Google Makes Major Changes to Gmail

Google Makes Major Changes to Gmail

Gmail users on desktops and mobile devices are going to spot some major changes to the popular email service.

Gmail has now been updated to include some interesting (and welcome) new features. NBC News reports that there are a number of changes in the update. Though it doesn’t look all that different, there are some great new features.

Disappearing messages are one notable new feature. Gmail users can set their messages to disappear in whatever time frame they choose. And they can also decide to essentially “un-send” an email after already sending it to someone else (even if the other person isn’t using Gmail).

NBC News also reports that there’s a new “nudge” feature that reminds you about emails. Gmail will learn to recognize which emails are most pressing, then make them show at the top of your inbox to suggest you respond.

There are also other little additions, like the ability to get a reminder to reply to an email (using the new “snooze” feature) and “smart replies” that suggest what you might want to respond to a message with.

You can get this updated version of Gmail by clicking the settings button above and to the right of your inbox, then choosing “Try the new Gmail.” Once you click to switch over, you get the opportunity to choose a layout (including one that will look almost exactly the same as the one you’re used to). You might notice bigger, clearer fonts and more rounded buttons instead of quite a few links. You’ll also spot the sidebar on the right side that has a calendar, note keeper, list of tasks, and a plus sign that once clicked on lets you choose other tools to keep handy on your screen.

You’ll also soon spot one specific new feature from this update if you use Gmail on an Android device. Android Police reports that the new snooze feature is also rolling out Android users. Like the desktop version, you can snooze emails and get reminders to check back in on them later.

Look for the option to try the new Gmail on desktop now, and look out for the snooze feature on Android as it continues to roll out.

Google in the News—Ads, Image Search, & Gmail Go

Google in the News—Ads, Image Search, & Gmail Go

Google was in the news quite a bit this past week, with updates to their apps, changes to their Chrome browser, and tweaks to their Google Image search. Here’s a roundup of some Google news!

Chrome’s ad blocking has gone live

Google’s Chrome browser has now gone live with its limited ad blocking feature. You may remember our article from last year, which describes how the ad blocking will work. As we mentioned then, the feature works by using the Coalition for Better Ads to eliminate particularly annoying ads.

A website owner whose site has ads that don’t meet the standards set by the Coalition will receive a warning and 30 days to change their ads. If they don’t make the appropriate changes, their ads will be blocked. As The Verge notes, all the ads on the site will be blocked, not just the specific ads that go against the Coalition’s standards. Some of the types of ads that the Coalition hopes to address include ads with autoplaying video and sound, full page ads, and popups.

Of course, this won’t really replace things like AdBlock Plus. Those services block all ads, not just certain annoying ones. But if you don’t want to get another ad blocker, or if you like being able to help sites make money off their ads (as long as they’re not annoying), then Chrome’s new feature will help make things less frustrating.

Google no longer offering a “view image” button

If you’ve saved images from a Google search, you’ve probably used the “view image” button that popped up when you clicked on an image. Now that button has been removed from Google’s image search.

The button was taken down recently, and it’s certainly not to make their users happier. According to CNET, the button was removed because Getty Images (a photo website) was unhappy with how easily people could save their images. Now people on an image search only have the “visit” button available for saving an image, which requires you to find the image by loading the entire page.

This may make some photo websites feel better, but it does add an extra unwanted bit of hassle for users. Of course, you can still save photos from a Google Image search without loading the entire site. Right-clicking an image and choosing “Open image in new tab” will still load the full image. However, many people might not know this option is available. Because of this, removing the “view image” button will likely lead to more people doing what Google wants—going to the page the image is on.

Gmail Go is now out on Android

Google’s newest Go app is now out for Android devices—Gmail Go. Their Go apps are specifically designed to take up less space and use fewer resources on phones so they can be used on older phones or in places with a lower quality connection. Earlier this month, I wrote about the rollout of their YouTube Go app.

Now users can more easily use Google’s email service, Gmail. The Gmail Go app, based on their Play store description, offers all the services you typically need. You can access your different mail categories, get notifications, read emails and send replies (even offline), integrate your other email addresses, and more. But it’s still more stripped down than their full app, so it takes up less space. The Verge notes that images won’t load automatically, while TechCrunch reports that some say fewer days’ worth of emails are synced.

The app is only available to some users, so if you’re looking for a more lightweight mail app, check it out in the Play store and see if it’s available to you.

What is Google’s Advanced Protection Program?

What is Google’s Advanced Protection Program?

Google has continued to work at upping its security game by starting their Advanced Protection Program. This program began just a few weeks ago, so you might not know much about it yet. The Advanced Protection Program is set up to make your Google account even more secure with several different features. The key feature most people are talking about, though, is its use of security keys, small devices that can be used to log in to a Google account.

Google’s new program is specifically targeted at people who are high-risk when it comes to their accounts being compromised. For instance, Google mentions “journalists, business leaders, and political campaign teams” on the program’s webpage. However, anyone can amp up their security with the program if they’re worried about their accounts.

Of course, if you’re not someone who feels at risk of being specifically targeted, the Advanced Protection Program may not be for you. It is specifically set up to prevent targeted attacks, so everyday people may not need to go to the trouble of joining the program, especially considering how much is involved with it.

The program consists of the following three core features: physical security keys, third-party blocking, and extra verification. The physical security keys must be used to log in to your Google account—this is intended to stop phishing attempts. One security key must be Bluetooth capable, while the other must be a USB key. Some of these keys can be fairly inexpensive, so if you do feel like you could be targeted by an online attack, it won’t necessarily be costly to do so.

The program’s third party blocking stops outside apps and software from gaining access to your Google account in any way. So if, for instance, an app need access to your Gmail account, it won’t work. You’ll need to use the dedicated Google apps for your different needs.

Extra verification comes into play if you need to sign in to your account but have forgotten your password and don’t have your keys on hand. Google will set up additional verification steps to tighten security in the event that you have otherwise lost the ability to log in. This is intended to stop people from breaking in to your account using the typical verification process—after going through the verification steps, access to the account won’t be granted for several days.

Again, if you’re not worried about being a specific target for online attacks, this new program might just be an unnecessary hassle. But if you do feel like you could be at risk of being targeted, or if you know someone who does, take a look at Google’s Advanced Protection Program page to see if it’s the best course of action. And if not, don’t forget about Google’s useful 2-Step Verification that can keep your account safe.