Gmail's new 'people widget' promotes contextual communication

Gmail People Widget

In attempt to provide more context when composing e-mails in Gmail, Google on Thursday said that it was adding a new "people widget" to the interface that will provide contextual information on the contact. Information will be culled from a number of sources.

"Email is just as much about the people you communicate with as it is what you communicate about," software engineer Zohair Hyder said in a blog post announcing the new feature. "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."

Sources of data will include previous e-mail conversations, shared documents, publicly available data from the recipients calendar, data culled from Google Buzz, and profile information. It will also provide an interface to allow for quick connection methods, including shared events and group chatting.

Access to the functionality will be rolled out to users over the next two weeks, the company said.

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