Gmail gets tasks

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Gmail gets tasks

Mountain View (CA) – Google’s Gmail team has been quite busy lately and has been rolling-out new features on an almost weekly basis. Earlier today, Google rolled out another significant and one of the most requested additions to the software: Tasks. Though tasks in Gmail is an experimental Labs feature that lacks depth, even the basic implementation may make Gmail fans happy.

A new tasks management feature is now available in Gmail to let users manage tasks from within the web-based email interface. Task management has been one of the most requested features in Gmail, especially since it comes as default in most desktop- and web-based email clients. Nevertheless, it was absent from Gmail so far, despite the fact that task management goes hand in hand with handling email. “Tasks is a way to help you keep track of what you need to do and what you’ve already done,” the Google Task team said in a statement.

The experimental-only feature first has to be enabled under the Labs tab in the Settings section of the Gmail web interface. From there, you can access tasks by clicking on the Tasks link right below the Contacts option in the left-hand part of the Gmail web interface, which will open a dialog for creating a new task. Alternatively, you can turn the currently open email message into a new task by choosing the Add to Tasks option from the drop-down menu labeled More Actions, which will automatically put the message subject as the subject of a new task and provide a link to the email message in the task body.

Since this is experimental Labs feature, it is not yet ready for prime time and features  may change, break or disappear at any time. For instance, the current incarnation of Gmail Tasks lacks basic features like setting reminders, sharing tasks with others or setting task priorities. Tasks integration with Google Calendar that we would expect from Google is also non-existent at this time.

Users who looking for more comprehensive task management features should check applications such as the excellent Remember the Milk service that integrates with Gmail, iGoogle and Google Calendar and provides offline functionality through Gears as well.

If keyboard shortcuts are enabled (General tab under the Settings section of the Gmail interface), you can use the following shortcuts in Gmail Tasks that will save you time:

– Open Task Box: “g” and then “k”
– Create New Task: ENTER
– Delete a Task: Delete the text and hit BACKSPACE
– Navigate Between Tasks: Arrows
– Indent/Unindent Tasks: TAB and SHIFT-TAB
– Reorder Tasks: drag and drop or CTRL-UP and CTRL-DOWN
– Main View/Detailed Toggle: SHIFT-ENTER
– Create a Task from Email Message: Shift-T (alternatively, choose Add to Tasks from the More Actions drop-down menu)

The search giant has been busy rolling-out several experimental Gmail features in the past months, such as Calendar and Docs integration that adds new gadgets with a list of recently edited documents from your Google Docs account. The most recent big Gmail update included performance optimizatiosn and user interface tweaks, in addition to themes that change the overall look and feel of the web interface.