Gmail finally displays sender time zone

Mountain View (CA) – Unlike
most webmail services and desktop email programs, Gmail shows you the
time when a message was sent, based on your local time zone, making it
difficult to determine if a sender is asleep or at work when a
message reaches you. A new experimental Labs feature in Gmail finally
reveals the sender’s time zone info hidden in message headers,
including the sender’s current local time and handy icons that depict
his or her availability.

The Gmail web interface displays only the date when a
message was sent, despite of the fact that message headers in email
communications always include the time sent and often include the time zone
information as well. There was always teh capability to show the time when a message was
sent by clicking on the Show Details
link found at the top of the message view. However, the time
shown is your local time, not the sender’s local time when the message
was sent.

If you are like me, meaning you maintain correspondence
with contacts around the globe, you either have to remember teh differences between
time zones and calculate the senders’ local times in your head
or you rely on an online service like Time and Date
to do the math for you. Needles to say, both solutions are inconvenient
and often a waste of your time. A new experimental Labs
feature in Gmail, dubbed Sender Time Zone, finally solves this problem. As usual, Google illustrates the new feature with a hypothetical situation.

“Let’s say your girlfriend sends you an angry
email. It’s mostly about how you behaved at the party last night and
then left for a business trip without saying goodbye. You read it from
the other side of the globe, jet-lagged after a 12 hour flight. You
want to call and sort things out, but forget that it’s now almost 3:00
am her time. After waking her up, things only get worse,”
the company
wrote in a blog post.

Enabled through the Labs section of the Gmail web interface (click Settings, then Labs), this feature reveals the sender-time
field in the message header (if the time zone isn’t included for a
given message, this feature won’t display anything.) Provided info
includes the sender’s local time zone offset and local time when a
message was sent, as well as handy current time indicator in the sender’s time zone that updates in real-time.

latter can help you determine the best time to email your contact,
further illustrated by icons shown next to the sender’s name: Green
phone icon suggests your contact may be awake and available, meaning
it’s between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm in the sender’s local
time zone, while red phone icon tells you that a contact my be asleep
or out of
the office.

The new Senders Time Zone feature in Gmail shows you when a message was sent in the sender’s time zone as well as what time it is for them now. Red and green phone icons indicate that the sender may be asleep/out of the office (between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm in the sender’s local time zone) or available.