Google Makes Gmail Labs International

Custom goodies now available to non-English speaking countries.

Google had promised everyone a ‘big surprise’ this week to mark the fifth anniversary of Gmail and now we know what it is we’re pleased – for everyone else…

Causing us to feel all kinds of underwhelmed (and then guilty about it) is the announcement that Gmail Labs will now be rolled out to non-English speakers around the globe.

“You may wonder, since most Gmail features are available in almost every supported language immediately at launch, why Labs hasn’t been,” said Gmail Engineering Manager Pal Takacsi. “The truth is that Labs itself is a bit of an experiment – it came out of people’s 20% time, and we weren’t sure if it would really work. Specifically, we thought there was a chance that everything would just break… fortunately, it seems to be working pretty well so far. So we figured, why not.”

The expansion causes a huge programming challenge since every Gmail user requires a custom version of JavaScript based on the Labs features they have employed. With 43 Labs at present that translates to 2 to power of 43 (~8 trillion) possible versions of the Gmail JavaScript and the new language support it increases to a remarkable 49 x 2 to to the power of 43 (~430 trillion) versions. If I had a penny for…

Non-English speakers look for the new Labs setting in tabs (or local translation thereof), switch it on and feel free to experiment with everything from major additions such as Offline mode, to Picassa, YouTube and Flickr integration and even frivolity like Canned responses.

For the rest of us, well – there’s no change which is why we feel underwhelmed (and guilty)…

…and yes, it’s ”still” in beta.

Official Blog Post

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