If you use Google Chrome and keep the Gmail tab pinned all the time, this is the perfect feature for you. I’ve always hated the fact that when I pin Gmail tabs I can’t see how many unread emails I have. Turns out Manu C from Google had a similar issue and he came up with a Gmail Lab feature that allows you to display the unread email count right on the Gmail icon.
To enable this you need to go to Gmail -> Settings -> Labs. Now look for “Unread message icon” and enable it. A browser refresh generally makes it work but you may need to logout and login to display the icon. This lab feature only works with Chrome (version 6 and above) and Firefox (version 2 and above).
[via Gmail Blog]
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