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Pass me a fresh tab

July 2, 2009
no, not that kind...

no, not that kind...

Last night, Google added a new feature to its Gmail service. Now you can move everything around by clicking and dragging, like tabs on Firefox, or like how everything on a Mac works. I really didn’t get the point of the feature at first – all it seemed to have done was move my folders above Gchat, so that when I scrolled down to where they used to be, I thought they had escaped. I’ve now come to realize their usefulness, and how yet another program I use will now be forever tabbed. More after the jump.

Excel tabs on a Mac. Look at 'em!

Excel tabs on a Mac. Look at 'em!

Tabbing is an organizational tool that dates back to the seminal days of personal computers, with early instances occurring in programs we now see as indispensable, like Excel. Tabs are a hold-over from when we used to really file things, like paper in cabinets, or names on Rolodexes (in case you forgot what those were), but they’ve only recently started to appear all over your computer. Firefox has relied on them for browser window organization since their first build, Safari recently redesigned their tabs so you look obsessive-compulsively neat while browsing (I couldn’t even find them the first time I used 4.0). Even Internet Explorer got in on the action with 7.0. So Gmail seems to be jumping on a successful bandwagon by adding tabs, but remember, your computer has limits – by opening those extra tabs to show you Safari’s neat tabs, Safari crashed and I had to start this post over, as I’d not realized that I had upwards of 20 tabs open. Much like the maligned beverage above, there’s only so many tabs your computer can take before it will reject them.

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