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On Thursday Google announced a two-week roll-out of a new Gmail feature – the people widget. The addition places a small column alongside every email which displays relevant, contextual information relating to friends and contacts in that conversation.

All accounts should receive the upgrade within the next fortnight and once active the widget lists recent emails, Buzz posts, shared documents and calendar events on the right hand side of email messages. Quick access to instant messaging, group chat and scheduling meetings with persons in the conversation also make an appearance.

In a post on the official Gmail blog Software Engineer Zohair Hyder announced:

“We think it can be helpful to view relevant information in context, which is why over the next two weeks we’re rolling out a new people widget located on the right hand side of your messages. The people widget surfaces content from friends, family and colleagues that is already available to you but may be hard to find and makes it easier to connect with them.”


What do you think of the new feature? Has it shown up on your account yet? Clutter or timesaver? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Gadgets For Blogger
    June 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    cool, but they have standalone apps for this chat?

  2. Guest
    June 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Still not in my Gmail either and its been about two weeks. 

  3. Julius Leachman III
    June 6, 2011 at 8:40 am

    I've yet to see this widget appear in my Gmail. Does it have to be activated through Labs...?

    • Tina
      June 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      Maybe they haven't completed the roll-out yet. It has not been two weeks, yet.

  4. 2dougmac
    May 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Why can't email just be email?

    I haven't seen it on mine, yet, but I'll be looking for ways to disable it. Sorry, just feel like I have to be integrated or bundled into aspects of life that I'd rather serve one purpose only.

  5. David Bain
    May 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Would Rapportive and similar tools need to be disabled to see it?