Sometimes, Google manages to make me smile.
Today, its people have taken a mundane tip tutorial on managing Gmail more efficiently and converted it into a humorous lesson in saving time.
The Gmail staff created this Gmail tips Web page to help people use what's already in Gmail to save themselves time and energy hacking through the Amazonian jungle that can be our in-boxes. Gmail Product Marketing Manager Zach Yeskel wrote in a post:
"We know time is valuable, so we asked lots of Googlers for their tips and tricks on how they make the most of Gmail, and we combined the best of these into a guide at www.gmail.com/tips, cheekily entitled "Become a Gmail Ninja." The tips are categorized into ninja belts (white, green, black and master) based on how much mail you get each day."
Why offer such a guide? Besides the time and management issues, my guess is Google's Gmail team needs to get more people using their tools. There are a lot of programmers on that staff; Google needs to justify keeping them. If more people embrace their tools, problem solved.
Tips in the "white belt" class call for users to use stars to indicate a note is special, or reply by chat, while the Gmail master is implored to add Google Calendar and Docs gadgets to Gmail and send SMS text messages right from Gmail.
Both of those tasks are pretty easy for the "master" class, but Google also suggests users use Gmail on their own domain, which will pave the way for users leveraging more Google Apps, such as Docs.
Check out the spam-fighting video located in the white belt section here. Funny in a geeky way.
Moreover, if you want a printable version of the tips, you can get one. The first 1,024 (get it?) Gmail users who want them can get a laminated guide for free by filling out this Google Spreadsheet. Those who don't make the 1024 cut can buy a laminated guide here for $1.25.
This is a brilliant marketing move from a company looking to make its programmers more accountable.