Gmail is changing soon – here’s a look at the new features

Google is giving Gmail a fresh new look and adding lots of useful features. Here’s a look at them and how you can get the new Gmail right now.

Google is giving Gmail a revamp with new features including a snooze button, nudges to reply, smart replies, tasks and self-destructing emails. We talked to Google’s LaToya Drake about the changes.

“This is the biggest Gmail update in history. There are about 1.4 billion users around the world and it was really time to think about how people use email these days,” explained Drake.

Photos and files front and center
You know how long it can take to find that PDF or image someone sent you somewhere in a long chain of back and forth email. Now Gmail will put associated files front and center right in the top level of your inbox.

Snooze Button
Don’t have time to respond to an email right now but don’t want to forget about it later? Hit the Snooze button and you’ll get an alert at a later time to respond.

“The snooze button allows you to do just that: snooze something and set a time when you want it to appear back in your email. This is something that might be helpful if you’re going on vacation,” said Drake.

Nudge to Reply
Ever have a great back and forth conversation with someone and then their latest message gets buried deep in your inbox? Google will take note and gently nudge you to reply to their email after a few days.

Smart Replies
One of my favorite features on mobile is now coming to the desktop. Gmail suggests three custom, short and sweet replies to a message. One tap and you can send a reply email without much typing at all.

“Google is not reading your email – no one has access to your private email. But what it does is it uses smart technology – machine learning is the word people use – and it is able to recommend a suggested response based on this intelligent technology that we use in Gmail,” said Drake.

There is a new Tasks app for iOS and Android, plus you can access your Tasks right inside Gmail. This will help with productivity and workflow. You can cut and paste some info into the tasks section of Gmail or write down some notes.

Easy Unsubscribe
It can be tough to unsubscribe to emails. But Gmail will now notice when you rarely open a subscription email and after a while will suggest that you unsubscribe.

Confidential Mode
You can set new options with a sensitive message such as removing the ability for someone to forward, copy, download or print the message. You can also set a message to “self-destruct” or expire after a certain amount of time. Keep in mind, someone can still always take a snapshot or screenshot of the email so this feature isn’t foolproof.

Want the new features now?
Go to Gmail, then look for the “settings” gear in the upper right-hand corner above your message list. Click and look for the option to “Try the new Gmail.” This is all rolling out, so the option might not be there just yet. Also, while Google tells me that everyone will eventually have to switch over to the new features, you won’t be forced to do so overnight.

“It is not lost on us that people do not like change, we know it can be jarring… Over time these features will be integrated into everyone’s Gmail, but you will have time to kick the tires and decide if you’re ready to make the plunge right now,” concluded Drake.