In Depth

Google’s new Gmail: five key changes in the 2018 redesign

Self-destructing emails and heightened security feature in the update

Google is launching the most extensive redesign of its Gmail service in years, featuring a brand new look and a host of security features. 

The raft of upgrades will be coming to Gmail’s online service, which can be accessed through web browsers such as Chrome and Safari. 

Google’s Gmail app for smartphones will not see the changes as this service undergoes updates more frequently. 

Upgrades to the web service will be rolling out over the coming weeks. Here are five key changes Gmail users can expect: 

An all-new look

Gmail’s design has only undergone minor tweaks in recent years, says Wired, but the new version has a revamped style in a bid to catch up with key rivals such as Microsoft’s Outlook. 

The overall layout of Gmail appears to be similar to the older version, but the update has a brighter interface with a white background and more colourful menu symbols. The service also appears to be more streamlined. Easy-to-access menu tabs run along the top of the interface. 

Nudging and snoozing

Users who receive hundreds of emails a day can miss important messages, so Google has introduced a new nudging mode to ensure high-priority memos are never sent to the bottom of the pile. 

The system works using an artificial intelligence (AI) programme developed by the internet giant, TechCrunch reports. This scans your emails and finds the select few that are high priority. 

The AI then pins those emails to the top of your inbox for several days until you reply to the message, says TechCrunch.  

Meanwhile, Gmail users can choose to be re-alerted to an email using the new Snooze function, a similar feature to an alarm clock. 

Users who spot an important email, but do not have the time to respond to it, can be sent another alert about the message at a later time, says Business Insider. You can receive a second alert from Gmail either later in the day or at a future date of your choice.  

Self-destructing emails

Another new option in the Gmail update is “Confidential Mode”, says NBC News. This allows users to choose whether an email can self-destruct after a certain amount of time. 

According to the news site, users can select whether the email they send vanishes from the receiver’s inbox after 24 hours, five days or even up to a year. 

Two-factor security

Google is offering two-factor authentication where Gmail users must verify access to their emails after typing in their password. This is designed to protect users’ accounts for several years. The company is now expanding the security feature for emails. 

According to Digital Trends, users can send an email that requires a security code to access. Gmail automatically sends the code to the recipient’s phone or tablet, which he or she must input when opening the email in order to view it. 

This helps ensure the recipient is the only person who opens the confidential email, even if the user’s Gmail account has been left open on a public computer. 

High-priority notifications

Notifications for high-priority emails have been available on the Gmail smartphone app for some time, but now they’re coming to the web version of the service. 

This mode uses Google’s AI programme to sift through high-priority emails that enter a user’s inbox, identifying which ones are vital to the receiver, The Verge says, and which ones can be viewed at a later date.

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