Over the past month, the Gmail team in Mountain View must have been quite busy: since December, the desktop version of Gmail has received at least three handy new features, but if you weren’t paying attention to them, they might just have flown out of your radar. Here’s a brief overview.
Gmail now shows all images by default.
Previously, in order to view images in emails sent to your Gmail account, you had to select a specific option to do so, and then decide whether you wanted to trust all images from this sender the future. The result was safer email, since malicious code can sometimes be hidden in images, or spammers can otherwise track whether or not messages sent to your email were opened by a real person.
Unfortunately, this made many emails look less visually appealing, and many casual users might not have even noticed the option to display images.
Now, Google shows all images in your email by default – but before you worry about potential safety concerns, you should know that Google now serves all images through its own secure proxy servers, instead of loading them directly from the original external host servers. This means that nothing malicious can get through to your computer, and that spammers can no longer track their messages through images. This new feature is already live on the desktop, and Google is busy pushing it out to its Android and iOS apps, too.
Google+ users can now email you without knowing your full address.
Thanks to a new option in Gmail, you can choose whether or not you want to be reachable to your circles on Google+, to your extended circles, or to anyone on Google+, without them having to know your actual Gmail address. As Google points out:
…these emails work a bit differently so that your email address is only shared with the people you want. Your email address isn’t visible to a Google+ connection unless you send that person an email, and likewise, that person’s email address isn’t visible to you unless they send you an email.
And before you freak out about your email inbox suddenly being opened to everyone with a Google+ account, it’s easy to turn this off in the settings.
Gmail now lets you star your contacts, in addition to emails.
Similarly to staring important emails in your inbox, Gmail now lets you star individual people in your Contacts list. These will then automatically be placed into the Starred group. Even better, if you use Android too, your Starred contacts will sync up with your Favorites in Android. Good job, Google![Google: 1, 2 | Android Central | Google+ via Android Community]