The Four New GMail Features (Excluding Mobile GMail)

Posted Nov 10, 2006

Besides launching a mobile service, Google’s GMail Team has released another few features to the their mail services this week. Here is a highlight of the four features:

First feature: Reply on Top

To enhance efficiency, GMail has added a pull-down menu next to the address bar for the e-mail system. This way, you don’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom to Reply, Reply To All, and Forward messages.

Second Feature: Conversation Real-Time Update

While you are replying to a previous conversation*, GMail will notify you if someone else had replied while you were writing or reading the conversation* in real-time.

Third Feature: Forward All (Forward Entire Conversation/Replies)
If you have multiple e-mail addresses, including GMail, i’d say that this is the most useful feature released. To the right of a message that has one or more replies that you have opened, there is now a Forward All button which essentially forwards the entire conversation from the original message to the latest reply. Here is what the button looks like:

This is a step up from since before this feature, you could only forward one message at a time rather than the entire archived message.

Fourth Feature: Offline Chat
Although I wasn’t able to test this new feature, what I believe this feature entails is that as you chat with your friends in GMail Talk (Google’s instant message software) within the embedded chat software in GMail, these chat conversations are stored in your GMail through e-mails with the subject “Chat Conversation with…” However, if your friend signs off during the conversation, then I believe the conversation ends there and you cannot keep on sending messages at that point. So I believe this feature will be similar to ICQ where if you send messages to a friend even if they’re offline, when they sign back on, they’ll receive the message or perhaps the previously offline user will receive an e-mail sent to their inbox with the message that they have missed.

Out of these new features, I would definetely have to say that Forward All is the most useful. Since I’ve been using GMail for a year, I’ve been waiting for such a feature to come out. This is especially handy for Google Groups users as well that want to send conversations with a large number of replies to another e-mail address.

*E-mails are called conversations on GMail.