Google announced a major overhaul of its Gmail application. The new features can be grouped broadly into security, artificial intelligence, new tools and user interface. This is a quick first look.
Don’t expect to see the new look the next time you log into your Gmail account – in order to enable the new Gmail you need to opt in first by clicking on “Settings” and then “Try the new Gmail”.
If you have a corporate G Suite account and you don’t see this option then ask your G Suite Admin to enable this option for your company’s accounts.
Some of the announced new features are not available just yet and will be rolled out in the coming weeks. The same goes for personal Gmail accounts. It may take a few more weeks before the option to switch is enabled for all Gmail accounts.
With the new Gmail Google offers additional tools to users to help make their data more secure. Users can set an expiration date for emails that contain sensitive data. Once expired the email content can no longer be viewed. You can also block emails from being forwarded to other people. Bigger and bolder warnings point out potentially risky emails to users visually. These are useful new features.
The so-called “AI-powered features” in the new Gmail are Nudging, Smart Reply and high-priority notifications. Google can remind you (“nudge”) that you need to reply to and email that it thinks is awaiting reply. It can also suggest to unsubscribe from a newsletter since we don’t seem to read this particular newsletter anymore. In other words, Google makes it wonderfully convenient for us to give away control over our own life. These are somewhat scary features.
The new Gmail layout features a slim column to the right that can be expanded in order to access other Google services such as Google Calendar. That really seems like a handy new add on to me since I can quickly check my calendar while writing an email. Other tools are Notes and Tasks (to name the two other default tools) but there are plenty of 3rd party tools that can be added.
The updated user interface is more streamlined with Google’s Material Design specification. Subtle use of white space makes it look more elegant and less cluttered. Definitely a step up!
I won’t miss the old Gmail.