How To Master Gmail’s New Features

The new Gmail has landed and you can get it right now. You’re likely very comfortable with Gmail’s previous iteration, but the new one has a host of features that aims to make your digital postbox a lot more easy to manage.

Here’s the new features you’ll want to master.

Personally, I am a pretty big fan of Google’s minimalist Inbox, but a lot of the features that are a mainstay on that simple app are now in Gmail proper, which will be sweet, sweet music to the ears of Gmail power users. Some of them are pretty obvious – others you will need to hunt for. All in all, the features list makes the now humble act of sending and receiving email very streamlined.

Clickable Actions and Attachments

Strangely enough, this feature has been in Inbox since its inception, but failed to make its way across to Google’s Big Dog. Now, when you hover over a new email, you can see a list of actions that are critical to cleaning up your folders: Archive, Delete, Mark as Unread and Snooze (more on that in a bit).

More than that, access to attachments happens right there in the inbox, too. Photos, forms and videos will all display under the email subject and opening lines, allowing you quick and easy access to those baby photos you never even asked for.


Perhaps my favourite feature and one that I use routinely is the snooze feature. Once you click ‘snooze’ – which appears as a clock inline with your email subject – you can get it out of your face and into its own Snoozed folder, ready to reappear when you’re ready for it. I use this a lot for bills and upcoming direct debits I have to pay, snoozing them until a few days before the date and ensuring that they bob up in my inbox and remind me that I need money in my account.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to more properly reply to an email later in the day or, god forbid, later in the week. With snooze you can make sure that email appears later in the day, the next day, over the weekend, the week after or whatever date and time you choose. Super handy.

Smart Reply

Takes the idea of responding to emails completely out of your hands. Working out when to set an appointment time or confirming details? Too easy, Gmail’s Smart Reply is another transplant from their mobile version and Inbox, where pre-written responses are ready to send should you need to confirm dates or times. It’s not a particularly fancy feature – and can make email look a bit more impersonal – but it will save you time if you’re not that interested in spending your energy typing out “Thanks!” or “Looking forward to it!”


Ah, the humble ‘nudge’. Great when you’re trying to ensure your mates know someone at the bar is eyeing you off, not so great at the footy after a few beers and coupled with a “look at the scoreboard, d***head”.

This one has saved my ass a few times, especially when it comes to emails specifically asking for something from me that I just… completely forget about. If you’ve been asked a particular question or sent an email that you are still waiting for a response for, Google’s all-seeing, omniscient algorithm will chase you up for a reply or to follow up on a previous email chain. It’s one of those features you don’t really notice until you notice it – those on top of their inbox will likely not need to see nudge too much, but those that do will be thankful it exists.

Confidential Mode

Conscious about what your sending through the information superhighway and hoping no shoddy hitchhikers steal your car and all your personal information? No worries – just use Gmail’s new “Confidential Mode” and you’ll have messages like timebombs – self-destructing at a time of your choosing.

You also have the chance to revoke previously sent messages and you can require “additional authentication via text message to view an email” – providing more protections when sending sensitive information. Only select users currently have Confidential Mode enabled in the new inbox, with the feature rolling out more broadly over the coming weeks.

Right Hand Add-On Strip

The Add-On strip on the right hand side of the redesigned inbox houses all of your G Suite apps. By default you have access to the Calendar, Keep (for notes) and Tasks (Google’s new app). Right from the desktop you can control your appointments, take notes and use tasks to keep a running list of things to do – thus, you’re not going in and out of different tabs – you can do it all straight from the inbox screen.

Moreover, you can add other G Suite add-ons to the strip as necessary. Want Trello or Asana or MeisterTask – easy, just add them in from the G Suite Marketplace and off you go.

A complete rundown of the new Gmail can be accessed at Google’s Blog.

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