Get Ready For Big Gmail Changes
Google's Gmail service is getting some major updates that will begin rolling out over the coming weeks. But don’t panic; the “send” button won’t move out of your sight (hopefully). Several of the changes look quite welcome, so let’s take a look at what’s in store...
What's New in Gmail?
Gmail, the web-based email service from Google, reported a user base of 1.2 billion users in the summer of 2017. So every time they make changes to the interface, about 1.2 billion people heave a collective sigh, and resign themselves to figuring out what's new.
That's the good and the bad of web-based apps. You never have to install a new version, or apply security patches. Those things happen automatically, and there's no way to cling to an old version. If it takes each user just 10 minutes to learn what has changed, and how to adapt, it will consume a total of 200 million person-hours worldwide. Let's hope those changes result in marginally improved productivity.
Cosmetic changes to the desktop Gmail interface are expected to make it look and feel more like the mobile Gmail app. That may be described as “lighter, cleaner, less cluttered” or “unhelpful, confusing, empty” depending on one’s personal tastes. It remains to be seen whether themes will be preserved as an option. The new Gmail will be more icon-driven, and will offer three different layouts dubbed “default,” “comfortable,” and “compact.” Talk about non-descriptive descriptions!
Starting in June 2018, the ability to read, write, and search email while offline will no longer require a standalone app as it now does. Instead, this handy capability will be baked into the Chrome browser, which every gourmet Googler uses. (Seriously, Gmail with any other browser is incomplete, although you may not miss what’s missing.) The only things you can’t do offline are send and receive Gmail, obviously; when you get back online, Gmail automatically syncs all your mail.
Other Google services will become available from within the Gmail Web interface. Some of these additions have been on users’ wish-lists for a long time, while others most people have not even heard of. Google Calendar, for instance, is a natural fit with Gmail where people plan joint activities, appointments, vacations, etc. Google Keep, the ad hoc Post-It Note(™) style note-taking app, is not exactly a household word. Integrating such obscure services with the popular Gmail will bring them to more users’ attention, for better or worse.
One feature that I find useful on the mobile version of Gmail is "Smart Reply." Using machine learning and the context of the message, Gmail provides suggested one-click replies such as "Sure, Monday works for me," "So sorry to hear that," or "Cool, I'll check it out!" Smart Reply will be available on your desktop Gmail with the rollout of the new interface.
Snoozing and Expiring Email Messages
“Snooze” is the ability to schedule the sending of an email at a future time. It’s popular among sales reps, managers, and people who need an alibi. (“But look, I was here at my desk emailing birthday greetings to Grandma! That couldn’t have been me at the scene of the crime!”) It’s also profitable for developers of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps like Bananatag and Mailtag, so I doubt they are pleased to know that Google will soon give it away for free.
“Expiring” emails are the flip side of Snoozing emails, a feature also found in ProtonMail. You can set a date and time at which the email you are about to send will no longer be accessible by the recipient. Expiration is a security feature; it ensures that no confidential messages are hanging around beyond a specified date. In addition, the recipient of an expiring email won’t be able to print, forward, download or use copy/paste on the message.
TechCrunch has obtained some early screenshots of the new Gmail interface, if you want a sneak peek. What do you think of the new features coming soon in Gmail? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 19 Apr 2018
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Get Ready For Big Gmail Changes (Posted: 19 Apr 2018)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved