, under the "vertical split" option:
It's interesting that Google, which has spent the last 5 years porting desktop functionality to smartphones and vice versa, is now porting innovations tailored for the tablet to the desktop.
Frankly, I'm surprised this is a Labs feature and not a standard option. It's unobtrusive enough and requires little effort.
I'm also interested to hear how Gmail Preview Pane is working for all you desktop users out there. Personally, I find more value in this because I'm on my desktop for work a whole lot more than I'm on my tablet.