In my latest source code inspection, I found more snippets code that foreshadow upcoming features in Gmail. As far as I know, these features aren't available in the current version — I couldn't reproduce them and there is no documentation in the Help area.
As many of you probably know, depending on the content of email recieved through Gmail, special links are displayed above the advertisements on the right. Google currently tracks packages for UPS, gives us maps and lets us add events to our calendars with these links — but it looks like that list is about to get bigger.
In addition to it's current functionality, the code suggests FedEx and USPS (United States Postal Service) tracking numbers will be detected by Gmail to further satisfy your package tracking needs. This might be old news, but I don't recall hearing about it or seeing it in action. I wonder how long it will take for others like DHL and Purolator to be included in this list?
oe["ou"]="Track UPS package";
oe["osp"]="Track USPS package";
oe["ofd"]="Track FedEx package";
The piece of code that really caught my attention though was the line directly below these that says "Get prices". When Gmail detects a product within an email, I'm guessing it will soon display a link on the right that takes you to a Froogle result page for that item. I was unable to reproduce this behaviour in the current version of Gmail, so it must something they are working on. The icon that will be used for this feature is here.
This could open up a huge can of worms for Google. For example, if a company sends a legitimate promotional email to a customer about a product, Google now makes it easy for that customer to find cheaper prices from right inside that email. Gmail users won't complain, but it could leave a sour taste in the mouths of some retailers. For features like these, is it possible to not be evil for both users and businesses?