Hey Readers, today we’ll talk about the Google’s mail – Gmail Update.
Gmail, the most popular email service in the world, got its first major overhaul since 2011 on Wednesday. The addition of a whole host of new features is aimed at making Google’s email service smarter, more secure and easier to use. Most of the features included in the redesign were leaked almost a month ago and have been doing the rounds on the internet since. On Wednesday, Google put a stamp of confirmation on much of these rumoured changes with a blog post announcing new features that the tech titan will roll out slowly but surely to its users worldwide. We bring you a roundup of all the changes that revamped Gmail will sport:
1. Shortcuts in Preview
Google has added an Email Shortcuts feature to your Gmail inbox using which you will be able to access actions such as Delete, Mark as Read, Archive and Snooze right at the email preview instead of having to open an email to get to these actions. To get to these shortcuts, you just need to hover your mouse over an email conversation. While the Delete, Mark As Read and Archive functionalities were already available on Gmail, Snooze a new addition introduced as part of the upgrade. In addition to this, apps shortcuts such as Google Calendar, Keep and Tasks will also placed on the right edge. For now, the shortcuts for apps are available only for the Gmail inbox.
2. Snooze your messages
We all have those moments when we receive an important email that requires a carefully drafted reply, we put it off until we are in the right headspace and just too often forget all about it. The new Snooze feature on Gmail will take care of this problem by making a message disappear from your inbox only to pop-up again at a time chosen by you. To use this feature, you need to select the Snooze option from the shortcuts mentioned before and choose for it to resurface in your inbox Later Today, Tomorrow, This Weekend, Next Week or even Someday. Alternatively, you can select a specific time or date or both for Gmail to bring an email back to your attention.
3. Nudge to reply
Gmail will also sport a Nudge feature that uses AI capabilities to prompt users to respond to and follow up on email exchanges. For instance, if you haven’t replied to an email that has been sitting in your inbox for a considerable amount of time, the Nudge feature will remind you to get to it with prompts like, ‘Received X days ago. Reply?’. Similarly, for sent emails, the prompts will read, ‘Sent X days ago. Follow up?’. Perfect antidote to procrastination.
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4. Smart replies
We have all been seeing/using the Smart Reply buttons in our Gmail apps for almost a year now. The feature adds three contextual responses to any email right at the bottom, allowing you the option to choose the most appropriate one. For instance, if Gmail detects a question in an email, it will give the option to Smart Reply with Yes, No or May be. Or if it is an offer or proposal, you get suggested replies such as Let’s Do It, Not Interested and Sounds Good to Me. The functionality will soon be extended to email service irrespective of the platform you are using it on. The feature comes in real handy when you have to send a quick confirmation but don’t have the time to type out a full-blown reply.
5. Pop-up attachments
Just like the shortcuts for action buttons, attachments are also now available in-line, meaning you can access them directly without having to open the email. Once the functionality is rolled out, all your PDFs, photo attachments and documents will appear in a pop-up window, readily available to be read, seen or downloaded. If the attachment is a Google Doc, the pop-up will take you to a new tab. This can prove to be a time saver when you need to quickly access an attachment in an already read email.
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6. Confidential mode
The Confidential Mode has emerged as one of the most talked about features of the upgrade, as it adds an extra layer of security to your email exchanges. The new feature powered by Information Rights Management (IRM) offers users an option to prevent a recipient from copy-pasting, downloading, forwarding and printing the contents of an email. The functionality also extends to emails sent to non-Gmail accounts. In that case, you send out a link instead of an actual email. The recipient of the mail will be able to see the content of the email by clicking on the link. In addition to this, the Confidential Mode also adds a self-destructing character to emails, allowing users to set an expiration date to an email and the messages will automatically expire as per the pre-set timeline. There is also an option for recipient verification in this feature that relies on the good ol’ two-factor authentication via SMS passcodes that Gmail has been using for quite some time now.
7. Offline mode
Borrowing from the offline mode available on Google Docs and Google Maps, the web version of Gmail will also add an offline navigation mode. With this mode, users can write, respond to, delete, search and archive messages up to 90 days old, allowing uninterrupted work even in the absence of stable internet connectivity. The feature will also be extended to the G Suite subsequently.
8. Risk alerts
The web version of Gmail will also display risk alerts for emails it detects to have come from a potentially unreliable or suspicious source. The risk warning will display a prompt in red that read, ‘This message seems dangerous’, and come with a ‘Delete Now’ button. The risk alert feature will definitely reduce the incidence of users falling for phishing mails or impersonation scams, and save them from clicking on harmful links.
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9. Changes in the mobile app
While Google has been lavish with changes and upgrades to the web version of Gmail, the Android and iOS apps have received their share of updates too. This includes High Priority Notifications feature that will notify users about important mail threads and emails from high priority addresses, allowing access to them without having to filter through the lot of messages in your inbox. This is also an AI-powered feature that allows Gmail to assign priority to certain emails and addresses from work, family etc. In addition to this, Gmail app will now have an unsubscribe shortcut that will allow users to unsubscribe to newsletters they don’t bother opening. The Unsubscribe or Refuse prompt will be displayed right at top of the inbox. This is a big win for spam removal and will offer us all big relief from that constant stream of spam mails trickling into our inboxes.
All these new features will be rolled out in a phased manner over the next few weeks, and will be available for both personal and G Suite accounts. You can check out these features by clicking the ‘Try the new Gmail’ option on the top right of your Settings page. However, since the features are not yet available to all users across the globe, there is a good chance that you may have to wait a while before the ‘Try the new Gmail’ prompt makes an appearance in your account.
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