In March 2018, a company called litmus released an analysis of 1.03 billion email users, looking at overall market share for all the major email programs. Gmail, Google’s own answer to personal and business email, came out at number 2 on the list, with around 22% of the market share. Apple’s own Mac email client, their iPhone client and iPad email offerings took the other top-4 spots, Microsoft Outlook being the only non-Apple email client to make the top-5, with just 7% of the share. Gmail has always been an easy to use client, with a look that strikes just the right balance between personal and professional, so it’s easy to see why it’s popular with both personal and business users.
The latest Gmail update
This week, Google began rolling out their latest update to Gmail, bringing a raft of new and improved functionality. The client has also been given a makeover, with a softer on-screen appearance and a broader spectrum of colour. However, overall the layout has remained pretty much the same, keeping things familiar and user-friendly, so you won’t get lost trying to compose an email.
The new functionality is primarily reserved for users of the PC web version of the client, and the update is being gradually rolled out in stages, so it may take a little while for everybody to receive these features. However, if you'd like to opt-in, you can do so through the small cog icon in the Gmail inbox. To do so, just click on ‘Try the new Gmail’. Below, we’ll look at the main changes to make it into this update.
Google have introduced a new type of menu to your Gmail client inbox, which produces a quick-access menu when you hover your mouse cursor over an email; this appears to the right-hand-side of the screen in your inbox. The menu bar contains four clickable icons, including an Archive function, Delete, 'Mark as Unread', and Snooze. The latter function lets you hide the email for a brief period, until you later decide to action it. The email will then be hidden until the specified date or time.
One of the most prominent changes to have been made is a change to the way that attachments are processed. Rather than having to open the email to access the attachment, the simple paperclip icon is replaced with file-specific attachment icons, allowing you to quickly spot that invoice or spreadsheet that you're looking for from a full list of results.
Integration with applications
Gmail has typically always been optimised to integrate with other applications from the Google suite of products, like the Google Calendar. Well, now applications such as this, Google Tasks and Google Keep are all integrated into Gmail, being displayed in a quick-access bar on the right of your email client inbox. Though this isn't anything new to programs such as Outlook, which integrates the Outlook email and calendar apps, Gmail's implementation offers much more than just the calendar.
You may have noticed that some email clients provide security alerts when dealing with an email that is thought to be malicious, or originating from a suspicious source. Well, Gmail have improved their security warning messages, making them easier to understand and more clearly displayed. They're bigger, bolder and make it easier to spot a potential scam email from a mile away, which is something we applaud given the high volume of scams circulating online.
Smart replies are something that you might be used to seeing built into your smartphone text message application, for example. They were already enabled for the mobile application versions of Gmail, but they've now been added into the web email client. These replies are non-personalised, fast responses that send a predetermined message; they’re useful in situations where you don’t have time to compose a message yourself, such as thanking somebody for making a payment, or confirming a meeting or appointment quickly.
More features on the way
Though these are just some of the features added to Gmail by Google this week, there are more useful features tipped to be coming in subsequent updates over the next month or two.
An offline support mode will be useful for any regular travellers who don’t always have internet access. Responding to, archiving and deleting emails will all supposedly be possible, with any actions taken being synchronised and carried out once you’re connected to an internet access point. Support for confidential emails is also said to be coming, which will let you set a self-destruct timer on emails you’ve sent to an individual or organisation, allowing you to remotely delete them on a timer. This could be useful for email messages that are sent containing identification or financial documents that could potentially be used to steal your identity.
Need any help?
If you need help getting set up with Gmail, or have been getting more suspicious emails than usual, then give WiseGuys a call on 0808 123 2820 and we can provide you with advice. We can also talk you through the other popular email clients available, as well as how to get your email inbox linked to your Apple or Android phone or tablet. Alternatively, you can email us with any technical questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org.