Gmail redesign: Google starts rolling out offline mode to users – here’s how to get it
Gmail has looked more or less the same since its inception 14 years ago, and although Google made a bold attempt at rethinking the way email works with Inbox, it never really caught on.
At the end of April, Google introduced a brand new look for Gmail that will also bring a number of new features to its web app, and more recently, at its I/O, the tech giant announced an offline mode which has begun rolling out today.
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In a blog post, Google said: “Email is a necessity for most of us. We use it to stay in touch with colleagues and friends, keep up with the latest news, manage to-dos at home or at work—we just can’t live without it. Today we announced major improvementsto Gmail on the web to help people be more productive at work.”
How to get the new Gmail
To enable the redesign, go to your inbox on a web browser (it won’t work on the app), click the Settings cog icon in the top right-hand corner and select “Try the new Gmail.” If you can’t see this option yet, it’s likely the update is yet to make its way to your account and should appear in the coming days.
Once you have the new look, you can return to the classic view at any time by going to Settings and choosing “Go back to classic Gmail.”
Gmail’s new features
Gmail’s offline mode replaces the Gmail Offline Chrome app and you’ll need to be using Chrome, the only browser which supports the feature, and be connected to the web during setup.
Once you’ve enabled the new Gmail, go back to the Settings menu, by pressing the gear icon, and click the Offline tab. From here, tick the “Enable offline mail”. You will now be able to read messages, search your inbox, and line up messages for sending when you next get a web connection. The feature is perfect for flights, for example.
Once enabled, you’ll have the choice of how often you sync your inbox and if you want to download attachments when syncing. And to avoid your offline data being accessed on a public computer, tick the box “Remove offline data from my computer.”
Gmail’s new Confidential mode lets you remove the option to forward, copy, download or print messages you send to other people. Google explains this is useful for when you have to send sensitive information via email like a tax return, or personal banking info.
Confidential mode also lets you set an expiry date and time for an email, “to help you stay in control of your information.” To use Confidential mode, click the small lock icon in the New Message window. It should be noted, however, that it is possible to screenshot an email and then forward the screenshot.
Access other Google apps from within Gmail
“Gmail’s new look helps you get more done,” according to Google. This means you can click on attachments, like files or photos, without opening email threads or scrolling through conversations.
You can also access Google Calendar, Tasks and Keep apps from within Gmail and within email messages using a new panel on the side of your inbox.
If you don’t have time to reply to an email straight away, the new Gmail will let you ‘snooze’ emails, using the new snooze button. Snoozing emails – letting you set notifications for emails at a time when you want to be reminded about them – already exists in Inbox, so it appears that Google might have been using its alternative email service to hone experimental features before introducing them to its much larger population of Gmail users.
In addition to snoozing emails, the new Gmail will“nudge” you to follow up and respond to messages with reminders that show up next to your email messages “to help make sure nothing slips through the cracks.”
Smart Reply was first introduced in 2015 on mobile apps and lets users hand over the emailing reigns to Google’s contextual AI. This AI will write a response for you and the more you use it, the more it learns how you typically reply to make such replies smarter. As part of the new Gmail, Smart Reply is coming to Gmail on the web to help you reply to messages faster. In February, Area 120, the experimental team inside Google, announced plans to bring its contextual replies to other chat-based platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Smarter unsubscribe options
Other smart features coming to the mobile include high-priority notifications that will notify you of important messages “to help you stay focused without interruption.” Plus, Gmail will start suggesting when to unsubscribe from newsletters or offers you no longer care about based on how often you’ve opened those newsletters or interacted with them.
New security features
As part of the new Gmail, Google has added more security features to protect you against phishing. Using machine learning, Gmail will now flag dodgy emails and potential security threats more clearly. Previously, Gmail would put a small warning on an email it thought was a phishing attempt. Now, a larger red warning, explaining the danger more simply, will appear to help people understand the risk.