Google Labs announced their new preview pane functionality on Thursday. You can read their release (and instructions) here.
Now that Outlook, Yahoo! and Gmail all offer preview pane functionality, this will increase the number of email recipients choosing to sort through their inbox this way.
Large portions of Business to Consumer emails are sent to email addresses at Yahoo! and Gmail. General email best practices account for preview pane pain, so this serves as a great reminder to be reviewing your emails in actual inboxes before you send them to your subscribers.
This example from REI illustrates the importance of messaging hierarchy. Subscribers are viewing our emails in 350-400 pixels at a time. They should get a general sense of what your email is about in that area and an idea that there's more below.
Here are some email best practices reminders:
Personally, I'm excited to have preview pane functionality in Gmail. Their layout mirrors my work email and tablet user interface. It makes it really easy to flip through a couple messages at a time. I have to think this will also get me to actually view and download the messages I just "mark as read," so let's see what this does for open rates on messages sent to Gmail.