If I were to describe Gmail’s new design in one word, it would be “divisive”.
Some users have praised the clean new interface, while others have condemned the exact same thing for wasting too much screen space.
Part of the pushback comes down to a simple aversion to change. It’s been seven years since Gmail’s interface last changed, and the redesign means heavy users will have to re-learn how to get the most out of it.
As INC contributing editor John Brandon puts it, the new Gmail is like a new car: “It’s flashy, bright, and powerful. I’ll keep using it, but I miss what I’ve known these past 10 years or so.”
Whether you love or hate the Gmail redesign, however, it’s definitely here to stay. Google has announced that they’ll be rolling it out to everybody in July, and three months after that it will be the only option available.
And that’s not all. Contextual gadgets that increase inbox efficiency and productivity like the WORKetc Gmail gadget, which lets you manage your entire business without leaving your Gmail inbox, are also being killed off.
The good news is they’re being replaced with the more feature-rich and cross-platform-capable Gmail add-ons.
And the best news? Our own Gmail gadget is getting a massive upgrade—although, with the amount of changes and new features we’re packing into the new WORKetc Gmail Add-on calling it a mere “upgrade” is a severe understatement.
We’ll spill more info on the major overhaul the old Gmail gadget is getting with a deep dive into what our new Gmail Add-on can do in the next few days
We also have a very special announcement (if you’re a WORKetc Insider, you already have a good idea what this is) about the new WORKetc Gmail add-on coming really soon, so stay tuned.
While you wait to learn more about the new WORKetc Gmail Add-on, you can hit the ground running with Gmail’s new built-in productivity enhancers by getting familiar with these five useful new features.
Snooze Emails Until Later
Sometimes an important email hits your inbox, but you can’t drop whatever it is you’re working on at the moment to craft a good response. Or maybe you receive a bunch of project updates that you know you won’t be able to get on top of at least until a couple of days later.
In order not to lose track of these emails, you mark them as unread. They stay on top of your inbox, and on top of your mind—at least until your inbox gets flooded with more new emails.
Thanks to Gmail’s new snooze feature, you won’t have to go through this useful but ultimately ineffectual process anymore.
Snoozing an email basically makes it disappear from your inbox, only to reappear at whatever time you want. Quick options on the Gmail web app are later today, tomorrow, this weekend, and next week, or you can set a specific time and date of your choosing.
Unlike the “mark as unread” trick, your inbox doesn’t get cluttered with too many unopened emails. All of the snoozed emails also go into their own folder on Gmail’s left sidebar, so you can quickly check which emails are going to reappear later.
Nudges and High-Priority Notifications
Google’s going all in on artificial intelligence and machine learning for the Gmail redesign, and the new nudge feature is a prime example.
This optional feature lets Gmail add reminders next to emails that it thinks is important to you, based on behaviors such as how often or how quickly you respond to a certain sender.
If you received an email from someone you regularly correspond with three days ago, for example, Gmail may add a “nudge”to it asking if you want to send a reply. It could also remind you to follow up on a message that you’ve sent a few days ago but have yet to receive a reply.
Gmail’s mobile app also has an exclusive new mode where you’ll only receive email notifications for messages that Gmail thinks are important. This is again based on user behavior.
And while we’re on the subject of AI, Google is also bringing over its smart replies feature to the web app.
If you use Gmail on your mobile, you’ll likely have come across this feature already. It’s basically Google’s Gmail AI giving you three quick, one-click replies at the bottom of any email you’re reading based on the email’s content and how you’ve replied to similar emails in the past.
Clicking on a smart reply simply inserts the text into the reply box, so you can either choose to send it as-is or edit it for a lengthier reply.
Smart reply uses machine learning to tailor the replies and make them match your personal voice as closely as possible. The more you use it, the more it learns, and the quicker you can send out replies that don’t come across as canned.
Fast Archive / Delete / Mark as Unread / Snooze
This is one of my personal favorites. When you hover over any email in your inbox, you’ll see four quick-access icons at that email’s right-most side, as you can see in the screenshot above. Here’s what they do, from right to left:
- Archive email
- Delete email
- Mark as unread
Before the redesign, you’d have to click the checkbox right next to an email to gain access to the Archive and Delete options, plus go through the “More” button to mark an email as unread. Snooze wasn’t even an option back then.
Having these options immediately available makes it far easier to go through your inbox and clear emails as needed. When an email comes in, you can just read the preview snippet, decide then and there whether it’s worth reading or it should be tossed into the trash, and do what needs to be done.
You save a step, and those saved seconds can add up.
View Attachments Quickly
The redesigned Gmail’s new default inbox mode—meaning not the “cozy” or “compact” options that are available when you first set it up— lets you open attachments without having to open an email first.
It’s great for checking out attached images, Google documents, and PDF invoices, for example, on the fly.
One thing to note is that this makes emails with attachments appear much larger and visually prominent in your inbox.
If you want a cleaner interface and can live without one-click attachment access, you can simply switch the view from “default” to “comfortable” or “compact” by going into the Display Density settings via the Gmail gear icon.
Also, remember to watch out—clicking on an attachment willy nilly could turn end up infecting your PC with malware, so you have to make sure the sender is someone you trust first.
Do More, Faster
The Gmail redesign is definitely a step closer to making the world’s number one email service provider a more productive and efficient tool for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
But—it’s still just email, and as I’ve said time and again, email needs to do more, or die. And until that happens, WORKetc will pick up the slack with an all-new add-on that’ll turn your Gmail inbox into a productivity powerhouse.
Stay tuned for the big reveal coming soon!