Gmail Adds Support For Multi-Pane Viewing

A new feature in Gmail Labs just launched, giving users the ability to simultaneously view multiple panes in Gmail without having to open another browser window. For users that frequently label their messages and have saved searches, this is a huge upgrade that will make Gmail even more efficient.

Since launching, Gmail users looking to view search results or a subset of their labeled messages saw their results take up their entire browser window. Now, you’ll be able to do multiple things at once.

To enable the feature, first activate Gmail Labs for your account, then enable “Multiple Inboxes” from the list of Labs options (you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it). The term Multiple Inboxes is a bit of a misnomer – you can’t actually show messages from other accounts, but that could still come in a future Labs release.

To set up your panes, go to the Gmail Settings menu and select “Multiple Inboxes” (once you’ve enabled them). From there, you can create up to five different panes. Creating a pane seems to be a little counter-intuitive – you’ll need to manually enter the Gmail ‘code’ of your label (for example, “label:friends” would display a list of messages tagged with the friends label). But the system is also flexible, as it allows you to combine multiple attributes into a single pane (for example, “is:drafts OR is:starred” would show messages that are either drafts or starred).

Google first launched Gmail Labs last June, giving Googlers a way to showcase the results of their 20% time. Labs apps have included everything from a version of the classic game Snake to features like SMS chat, Gadgets, and even Mail Goggles, meant to keep intoxicated users from sending drunken Emails that they’ll regret in the morning.

For more, check out Google’s blog post on the new feature here.