Gmail celebrates its 15th birthday with scheduled emails and smarter AI
When Google launched Gmail on April 1, 2004 with 1 GB of storage space for free, many people assumed it was a joke – but the service has gone on to be one of the most popular email platforms of all. In honor of its 15th birthday, Gmail is getting a few new features to make it even more useful.
Chief among the new features is the ability to schedule emails. Rolling out from today on the web and mobile, the send options for an email will let users specify a certain date and time for the message to be dispatched.
You'll be able to quickly pick from options like tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon if you don't have a specific date and time in mind. Google says the idea is to be "considerate of everyone's downtime" and to "respect everyone's digital well-being" – so you don't have to ping someone else's inbox in the middle of the night.
The existing Smart Compose feature, which tries to autofill messages for you based on commonly typed terms, is getting more intelligent too. It will now adapt to the way you write, so if you prefer to start messages with "ahoy" rather than "hey," Gmail will pick up on it. Smart Compose can also now suggest subject header lines for you, based on the content of your emails.
Smart Compose is already saving Gmail users from typing more than a billion characters a week, Google claims, and it's also being updated to support Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese as well as English. The feature update is now rolling out across the web and Android, with iOS support coming soon.
Google is also making emails more interactive, though this change was announced a few days ago. Approved senders (including Pinterest and Google itself to begin with) will be able to send messages that are more like webpages, so you can reply to comments on a document, fill out a survey, or RSVP to a meeting request without leaving the email.
With the demise of Google Inbox, it seems the focus is now fully on Gmail, with Google committed to improving its email platform over the next 15 years as well. The changes we've mentioned are coming to both the consumer Gmail and the business version built into G Suite, and you should see them in the coming days.