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Gmail's Big Upgrade Featuring New Web App, Confidential Mode, Nudges, and Snooze Goes Live (venturebeat.com) 78

Google on Wednesday pushed out the biggest revamp of Gmail in years. The company is bringing to the flagship Gmail service many (but not all) of the features it trialed in Inbox for Gmail, and adding a few new ones, too. From a report: While the overhaul does usher in a new look to the Gmail web app, bringing it into the material design fold, this update is more about throwing new features into the mix than moving things around and causing confusion. G Suite -- Google's paid productivity service for businesses, which also includes Gmail -- appears to be the core focus of this update, however these features will also be made available to standard Gmail users. [...] Google is adamant that no person within the company will ever read your emails, but that doesn't mean your email content is protected from third-party infiltration. To address this, Gmail will soon offer users a dedicated "confidential mode" -- on the web and in its mobile apps -- that is designed to protect against two kinds of attacks. [...] In addition to privacy and security updates, Gmail on mobile and the web is getting a bunch of new features to help solve the perennial problem of email overload. One of those tools is "nudging," which leans on Google's AI smarts and automated processing, similar to how its spam filter works, to remind users to follow up on a message they've received.
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Gmail's Big Upgrade Featuring New Web App, Confidential Mode, Nudges, and Snooze Goes Live

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  • "To remind users to follow up on a message they've received."

    How about "No"? How about "Hell no!"

    I receive some 50 emails a day, the vast majority require no "follow up" on my part.

    The very first thing I want to learn about this "service" is how to turn it off.

    • I am also a bit concerned about nudges. They could be super annoying, but I will wait to see how they work in practice. If they end up being good at identifying messages that really do need follow up, distinguishing those we ignored deliberately, it could be a valuable feature.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        If they end up being good at identifying messages that really do need follow up...

        Which will be determined by parsing the contents of your email. They claim to have stopped reading mail for ad purposes, but they're still scanning our mail.

        • They claim to have stopped reading mail for ad purposes, but they're still scanning our mail.

          Well, I do not think they claim to be able to do spam filtering without browsing the content of messages. I, for one, consider that acceptable. Is this qualitatively different?

          • by gnick ( 1211984 )

            I don't think so. I'm a gmail user and have been since before they stopped scanning for ad purposes. I was just pointing out that our mail was being scanned; I didn't mean to imply a negative connotation. For some people, that's a deal-breaker. If I receive an email that contains "Please RSVP by", a "nudge" might be appropriate.

        • by DogDude ( 805747 )
          They claim to have stopped reading mail for ad purposes

          They did? Where and when? And if that's true, why does Gmail still exist?
          • by gnick ( 1211984 )

            Where and when?

            June of last year [cnn.com] in a blog post [blog.google].

            In the blog post, Google also called out its anti-spam, anti-phishing, and Smart Reply features for Gmail -- all of which require the company to analyze email content.

  • Please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @10:25AM (#56499833)
    Can someone please come up with some alternative to Flat/Material design that can become the hot new trend? Unless it involves just a pure white screen where you have to have previously memorized an invisible design layout it can't help but be better than what the industry is moving towards now.
    • I call it immaterial design, thousands of controls and options that all do nothing.

    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @11:02AM (#56500045)

      Can someone please come up with some alternative to Flat/Material design that can become the hot new trend? Unless it involves just a pure white screen where you have to have previously memorized an invisible design layout it can't help but be better than what the industry is moving towards now.

      Okay. How about the all black on black color scheme in Disaster Area's [wikia.com] stunt ship:

      "It's the wild colour scheme that freaks me," said Zaphod whose love affair with this ship had lasted almost three minutes into the flight, "Every time you try to operate on of these weird black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let you know you've done it. What is this? Some kind of galactic hyperhearse?"

      The walls of the swaying cabin were also black, the ceiling was black, the seats - which were rudimentary since the only important trip this ship was designed for was supposed to be unmanned - were black, the control panel was black, the instruments were black, the little screws that held them in place were black, the thin tufted nylon floor covering was black, and when they had lifted up a corner of it they had discovered that the foam underlay also was black.

