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Are ‘Shelfies’ the next big trend? Google adds shareable selfies to Gmail

On April 1, 2014, Google marks the 10th anniversary of Gmail, and to celebrate, it is launching a new feature called “Shareable Selfie,” or “Shelfie” for short. Since selfies are all the rage right now, Google thought it would celebrate Gmail’s birth with a gift of custom imagery that’s all about the user.

“When Custom Themes launched back in 2012, we urged you to find ‘your perfect image and make Gmail your own,’” wrote Gmail Software Engineer Greg Bullock, in the Gmail blog. “And you did. Many of you rushed to take photos of yourselves to upload as your Gmail Custom Theme, which you started referring to as ‘selfies.’

“As the pioneering platform for selfies, Gmail is committed to being at the forefront of innovation in the selfie space. And we think it’s a tragedy that your handsome hair, luscious lashes, and beautiful brows have been trapped in your own inbox. Until now, that is,” Bullock added.

Katty Perry

Now, Google gives users the ability to share those custom theme selfies with others. “With just a few clicks, your mom, your aunt, or that girl you have a crush on can set your Shelfie as their Gmail theme so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background.” To use the new feature, simply refresh your Gmail page, and set your theme. You can use a photo in your Google+/Picasa account, or snap a new shot with your webcam. Not feeling photogenic? Use one of the top-trending Gmail Shelfies or see what’s currently trending on the Gmail Google+ page. The current top-trending Shelfie, as of this writing, seems to be of Miss Piggy, but prior ones include Katy Perry with her cat, Monkey, and snowboarder Sage Kostenburg – possibly marketing collabs.

Of course, as you’ve probably guessed from the date, it’s another Google attempt at an April Fools’ joke, albeit a terribly weak one when you compare it to Google Maps Pokemon (we’re beginning to wonder if Googlers do any actual work during this time). But besides the joke, April 1 really is Gmail’s birthday, and this is an actual feature you can use. As for Gmail being responsible for the selfie phenomenon? No so much. If you, like us, are old enough to remember, Gmail was once so exclusive you had to beg an existing user for an invitation.

(Via Official Gmail Blog)