The 8 Best Features in the New Gmail

Google is changing how Gmail looks and works. They launched the new Gmail back in April, but until now it’s been optional. That changes in July, when the new Gmail starts rolling out to all users. Everyone will be switched over 12 weeks after the transition starts.

If you’re seeing the new Gmail for the first time you might be a little overwhelmed. To help you feel a little more at home, here’s a quick roundup of the new features and how to use them.

Hover Actions Let You Act On Messages More Quickly

Hover you mouse over any email in your inbox and you’ll see a collection of buttons.

These are called hover actions, and they let you quickly act on an email in one click. You can archive emails, delete them, mark them as unread, or even snooze them. It’s a small feature, sure, but it makes interacting with emails a lot faster.

Snooze Emails So You Can Deal With Them Later

Speaking of hover actions, Gmail users can now snooze emails without any browser extensions. This removes emails from your inbox only to bring them back later, which is perfect for anything you need to act on eventually but can’t act on right now.

The functionality is simple: just click the Snooze hover function and choose when you’d like to see the email again. When the times up, the message shows back up in your Inbox.

This is a must-have feature for anyone who likes to keep their inbox clean, so check it out.

RELATED: How to Snooze Emails in Gmail Without Any Browser Extensions

Nudges Gives You Gentle Reminders About Emails You Haven’t Dealt With

We all have emails that we need to respond to eventually, but never quite get around to. Gmail will now notice when this happens and prompt you to reply, as seen above.

Some people love it; some find it annoying. The good news is that you can disable the feature under Settings > General.

Gmail Suggests Replies and Can Autocomplete Sentences

“I hope you’re well,” “Looking forward to hearing from you,” “I hope you have a great day.” Emails tend to include a lot of sentences like this, which you’ve probably typed out hundreds of times over the years.

Gmail can spare you the effort, thanks to Smart Compose, which basically write emails for you. This feature, which you can enable in the settings, uses AI to predict what you’re about to type. If the AI’s guess is correct hit tab and the sentence will auto-complete. It’s creepy, sure, but also pretty useful.

There’s also a Smart Reply feature, which used to only be available on mobile. You’ll see buttons like this below emails:

Click one and a reply will be created with that message, after which you can write more or just click “Send.” It’s a small time saver, but everything adds up, right?

RELATED: Gmail’s Smart Compose Basically Writes Emails For You And It’s Live Right Now

Confidential Mode Causes Emails to Self-Destruct

Email isn’t secure, but this feature can help. Confidential Mode causes emails to self-destruct, meaning whoever you send it to can only read it for a certain period of time. Your message is essentially stored on a Google server instead of being sent via email, allowing you to control who can see the message and when. This isn’t foolproof—the person you send it to could screenshot the email, for example—but it’s a nice little feature that can help keep your information private.

RELATED: How the New Confidential Mode Works In Gmail

An Extensible Side Panel Provides Quick Access to Other Services

This is perhaps the most visible change in the new Gmail: a side panel. By default Calendar, Keep, and Tasks populate the area, but you can add third party services like Trello.

You can’t add Google Contacts to this sidebar, for some stupid reason, but there are ways to quickly access Contacts if you need to.

RELATED: How to Find Contacts in the New Gmail

Offline Support Lets You Work Without an Internet Connection

Try as you might, you can’t always be online, which is why the new Gmail offers offline support. As of this writing it only works in Google Chrome, but it’s better than nothing. Head to Gmail’s Settings, then the Offline tab, as shown above. Check “Enable Offline Mail” and you’re done.

RELATED: How To Enable Offline Support in the New Gmail

See Important Notifications Only

Notifications can be useful, but seeing one for every email you get is overkill. Gmail now allows you to see notifications only for emails that are important. You’ll find the toggle for this in the settings of both the desktop and the mobile application, and we suggest you turn it on.

You could do this before, but it was complicated . It’s good to see a simpler method offered.

Justin Pot is the News Editor for How-To Geek. He lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.