In a move sure to please organizational fanatics, Google has graduated Tasks from Gmail Labs. In and of itself, it's not big news, since anyone's been able to enable the feature inside their own accounts since late 2008. It is, however, the first thing to graduate from Gmail Labs, which is a proving ground for features Google does not think to be ready for prime time.
In a blog post about the promotion, Google made it clear that less popular Labs features may eventually get the axe, however the company has not made a public listing of how the various features rank. To its credit, Tasks was not relegated to Gmail alone, which could be one of the big factors in its success. Google spun it out to Google Calendar, as well as making it a standalone widget that could be accessed off site.
Tasks is also one of the most vanilla, yet marketable of all of the Labs add-ons. It shares company with things like mail goggles--a tool that makes you do math problems when attempting to send late night e-mails, an instant message translator that can convert messages written in other languages, along with an add-on that lets users navigate their in-boxes with mouse gestures. While neat, these fully-functioning features are less marketable to enterprise customers looking to consolidate their organizational tools.
Google Calendar gets labs section
Along with the graduation of Tasks, Google has brought a labs section over to its calendar service. There are now six experimental features that can be used to enable additional features such as changing the look and feel of your calendar with a background image, or seeing when your next meeting is going to occur down to the number of hours and minutes.
Google has also created a public API that will let application developers create widgets that exist alongside the calendar. This will likely speed up the development of things users can add-on to their calendars, the same way it did when Google opened up development for its mapping applications. Google has still not done this with Gmail, and instead, has chosen to have developers come to it when wanting to create new add-ons such as the content plug-ins for sites like Yelp and Flickr.