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What You Need to Know About the Massive Gmail Update

Colleen Stinchcombe

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Causes & Culture

I'm the Community Editor at SheKnows. My perfect day would be camped in the middle of nowhere, reading an excellent book and writing something true.

The best features from the new Gmail update & how to activate them

Big news for Gmail users: Google has totally overhauled the look of the email service, and people are comparing the update to Microsoft Outlook — a much-improved comparison considering the previous functionality was a little dated.

And the new look? It's pretty great.

The best features from the new Gmail update & how to activate them
Image: Gmail/SheKnows

(I mean, has my spam folder ever looked so pretty? Never!)

But looks aren't everything, as you know, and what we're really happy about is all the new functionality the redesign incorporates. Here are the features most likely to improve your email experience.

The best features

Snooze emails

In the desktop version, you can hover over a tiny clock and snooze an email to reappear later when you have time to deal with it.

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Nudge

Google will try to intelligently recognize emails that are high-importance and send you a friendly “nudge” if it thinks you’ve forgotten to respond.

Open attachments without opening an email

This is just a tiny time-saving tweak, but you can now open an attachment without having to open the email thread.

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Tool panel for Tasks, Calendar & Keep

If, like me, you’ve been frustrated by toggling between Tasks and Calendar to get your workday straight, the new design integrates these (and Keep!) in a toolbar on the right-hand side of Gmail, allowing you to easily check in on what you need to do for the day and what your calendar looks like. Another amazing update? Google officially released a Google Tasks app for iPhone and Android. Praise be!

Confidential mode & other business-focused features

Confidential mode allows you to set an expiration date for sensitive emails you send or revoke them. It works by having the email live in your inbox and sending a link to the receiver. You can also turn on two-factor authentication, which will require the person to authenticate access to the email by passcode sent via text message.

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Another professional add-on is integrated rights management, the ability to block the forwarding, copying, downloading and/or printing of an email. That won’t protect people who really want to pass your info along from doing it, but it will hopefully keep more users from accidentally leaking info.

These new modes aren’t ready for immediate use. Google is hoping to have them ready in the coming weeks.

Improved security

Google has reportedly beefed up their warning systems for phishing scams — the practice of emails fraudulently appearing to be reputable companies in order to get personal information like credit card numbers and passwords.

How to enable the new Gmail

It's pretty simple: Look at your desktop Gmail, go to the gear cog in the top-right corner and click on “Try the new Gmail.”

Note that this might not be available to all users — it’s only being offered to some people at this time, and a larger rollout will be coming later. If you don’t see the option, be on the lookout for an announcement for full availability to users.

If your business uses Gmail, have an administrator activate it through the G Suite. You can find instructions for that on The Verge.

If you try the new look out and don’t want to keep it, you can change it back the same way you got it in the first place.

Happy emailing!

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