Google today announced the graduation of three labs: Automatic Message Translation, Title Tweaks, and Smart Mute.
Google is constantly striving to provide new and better ways of using their products to their end users. One way they do this is through the Google Labs program. Essentially an extended beta, Google Labs allows Google to test functionalities and programs that its developers have been working on in the wider world. Eventually, if the Lab proves popular and useful, Google will incorporate it into its existing products. Today, Google announced the “graduation” of three Labs: Automatic Message Translation, Title Tweaks, and Smart Mute.
Title Tweaks changes the order of the text in the tab header for Gmail, allowing users to more easily see when they have unread email, and how many unread messages they have. Smart Mute adds improved algorithms to Google’s muting of emails, ensuring that noisy, constantly updating threads do not clutter up a user’s inbox. The most interesting new feature, however, is the new Automatic Message Translation.
Automatic Message Translation leverages Google’s translation servers to make any email received in a language foreign to the user automatically translate into that user’s native language. For example, if a user in California were to receive a message from a potential business partner in Shanghai, but the message were written in Mandarin, Google could automatically translate that message into English, facilitating communication between these two individuals. If desired, Gmail can leave messages in the original language as well if, for instance, the user happens to be multilingual; certain languages can be marked as “do not translate” in cases such as this.
During testing, Google learned from Apps for Business users that the automatic translation was a killer feature when dealing with multinational teams and coordinating projects across language barriers. Some users just wanted to read foreign newsletters, and they too loved this new feature.
Google will be rolling out these changes to their entire user base over the next few days. The original announcement can be read on Gmail’s official blog, located here.