Last month some changes were made to Gmail and Windows 10. Since both of these are pretty widely used, we thought it was important to talk about some of the changes you will see in the near future if you use either of these.
The New Gmail Updates
Google announced on April 25th that they were making some changes to Gmail. Now, changes to anything this popular are bound to, for lack of a better phrase, freak some people out. But from what we’ve seen, all of these changes, including new security features, design updates and other helpful new additions, seem to be for the better.
Security - Gmail Confidential
With Gmail Confidential, Google is making sure you have all the tools necessary to protect your data. This new feature allows you to assign email expiration dates, or a time when the email will “self destruct” and no longer be viewable, it also allows you to revoke access to previously sent emails from one or more recipients.
The built in information rights management controls in confidential mode also give you the ability to decide if you don’t want your email to be forwarded, copied, downloaded or printed.
Google has also redesigned the security warnings to be bigger and more prominent on the screen to make sure you’re aware of any risky emails (also make sure you take a look at all the phishing protections they rolled out in March).
All of the new design elements are pretty subtle, but they are definitely a little different. Everything has a cleaner feel, everything that was square is now rounded, and the compose button has been updated.
With the new default display density you can preview attachments without opening the email. You can disable this by switching to the comfortable or compact density setting. The ability to see attachments without opening the email, also allows for a deeper integration between Gmail and G Suite applications (Docs, Sheets, Slides) as you can open those directly from your inbox as well.
This feature allows you to snooze an email for another time. For example, if you receive an important email after you’ve gotten home, and you read it but don’t have time to respond, just set it to pop back up in your inbox the next morning.
The new sidebar comes with a couple really cool new features.
- Calendar Integration
- This brings your calendar in the same window as your email. I know I switch back and forth from the window that has my email open to the window that has my calendar open, all day long. Being able to glance to the side when determining a good time to schedule a meeting while still in the email window is pretty nice.
- Keep - for note taking
- Google has added in its own note taking section. I use notes all the time to write out email drafts, and to keep track of my thoughts while reading an email or while on a call. Having everything in the same place is pretty handy.
- This feature is essentially your new to-do list! Have a coupole action items from the email you just read? Quickly put them in tasks and mark them off as you get them done!
- New Add ons
- There are quite a few other add ons, and i’m sure as people start switching over, developers will create more, that you can put in this sidebar to help you stay organized and productive!
Making the Switch
Google started rolling out the update last week - the day it was announced, April 25th. Individual users (non-business) can manually make the switch by clicking the gear icon at the top right, and selecting “Try the New Gmail”.
It is available now for businesses in the G Suite early adopter program, and just has to be turned on in the admin console. After it’s been turned on in the admin console, you will follow the same two steps above to make the switch.
The Windows 2018 Update
The new timeline view lets you see what applications and projects you were working on in Microsoft programs on other devices, including iOS and Android devices. Say you’re looking at a spreadsheet on your phone while you’re at an off-site meeting, when you pull that spreadsheet up on your computer back at the office you will be able to pick up right where you left off.
The focus feature is Microsoft’s “do not disturb” setting. It allows you to turn off all desktop notifications, to enable you to focus on what you’re doing and increase productivity. You can turn this feature on or off at any point, you can set it to start and end during certain times of the day, say during meetings or times when you know you’re easily distracted. You can also set “high priority” notifications to make sure they still come through, so you don’t miss an important message from your boss.
The new voice control features allow you to control your Cortana smart-home devices from your PC, although Microsoft is working on ways they can leverage the voice capabilities more.
In this new update you now have the ability to mute videos playing in different tabs by simply clicking the speaker icon in the tab. So long are the days of searching for the tab playing an unwanted video, and then searching the page to find where the video is, just to mute it.
Edge will also now remember your name, credit card and other information when you’re logged into familiar sites. You still have to give them permission to retain that information, but once it’s saved, filling out forms online will take no time at all. Whether that’s a good or bad thing for those of us that like to online shop, has yet to be determined.
Have you ever gone to print something from a webpage and ended up with only half of what you wanted to print, and about 10 ads that you definitely didn’t want to print? Well this new update has introduced “clutter free printing” to eliminate that issue. Now you can print what you need and not end up with a printout of 5 ads and 1 popup that showed up right as you clicked “print”.
Microsoft is continuing to make improvements to the “Fluent Design” that it debuted in the Fall Creators Update, in this April update. Some of the changes in this round include hover effects with your mouse in the start menu, a blur effect on the taskbar and a new reading experience to help keep your focus on the page.
Edge will also receive a few of the Fluent Design updates as well as the technical updates I talked about above.