Google tweaks Gmail tasks, improves editing and management

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Mountain View (CA) – It appears that Google is serious about Gmail tasks after all.
Although the search giant unveiled tasks in the Gmail web interface
about three months ago, the company has been diligently working on improving
its basic functionality, having rolled Gmail tasks to mobile phones, as
well as Google Apps hosted services and iGoogle home page. But the
feature still has a long way to go before it can replace other similar
services or dedicated task management applications on our cellphones.
Yesterday, the search giant added new editing features that let you
merge and split tasks, as well as move them between task lists — finally!


Google added tasks
to the ever-growing list of Gmail features a little over three months
ago. A useful addition allowed users basic creation and editing of
tasks in the cloud right from within the Gmail web interface. In the
meantime, the company has also been busy extending tasks functionality to
mobile, in addition to versions that run on your own domain and iGoogle
home page. The latest improvement comes in a form of new editing
functionality that lets you move tasks between task lists more easily,
in addition to merging and splitting tasks. The current interface didn’t
provide an easy way of moving a task or bunch of tasks from the main list to
another lists without re-entering them.

Move, merge and split tasks

To
move a task to another list, click on the arrow (or use Shift-Enter) to
the right of the task and a drop-down with all task lists will
appear at  the bottom of the screen. Just select another list, and
leave the screen by clicking Back to list. If you want to split a single task into two tasks or merge two existing tasks, use Enter and Backspace as you would normally.

Since
tasks are currently an experimental Gmail feature, they are not turned on
by the default. Instead, you have to turn the feature under the Labs tab found in Gmail Settings. Click Save to reload the web interface, at which point Tasks link will appear near the Contacts in the left-hand column of the web interface.

Mobile tasks: on your mobile, domain and iGoogle home page

Following
the initial release of Gmail tasks, Google later enabled tasks access
to users running a suite of Google Apps hosted services on their own
domains, found at the http://mail.google.com/tasks/a/your domain/ URL. The company then moved to extend Gmail tasks to a number of XHTML-enabled mobile devices,
including the iPhone and Android. Mobile tasks enable users to have
their tasks in perfect sync across their desktops, notebooks and on the go devices. To access
the Gmail tasks version that’s optimized for a mobile phone, visit gmail.com/tasks via your mobile browser and login with your Google Account.

While
the mobile version doesn’t bring the full editing functionality found in
its desktop counterpart, users who access mobile tasks on their
supported cellphones can still add new tasks and check them off, and the mobile
version doesn’t yet support the new editing features described at the
beginning of this article. For iPhone users, mobile Gmail tasks can
serve as a nice, free-of-charge replacement for the similar Post-it
applications found in the App Store, of which some are free and some paid. In
addition to mobile tasks, Google also brings a Gmail tasks gadget that
can be added to your personalized iGoogle home page.

Remember the milk?

While a third-party online service called Remember the Milk
offers more advanced tasks management, in addition to offline access
and integration with Google’s services (Gmail, Google Calendar,
iGoogle, Gears), the company stresses that Gmail tasks are still an
experimental Labs feature. Google promises tasks integration with
Calendar, notifications, sharing and sync options once Gmail
tasks makes it out of Labs.


NEW EDITING FEATURES IN GMAIL TASKS
The updated
Gmail web interface for tasks now lets you easily move existing tasks
between your task lists, in addition to splitting a single task into
two tasks or merging two existing tasks using the Enter and Backspace
keys. At the time of this writing, these useful tweaks have not yet
trickled down to the mobile web interface, and more integration is promised once Gmail tasks makes it out of Labs.

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