Gmail will be rolling out its new look with new features when the next update is launched in a few weeks. Google confirmed the update to The Verge last week and a leaked email about the update promises a “fresh, clean look” for Gmail with some new features, including a predictive “smart reply” feature for Gmail’s web version.
This new feature is already available for people who use the Gmail app on their phones. Part of that “fresh, clean look” will likely include new fonts. The fonts, called Product Sans and Roboto, are Google’s own. Product Sans letters look like the “g” used in Google’s current logo; Roboto will make some noticeable changes to characters like “Q,” “?” and “$.” The letters will also be thinner.
For those of us who can’t deal with the onslaught of messages in our inbox but really need to remember to reply to a certain message, Google will be offering some help in the form of a snooze button. This feature is already available for people who use the Inbox by Gmail app or Boomerang, a third-party Gmail tool.
Gmail may also introduce “self-destructing emails,” which become inaccessible after a set amount of time, TechCrunch reported on Friday based on leaked screenshots. This “confidential mode” should prevent people from forwarding, printing or downloading the email and may also allow senders to require recipients to verify their identity with a personal identification number.
TechCrunch notes email encryption service ProtonMail already has this feature. Encrypted messaging app Signal also gives users a less-intense version that erases messages after the recipient has read them.
Here are six changes that you will see when Google launches its new look in May.
A new look - Gmail’s visual presentation will be tweaked to bring it more in line with Google’s Material Design philosophy.
A sidebar for Google’s apps - The new Gmail lets you open up a sidebar that can show Google’s Calendar, note-taking app keep, or to-do list app Task. If you spend email time coordinating your schedule with others, the apps sidebar is going to be very useful.
Smart Reply - Smart Reply suggests three responses you might send based on the content of an email you received. You can simply choose one of the three and hit send, tweak it as desired, or ignore all three and hand craft your own reply. Google uses machine learning to tune Smart Reply’s suggestions to your writing style, so the more you use it, the more useful it gets.
Snooze an email - You tag an email with a time stamp and it disappears from your inbox and reappears at the time you’ve chosen. Snooze can be a godsend if you get a lot of emails, receive one when you don’t have time to answer, and forget about it when the incoming flood pushes it off your screen. You can tag the email with a convenient time and it will be right there at the top of your inbox when you have the freedom to respond. Snooze can also bring the email back when you’re at a specific location, which is useful for setting aside personal email for when you get home from work.
Confidential email - Google is implementing a feature that lets the sender limit what the recipient can do with an email. An email can be locked which prevents the recipient from copying, forwarding, downloading or printing it. Emails can also be tagged and eliminated from both the recipient’s inbox and the sender’s sent list after a specified time period. Finally, an email can be locked behind a two-factor authentication process to ensure that only the intended recipient can read it.
A choice of layouts - The new Gmail offers users a choice of three layouts for their Gmail screen. The default layout highlights attachments while a “comfortable view” does away with the attachment highlight. There’s also a “compact view” that is similar to Gmail’s current layout for users who don’t want to change.