Gmail changes – security, snoozing and a snazzy side panel

Gmail changes – security, snoozing and a snazzy side panel

What is it that we want from our email accounts? As an integral part of our home and working lives, we all depend heavily on our emails and use them daily. For some, it’s the first thing they check in the morning and the last thing at night, so high quality user experience is a big deal – and Google knows it! New changes brought out yesterday add extra tools and features as well as increased security settings, with a fancy updated interface. Google also promise that they have only added fabulous new shiny things, not taken any of our old favourites away…

Most noticeably there is a new side-bar for calendar, notebook and task list; syncing and creating events found in emails as well as storing to-do lists and scribbled ‘notes-to-self’. I already use ‘Keep’ for notes, but now my hurriedly-jotted ‘lightbulb moments’ are even easier to jot down. I’m super excited to use ‘Tasks’ – a function users have been screaming for, for years. The side-bar also allows multiple Add-Ons, with the selling-point that a huge range of tasks can be done in one place rather than toggling between windows.

Security-wise, the phishing system has been updated with bolder warnings – they’re literally bright red, you can’t miss them – and you can set expiration dates for sensitive content which prevents forwarding or downloading of information. There is also an option to send a one-time password via text to ensure that your email is only read by the intended recipient.

Back to the fun stuff, there are added ‘snooze’ and ‘nudge’ features, which bring to mind the idea of reading emails snuggled on a beanbag with a hot chocolate… What they actually do is allow you to ‘shelve for later’ low-priority messages (that’s the snooze), and the system will send you alerts (the nudge!) when it detects time-sensitive content that you haven’t responded to. The latest AI systems do have a slight ‘big-brother’ feel about them, but this time he’s a helpful big brother keeping you from missing out on opportunities and appointments that can so easily get missed.  

Overall, the changes are being spoken of as fairly business-centric, but this should be no skin off the noses of personal account users as the simplicity of the ‘classic Gmail’ remains. Besides, some new features such as the ‘newsletter unsubscribe’ prompt will be useful to everyone – recognising a mailing list you haven’t engaged with for months and recommending a quick unsubscribe. I know my personal account is full of these – pizza discount anyone!?

The new Gmail is now on a global roll-out for personal and G-suite customers which could take a few weeks or months to complete. For personal accounts, you can check if the roll-out has reached you by going to your top right ‘Settings’ and clicking ‘Try the New Gmail’. For G-Suite customers Mine worked right away and I’ve loved exploring the new features – I hope you do too!

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