Gmail Labs has rolled out three new features to beef up the popular email client's Reply feature. How can you improve something as simple as Reply, you ask? Well, in at least three ways: Quote selected text, Default 'Reply to all,' and Vacation time. First, the simple Quote selected text feature generates a reply with the currently selected text. Just select the text you want to quote and then hit 'r' (the keyboard shortcut for Reply). This one seems like the most buggy, and the Official Gmail Blog admits it doesn't work in Chrome or Safari yet. (I even had a little trouble getting it to work in Firefox.) The other worked much better.
The next one is simple: Default 'Reply to all' does exactly what it sounds like: replaces the Reply button in the top right of emails with Reply to all by default. The idea behind it:
When we're working on features for Gmail, the email etiquette on the team is to reply all so everyone involved is kept in the loop. Mark was an intern here this past summer who got frustrated when he'd reply to an email only to realise that he forgot to reply all and had to resend the message. Thus, this Labs feature, which makes reply all your default selection.
It doesn't change the keyboard shortcuts, so 'r' still does a single reply and 'a' will reply to all.
Finally, the Vacation time feature adds something tremendous to the vacation auto-responder: It allows you to schedule your vacation so you don't have to do it manually when your vacation starts—and you don't forget to turn it off once you get back. It's simple, smart, and fills a need. Doesn't get much better than that.