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(Pocket-lint) - It seems like only yesterday that Gmail launched - offering us all a whopping 1GB of storage space via a rudimentary blue-and-white interface. Now, though, Google’s signature email service is all grown up. That's right, somehow Gmail is over 15 years old. It debuted on 1 April 2004 and now has more than 1.5 billion users.

If you're among those users, you may be wondering how to get the most out of your email client. Gmail is a robust platform with numerous hidden features, so, to get you up to speed, here are 15 of our favourites.

Best Gmail features

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Smart Reply

If only replying to emails was as easy as reading them, especially when you're on the go. Those moments, like when you’re trying to navigate foot traffic on the sidewalk or make sure you catch your train, make it pretty impossible to compose a response. But Gmail makes it easier with Smart Reply, which uses AI to suggest responses based on what you’re most likely to write back.

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Smart Compose

Similarly to Smart Reply, there's also a Smart Compose. It helps you quickly compose an email by using AI to suggest words you’re most likely to write next. The feature, which was released in 2018, is able to learn what your common phrases are to make it easier to write quick messages.

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If you receive a ton of emails throughout a workday, you might’ve noticed it can get a bit hectic making sure you’ve responded to every one of them. Nudge helps make sure you get back to everyone by resurfacing emails you haven’t responded to toward the top of your inbox.

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Gmail search

The best feature of all has been around from the very beginning. Google combined what it was best known for at the time -- its search chops -- with an email service. The Gmail search bar allows you to intuitively find a specific message or piece of information hidden away in that mess you call an inbox. You can even use words or symbols (or search operators) to filter your search results. There's also advanced search, which allows you to search emails based on what words they contained or the size of files that were attached to them.

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Archive your emails

Gmail offers users 15GB of free space on all accounts. But if you happen to use the archive function a lot, you've likely found yourself paying up for more space. Gmail allows any user to archive emails so that they can tidy up their inbox without having to permanently delete messages.

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Undo sent mail

Whether it’s an important email with a glaring typo or accidentally hitting Reply All, sometimes you send an email you immediately regret. But Gmail has covered our behinds since 2015, by giving us the ability to delete a message up to 30 seconds after we’ve hit send. Phew.

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Switching between Gmail accounts

If you’re someone who has a work email and a personal email, Google’s ability to flip effortlessly between multiple accounts has been a godsend. In the past, if you wanted to access a different email account, then it usually meant logging out and logging into the other account. Gmail solved that in 2014 when it added the ability to stay logged into and switch between several Gmail accounts

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Add external accounts

Gmail is constantly getting better, which is unfortunate if you’re still tied to an old email service on Yahoo or AOL. We get it. It’s a chore to switch everything all over. But, thanks to a handy feature, that’s no longer a problem. In Gmail Settings, you can connect your Yahoo or Hotmail address, for instance, and start receiving and sending messages all within the Gmail app. 

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Confidential mode

Confidential Mode allows you to add expiration dates to your emails in order to better ensure the privacy of the information you send over Gmail. Released last year, Confidential Mode also allows you to stop users from being able to download their own version of the message, copy or print any of the information, and it requires the recipient to use two factor authentication to even view it.

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G-Suite apps and other add-ons

Gmail is integrated with Google's own G Suite apps. For instance, you can access Hangouts and manage your calendar from right inside Gmail’s web app. You can also find and use third-party add-ons via the G-Suite marketplace, such as Asana, Trello, Intuit, and Docusign.

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Snooze emails

If you’re someone who is always swiping away email notifications only to forget about them entirely, this Snooze function is super helpful. Rolled out in 2018, it gives you the ability to resurface that email, whether that’s later the same day, tomorrow, or even further down the line.

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Work offline

With Gmail's Offline feature, which can be enabled in Settings, you can read, respond to, and search your messages even when you aren't connected to the internet. But you can only use Gmail offline in a Chrome browser window, and not while using Incognito mode.

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Sending money

You can use Gmail to send money to any email address for free. You can also accept money someone sent to you or request money from someone. Google charges no fees to send money. And it uses your Google Pay balance, debit card, or your bank account linked to Google Pay. 

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Sending large attachments

Gmail has a limit of 25MB for attachments in an email, but that's easily circumvented by using Google Drive. Simply upload your file to Google Drive, and then when composing your message, grab it via the Google Drive button. You can send up to 10GB files.

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Scheduling messages

A feature that we use to no end is the ability to schedule messages. This is perfect for when you want to send your boss a quick note or response, but don't want him or her to know you're up until 4 am on a Tuesday.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle.
Sections Google Apps