Gmail achieves a major milestone as it reaches almost a billion users, and now it comes with Inbox for mobile. At 900 million users, Google’s Gmail is the most popular email service, as announced in Google annual developers conference. According to a report from USA Today, Gmail doubled the number of its users in the last three years.
Google Senior VP of Products Sundar Pichai made the announcement when the company launched Inbox for mobile phones. USA Today mentions 225 million monthly active users of Yahoo Mail and 400 million for Outlook, shared Anne Yeh, spokesperson at Yahoo and Jordan Bergstrom, Microsoft spokesman.
Three years ago, there were only 425 million monthly active users on Google’s email app around the world. More than 75 percent of the email service users log in from mobile devices. Hence it is not surprising that Gmail is now reaching almost a billion users especially since the Google app comes with Inbox Mobile. Its recent milestone is the best timing for the Mountain View, CA firm to launch a new version of the email service, refurbished for mobile devices.
According to Google Director of Product Management for Gmail and Inbox by Gmail Alex Gawley, the company was interested in building a service that unburdens busy people. In October, Google launched Inbox, a smarter way to organize emails in order to help people minimize squinting on screens, to enhance search and to organize emails.
Inbox is a concept developed so that emails become powerful as powerful on one’s phone like they are on a computer, said Gawley. Inbox also groups receipts or bank statements together so the user can review them quickly without going into the message. Moreover, Inbox highlights the important information from emails.
It allows task creations, adding reminders at the top of Inbox, like pick up dry cleaning. With Assist, Inbox can make a reservation online to a certain restaurant, and there will be a map with the confirmation email, courtesy of Inbox.
When booking a flight online, Inbox gives a link to check in. Reminders and emails allow users to snooze and return the user to the inbox when they arrive to the office, or at home at a specific scheduled time. Inbox likewise displays significant information that is not in the email, such as the status of a booked flight or of a package being sent.
The new Inbox can group emails for a trip or a show. It will filter important information such as real-time flight schedules, hotel reservation numbers, adding customer signatures to emails and the ability of taking an email back after it has been sent.
The email service receives mixed feedbacks. Gawley did not disclose how many people downloaded Inbox, or how many switched to Inbox and abandoned Gmail. Some people abandoned it to stick with Gmail.
Google did not dump its email app for Inbox but rather sees it as the email of the future. According to Gawley, they hope that users will want to use Inbox, and he believes that it is the start of a long journey with their users. He was quoted as saying: “We recognize people have work flows that they use. We don’t expect anyone to change their workflow overnight.”
Even with Gmail itself, there are tweaks the user can do to make it more appealing and useful, as CBS News posted. It has “stealth” features such as those found in Labs, a kind of control panel, which displays the gear icon on the top right, under profile, when one clicks Settings or the Labs tab.
One feature is Auto Advance. Gmail usually does not advance to the next email after deleting an entry. Canned Responses allows creation of templates for time-saving replies, as they can be inserted during composition of message. It lets the user create snippets, insert, edit and delete emails.
Keyboard Shortcuts let user create hotkeys, and Preview Pane will show the content of the selected message, if enabled. Undo Send gives users the option to cancel or recall the emails they sent, within, say, 10 or 30 seconds.
So what’s next? Well that fact that Gmail is now reaching almost a billion users would have been a an accomplishment to celebrate on its own, but now that it comes with Inbox for mobile to add up to its array of features means Google will be celebrating and celebrated perhaps for years to come.
By Judith Aparri
Time: Gmail Just Hit a Pretty Major Milestone
USA Today: Google’s Gmail hits 900 million users, opens up Inbox
CBS News: Turn Gmail into a better mail client with these tweaks
Photo courtesy of aston Leisen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License