Gmail Gets its Biggest Overhaul in Six Years
Last month, Gmail launched their biggest redesign in email history. And long overdue it was – the last update to the look and feel of Gmail was all the way back in 2012!
While 2012’s lighter and airier look worked well with its 1.4 billion users, it did nothing to thrill. Since then, Gmail’s features have remained incredibly basic and largely neglected.
This refreshing update has brought Gmail back into the modern email era, with a fresh new interface that eases its users into a new world of Gmail possibilities. To complement the new visual design, Gmail have added features such as email nudging, snoozing and security warnings that aren’t immediately noticeable until you start playing around with it.
Jacob Bank, the Lead Project Manager for Gmail says the new update was designed with a focus on Google’s business customers and helps make people more productive while better protecting emails. In a more relaxed context, this business-focus doesn’t neglect your Average Joe either, as everyone can benefit from more efficient and safer emails.
So, what are some of these new features?
Keeping You and Your Data Secure
To make emailing safer, Confidential Mode has been introduced which gives the sender the ability to set an expiration date for sensitive emails - or to destruct them completely. The sender has complete control over the amount of time a recipient has access to an email, and how they can access it. For instance, senders can set the expiration date for an email to end alongside the completion of a project when access to data is no longer necessary.
Integrated Rights Management (IRM) is a new feature that lets the sender take much more control over where the email can travel to once its sent. The sender can prevent the email from being forwarded, copied, downloaded or printed. While this can’t prevent deliberate data extraction, or someone taking a screenshot on a phone, it means more effort is required for someone to share a confidential email. Google believes this will discourage people from doing so, which alleviates some of the concern over what could happen if an email is accidentally or unknowingly sent to the wrong person.
Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is a feature that requires the recipient to enter a password before accessing confidential data contained within an email. Again, building in extra layers to keep our emails extra secure, it seems that Gmail are getting ahead of the game in protecting our personal information.
The new Gmail also helps to prevent users from falling victim to Phishing. Google have invested in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that run safety checks on every message received. When these detect suspicious activity, such as an email that seems like it is from one of your contacts but comes from an unfamiliar email address – Gmail flags this up in an unmissable billboard. These act as a warning to prevent you from opening these and having your data stolen.
Enhancing Your Productivity and Efficiency
Gmail will ‘Nudge’ you when it’s AI detects an email it thinks is of importance but hasn’t been responded to yet. Nudging moves the email to the top of your inbox with an indication of how long ago it was received, encouraging you to give it your attention. In today’s world where everyone expects a prompt reply, this can save companies from missing an important email – which could be a costly mistake to make.
Similarly, you can switch on high-priority notifications for emails that Gmail identifies as urgent based on how quickly you typically respond to the sender. When an urgent project lands on your desk, this is incredibly helpful in helping you prioritise and put it above all else. Alternatively, you can also snooze less important messages for later.
Gmail can now be used in offline-mode, for example on a flight or train journey without any Wi-Fi. This particularly benefits people who travel a lot for work, removing the hassle of finding free Wi-Fi on the go. This has been a huge behind-the-scenes project for Gmail, requiring a complete overhaul of Gmail’s infrastructure – hence why this upgrade was a work in progress for so long.
It is no wonder these changes have been highly-anticipated. With this update, Gmail have been careful not to alienate its wide user-base by maintaining the feel and familiarity of the service. As you start to delve deeper, you uncover some seriously impactful functionalities that offer a promising insight into the future of Gmail.
How do you feel about the redesign? Do you love it as much as we do?
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