I am more of a browser person and never felt the need of a desktop email client like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird. These email clients have so many features but the one I have always liked and envied is the 3 way scrolling pane in Microsoft Outlook. All messages are lined up in one pane while you can preview a specific message in it’s dedicated preview pane. The third pane lets you navigate around your inbox, jump to a label and access other options.
This helps you save time as you don’t have to jump back and forth between messages and recursively refresh your inbox folder. You can quickly preview a message, reply to it and preview another one in fewer clicks.
Some good news for Gmail users, this feature is now available in Gmail labs and after you activate the preview pane Gmail labs feature from Gmail > Settings > Labs, your inbox should look something like this:
Few days back, Google introduced inbox styles which lets you choose a specific style for your Gmail inbox. It’s about time they have realized the frustration of folks like me who have to deal with dozens of email every single day.
With the 3 way pane setup, I am never really out of the inbox and can read and reply to messages directly from the inbox. The selected message open up in a new pane while existing messages from a label are accessible from the middle one. This also helps in better organization and I can refer to the headline and date of an earlier message while I am rushing out on a reply. Sweet!
You can either choose a vertical pane or a horizontal one cy clicking the small arrow icon at the right top corner of Gmail inbox. I will stick to the vertical pane as it produces an effect close to Windows Live mail desktop client.
All other Gmail labs features e.g keyboard shortcuts will continue to work in the split view. And this labs feature is not limited to the new Gmail theme by any means.
I must mention that preview pane looks a bit ugly in Firefox 5, with scrollbars and all. At least for me, it is ugly.
Looks like Google’s non verbal communication is going strong with each day Switch to Google Chrome, will you? We have also ditched Google toolbar for Firefox.