Google has updated its popular web-based email service Gmail with yet more features designed to improve usability and worker productivity, in this instance a new people widget.
Software engineer Zohair Hyder explained on the Google Enterprise blog that the widget displays on the right-hand side of every email, showing information about people in that particular conversation, including recent emails, shared documents and calendar events.
Gmail users can start a group chat or schedule a meeting with the contacts from the widget, Hyder continued.
"Email is just as much about the people you communicate with as it is what you communicate about," he said.
"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 colleagues and friends that is already available to you but may be hard to find and makes it easier to connect with them."
The widget is the latest in Google's attempts to make its webmail service even more useful to business professionals, as increasing numbers of firms switch to the cloud from traditional on-premise corporate email systems such as Microsoft Exchange.
Gmail has not been without its problems, however. A storage software update bug in February left tens of thousands of users with no emails in their inbox.
Google later apologised and was able to restore the messages, but it did nothing to reassure customers worried about service levels in the cloud.
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