      "Perhaps whoever designed it had eyes that responded to different wavelengths," offered Trillian.

      "Or didn't have much imagination," muttered Arthur.

      • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
        You're right, i was being unnecessarily specific. Any UI scheme where the background and the interface elements are the same color scheme would be equally bad.

        Hmmm, how about plaid on plaid? Would it be better or worse if the rotation of the plaid was slightly different for the interface elements?
      • I think you made a Dent with that post!

    • Unless it involves just a pure white screen where you have to have previously memorized an invisible design layout

      You don't want to get sued by Snapchat, do you?

    • /sarcasm You just need to wait a few more years when the UI from ~2000 will be in vogue again and will be pimped as the latest shiny.

      While we are waiting can we also kill "endless scrolling" where a user has NO clue how far (vertically) they are along the (page) content? There is a reason scrollbars have a thumb knob.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        a user has NO clue how far (vertically) they are along the (page)

        How do you determine that you're 60% through a page with no fixed size?

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          There is almost no such thing as a page with infinite content. I suppose you could have 'scroll for more digits of pi' sorts of things, but overwhelmingly you are scrolling through some record that does have an end, but the scrollbar is oblivious to where that end may be. It may be better if the scrollbar could be used to give the user some indication of how far into the available data they are, even if that data isn't loaded until close to being on the viewport.

          Of course, another reality is that our brai

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        UI's from 2000 were pretty bad too... That's right in the middle of the WinAMP era when everything had to have a custom skin on it.

        I think we peaked around 1993.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The problem with flat designs is that it is much less fault tolerant. A crappy traditional UI is still workable because everything is very clearly marked. With flat designs it's easy to create something that confuses the user. The Material design guidelines go a long way to preventing that, but they are by no means foolproof.

      The new Gmail seems okay though. It's obvious what is a button and what isn't. If the lack of contrast is too much for you try the light grey theme.

      • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
        Whelp, i've had the chance to try it now. I haven't had any issues with the contrast so far, but there are a lot of other things i find problematic.

        First, on a positive note, i do like that there are still lines between items in the inbox. Way too many Flat/Material designs seem intent on getting rid of all delineation between items. (I personally like lines and boxes and containers to keep different parts of the UI distinct from each other.)

        I don't like the size of the text. I might get used to that ev
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          For me the most annoying thing is that they moved the archive button. The report spam button is there now and I always go to click it when I mean to archive.

        • I actually like two consecutive lines, e.g. the inbox with sender and mail subject, in tow slighly different colours.
          On the other hand in Java IDEs, I usually switch all colours of program text off.

        • .
          .
          .
          I'm also not too fond of the auto-suggestions for responses when i open up emails. They've been in the mobile client for awhile, but hate to see them spreading to the desktop UI. If anyone knows a way to disable either the pop-up hover icons or the auto-suggested responses I'd love to hear about it!

          Agreed. I subscribe to a number of list servers, so why would I want to respond to many, if any, emails from them.

        • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
          Of course when i posted to the Google Product Forums about these issues the response from the moderators was more or less "there's nothing you can do about it".

          However _then_ a true hero came along and developed a bunch of CSS mods to use with Stylish (or presumably any other similar add-on) to fix every issue i had and then some!

          For anyone else who wants to modify the UI of the new design in similar ways: https://productforums.google.c... [google.com]
    • Material design, and most importantly the name of it, is in my opinniion the worst thing that ever happened in software/UI design.

      I did not upgrade the OSes on my iPhone and iPad for nearly a decade, because Apple jumped on that train, too. It is so super ugly it makes me cry when I have to use it.

