Gmail Labs introduces a new feature for Gmail for those users who would like to have a Preview Pane, much like the previews offered by desktop email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird. The above screen capture displays the Preview Pane in vertical mode, while the following shows the same message in horizontal mode.
You can switch from the main Inbox view to using either vertical or horizontal – or choose to turn off Preview Pane altogether – very easily.
I tried this out, and have to say that althought it looks more “familiar” in terms of what I expect to see in Thunderbird (my main desktop email client), I have been using Gmail for such a long time that this looked incredibly foreign to me, and really detracted from my Gmail experience. For those users making the transition from Outlook however, or rather the IT staff and trainers who might be aiding in such a transition, this feature could go a long way toward easing the perceived “pain” of switching email systems.
In order to activate the Preview Pane feature, click the gear icon at upper right in your Gmail window, then click Mail Settings, then under Labs find Preview Pane and click Enable. Save changes, then you’re back out to the Gmail interface. Refresh your browser page (hit F5 on your keyboard, a handy shortcut) and you will have the new functionality.
What do you think of the new Preview Pane option?