It seems like only yesterday that Gmail, a web-only app in the beginning, launched - offering us all a whopping 1GB of storage space via a rudimentary blue-and-white interface. Now, Google’s signature email service is all grown up.
Gmail has turned 15 years old. And that's no April Fool's joke. It debuted on 1 April 2004 and now has more than 1.5 billion users. To celebrate this milestone, Google has announced some new Gmail features. This got us at Pocket-lint thinking about Gmail and our favourite features. So, naturally, we've rounded them up. Here's Gmail's 15 best features, in no particular order.
Best Gmail features
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.
Similarly to Smart Reply, there's also a Smart Compose. It helps you quickly compose email by using AI to suggest words you’re most likely to write next. The feature, which released in 2018, is able to learn what your common phrases are to make it easier to write quick messages.
If you receive a ton of email throughout a work day, 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 the top of your inbox.
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 size of files that were attached to them.
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.
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 sent. Phew.
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.
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 Gmailify 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 messaging all within the Gmail app.
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 to even view it.
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 of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Technically, this is a new feature. But we know we're going to love it: 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 4am on a Tuesday.