Gmail’s People Widget

Posted by Mally Mclane | Filed under gmail

These days, Email isn’t just about text – thanks to the power of modern web browsers, modern web design and new technologies, emails can now come to life with picture attachments, video attachments and audio attachments, along with richly formatted text.

In Gmail, by default, a feature called the ‘People Widget’ is turned on. It appears to the right of your inbox and looks like:


It’s used to display connected information about the person you are currently conversing with, such as:

  • Information about your contact, which may include information such as their name, email address or occupation. This information comes from your account’s Contact Manager.
  • Recent email your contact sent you
  • Thumbnails of recent photos your contacts sent you
  • Google Calendar events if your contact’s Calendar is shared with you
  • Google documents shared with both you and the contact

The idea behind this is that it as emails can contain so much more information these days (and we send a lot more email!), it can make finding certain items difficult.

NB: It will only display items already sent to you, and will only show them if you’re viewing an email from the person who sent it to you. It won’t show them to anyone else.

There may be circumstances where you don’t want to use the People Widget (e.g. if you receive personal photos/emails on your work account), so if you ever decide you don’t want to see the people widget, you can do so by doing the following:

  1. Click the  gear in the top right.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. On the General tab in Settings, select the ‘Hide the people widget’ radio button.
  4. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.



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