Gmail got a major overhaul in April, and there are several features that can make small business owners' work days more efficient. The company introduced snoozing, nudging and confidential email. It also added a task bar on the right, which can be used to monitor your calendar, check on tasks and write some quick notes. Business owners benefit from updated smart reply technology, which allows users to quickly get back to pressing emails.
This update pushes Gmail into Google's G Suite as an integrated business tool. It's more intuitive and provides business owners with more control over notifications and email organization. The update also prioritizes new security features, ensuring safety of company and personal information. While this rollout applies to all Gmail accounts, based on the features and updates, it feels specifically targeted toward business owners.
How to get the "new" Gmail
If you weren't prompted to opt in to the new Gmail, you can manually set it up by clicking on the settings gear in the top right of Gmail. After you click the gear, setting up the new Gmail is as simple as clicking on try the new Gmail. It's the first option on the drop-down menu. From here you'll be introduced to Gmail's first new feature: the ability to view attachments without fully opening email. To get this feature, you need to choose the default spacing option. [Read related: Google for Business: A Small Business Guide]
Best new features
The new version of Gmail is sleeker and offers more interactive business features. One minor feature on the desktop version is the left panel is fully collapsible. In addition to the desktop version of Gmail, the mobile version also got an update. This allows for offline usage, which is a major addition for business owners constantly traveling with limited access to Wi-Fi and cell service.
- Snoozing: If you receive an email that's time sensitive, or that's something you want to address at a later point in your day, you can snooze the message by running your cursor over the right side. This can allow you to prioritize what's important while removing the clutter of your inbox.
- Nudging is a new feature in Gmail that automatically resurfaces emails that Google deems to be time sensitive. If, for instance, a co-worker asks a question about a project, that email will resurface before the deadline if you haven't answered it. Google said this new technology mirrors the technology used in smart replies.
- Task Bar: On the right, Google added a collapsible bar that can be used to view your calendar, notes through Google Keep and tasks through Google's new task program. This makes Gmail an integrated tool where you can view your daily schedule, take down quick notes and plan important tasks. You can also add apps to this window with the small plus sign under the Tasks icon. This includes a whole host of plugins, which range from a Trello to Asana.
- Confidential emails: Gmail supports confidential emails, which means you can set an expiration date on emails or revoke them after a certain amount of time. If you're sending an email with an important document or confidential information, you can set it so the recipient cannot view or open the message after a certain date or time. You can also block the forwarding, copying, downloading and printing of certain messages. One final security feature is two-factor authentication messages. You can have your recipient verify their identity by requiring two-factor authentication to open a message. This is ideal for companies handling highly sensitive information.
These are the tangible feature updates for business owners. In addition to these updates, Google revamped some aspects of security on the backend, added high priority notifications and added features to smart reply.