Google's G Suite redesign draws on AI to kill email clutter

Confidential mode also aims to protect personal data and reduce risk of user error

Gmail app icon

Google has completely revamped G Suite in a bid to infuse its productivity tools with AI to reduce clutter and boost security.

Revealing the new-look G Suite today, Google doubled down on efforts to help users manage email overload - if not to achieve inbox zero - and stay on top of their to-do lists with a new Tasks feature that syncs across Gmail and Google Calendar.

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"Today we're announcing major updates to help the more than 4 million paying businesses that use G Suite work safer, smarter and more efficiently," said David Thacker, product management VP of G Suite.

"This includes an all-new Gmail, with a brand new look on the web, advanced security features, new applications of Google's artificial intelligence and even more integrations with other G Suite apps."

Gmail: Using AI to declutter your inbox

Google started adding AI to Gmail last year with the ability to use 'smart replies' to quickly respond to emails with phrases Google's machine learning algorithms would come up with.

Today the company expanded on that capability by extending that from its mobile app to Gmail on the web browser, as well as bringing its smart capabilities to bear on problems like the daily email deluge.

Firstly, a snooze button lets you postpone emails that users don't have time to reply to immediately, allowing users to set a time to send that email back to the top of their unreads.

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A host of buttons in the top-right corner also easily allows users to access Calendar and other useful apps.

Anything that's unread but not been responded to, Gmail will 'nudge' users about, highlighting the age of the message next to it in yellow text and asking whether users would like to reply.

High-priority notifications are coming to Gmail on mobile too, with Gmail's smart capabilities selecting messages it deems important and re-flagging them for users' attention. It'll also suggest when to unsubscribe from newsletters or promotions that are regularly left unopened.

Gmail: Confidential mode

With phishing attacks, ransomware and impersonation attacks all serious threats organisations face, Google has also taken the opportunity to improve security.

"We've revisited some of the fundamentals of email security to make everyone's data safe," explained Jacob Bank, product manager of Gmail.

The new Gmail will try to improve user security by flagging potentially dangerous emails that make it through its spam filter with a big red message.

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But the key feature is confidential mode, which allows people to remove the ability to forward, copy, download or print certain messages, such as messages containing personal information.

It also lets users set expiration dates for messages so that data is automatically deleted.

Gmail: Offline capability

For executives trying to use their downtime to stay on top of their emails, a new offline mode will be a huge help. It allows users to search their email, compose emails, respond to messages and archive up to 90 days of messages offline, syncing the changes when they're connected to the internet again.

Tasks

Google has also introduced Tasks on the web browser, a new tool that lets users create tasks (and sub-tasks within those), adding due dates for those tasks and notifications to remind you when the deadline is approaching.

Just dragging an email from Gmail into Tasks creates a new to-do item, and once a due date's added it'll appear in Calendar.

Try it out

Google is rolling out the new features over the next few weeks, but some are available to try from today. By going to 'Settings' (the gear icon) at the top right corner of your Gmail you can select 'Try the new Gmail', and switch back if the changes aren't for you.

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