Ever get the feeling that your email experience is a little too predictable? I certainly have. Over the past few months, I've been working on Gmail Clips, a new feature that can help mix things up a bit. Starting this week, you can see headlines from your favorite blogs and news sites right above your Inbox. Gmail tips and relevant text ads appear from time to time as well.

I had a lot of fun working on this feature, and biased as I may be, I have to say I really love Clips. No new mail? Great, then I have time to read why pasta is made in different shapes. And even if I do have mail I should be getting to, maybe I'm in the mood to digress for a moment and investigate The Divine Secrets of the Cycle Commuter.

Clips are full of headlines like these. They can come from any website that publishes an RSS or Atom feed. We've included some popular feeds for you to choose from, but it's easy to tailor Clips to your interests (for example, I get running tips). You can browse popular feeds, search for feeds using keywords, or add a specific feed—like, say, your friend's blog, or maybe the Google Blog — by pasting its URL in your Clips settings.

Now if you're one of those task-oriented types with no time for diversions, you can always turn Clips off. But then you'd miss cow-tipping exposed as a near-impossibility.