    • I suggest flatSkeu Design, the best of all worlds. Instead of the recycling bin, you'd have a trash compactor. Instead of Aero Glass texture, you'd have Squished Leopard Roadkill, blood optional. Every button would look flat but require three pushes to activate, like an old payphone. Through the use of BLED (Broken LEDs), some pixels in the display will simply fail to illuminate, giving an ultrarealistic shadow effect and industry-shattering perceptions of depth. A 90% post-consumer-recycled all-aluminum ca

  • How to get it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @10:31AM (#56499855)

    The linked article doesn't actually explain how to enable the new version. This CNET article does https://www.cnet.com/how-to/ho... [cnet.com]

    "Regular Gmail users
    You can enable the new look and features by clicking on the Settings cog in the top-right corner, then selecting Try the new Gmail option."

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's not available to me yet. Doing some checking it seems that they are actually doing a gradual roll-out, so you might have to wait a while for it to become available.

      The same is true of updates for Android apps. You read about some great new feature but it takes two weeks to get to your phone. I understand why they do it, hell I do it, but I'd love an "I'm feeling lucky" override option.

      • Re:How to get it. (Score:5, Informative)

        by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @10:55AM (#56500003)

        I was not able to see the option when using Firefox but I was able to when using Chrome. However once I chose the option I had the new version in Chrome, Firefox and Edge

        • by wes33 ( 698200 )

          don't see it in chrome either; in Canada FWIW

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          On the 17th refresh of the page it showed up for me.

          • To get my android tablet into developer mode I had to click 15 times on a hidden button ... (documentation said it would be ten times).
            In the end: it does not mount as an USB drive on Macs.
            Under Linux It actually mounts two drives, one containing the Android OS and the user data (Apps etc.) and the other with windows tools to install for 'better usagae', probably synching and back ups.

        • I was not able to see the option when using Firefox but I was able to when using Chrome.

          That seems to be another Google “feature” they’ve been rolling out over the past bit - different UIs depending on which web browser you use.

          I ran across this with YouTube several weeks ago - the path I need to take to get to the “Live Control Room” for one of our events was different depending on whether I was in Safari, Firefox, or Chrome. It’s bloody annoying.

    • You can enable the new look and features by clicking on the Settings cog in the top-right corner

      What are the chances of you being able to find the control to turn it off again if you don't like it?

      Assuming such a thing even exists.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        What are the chances of you being able to find the control to turn it off again if you don't like it?

        I turned it on, off, and on again without difficulty. The control is in the same place.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let's centralize all email onto Google, and then give them complete control over how email works.

    I'm sure it will end well!

  • From everyone but Google I presume.

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @11:42AM (#56500279)

    I use Gmail via Apple's Mail program. As long as this setup works, I don't care what Google does to the web front-end.

  • I find it ironic that so many people who may realize that what Facebook, etc are doing with data is generally not a positive thing for the "users", still use Gmail. Email is one of the simplest, cheapest parts of the Internet, and for some reason, everybody I know is willing to give all of their email to Google in exchange for about $1/month (the price of real email today). However, if I offer them $1/month to be able to read (not even store and sell) all of their email, that doesn't fly. People are weir
    • by Hodr ( 219920 )

      Please point me towards the $1 e-mail service that gives me guaranteed privacy (and 19GB of space, and integrates perfectly with my phone / calendar)

      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        Calendaring isn't part of email. That costs extra. You can pay a few bucks a month and use Exchange hosting, which is awesome, and has calendaring and tasks and a whole bunch of stuff.

        Anybody that you pay money to that has a privacy notice will be private. If you pay them, you can sue them. If it's free, you can't.

        In terms of integration with your phone, IMAP and SMTP have been standards for decades, now. If your phone can't deal with those things, then you probably have a shitty phone.

        Here's o
    • I don't use Gmail for my personal mail anymore - haven't for quite a few years.

      My work email is on Gmail (Google Apps for Education, or whatever they call it now). But, as a state employee, my email is all public record anyway - so anyone, including Google, could get at it if they really cared.

  • by Merk42 ( 1906718 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2018 @12:14PM (#56500521)
    The first version of any sottware is the best version.
  • If I don't get real folders, they can fuck right off.
    • This is the whole point of GMail, you don't have to file stuff in folders any more. I used to create an elaborate folder system so I could find emails later. With GMail, the search feature is so god you don't have to file them. Just archive. Done.

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