Gmail/Workspace (previously G-Suite) Update History

Gmail was first introduced way back in 2004 and quickly went on to become one of the major players in the webmail service industry. 

Today, it boasts over 1.8 billion users worldwide and a 43% share of the email service market. In October 2020 Google announced that G Suite has been renamed to Google Workspace.

For an email client that has been around for so long, there have been many updates over the years. Read on to learn more about some of the most recent ones.

Set client-side encryption as the default mode for new emails

29th February, 2024
Admins can now set client-side encryption (CSE) to be on by default on Android and iOS for: 
  • Newly drafted Gmail messages and replies 
  • Newly created Google Calendar events 
  • Newly uploaded Google Drive files

Every email, event, and uploaded file on mobile devices undergo automatic client-side encryption using customer-managed keys. This ensures immediate compliance with the organization's policies. Especially for organizations with stringent regulatory or sovereignty demands. This feature enables them to effectively address compliance issues by defaulting users to the recommended method for handling sensitive data while mobile.

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Updated and more inclusive emoji picker in Gmail

Oct 26th, 2023

Access a more complete emoji selection and set emoji skin tone and gender preferences with the modernized emoji picker in Gmail (web version). This update enables users to express themselves more authentically using emoji variations in Gmail. 

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Create original images from text within Google Slides

Aug 29th, 2023

Google are giving you the ability to generate compelling visuals for presentations through the power of Duet AI for Google Workspace. 

By simply typing a few words in 'Help me visualize' section, you can easily create original images for your presentations. This feature empowers everyone, regardless of artistic skill, to create unique, AI-generated images that help communicate ideas more impactfully, with less effort. 

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Collaborate with others on Google Calendar invites

May 17th, 2023

Google are adding a building block that lets you collaborate with others to draft calendar invites. This can be useful when several stakeholders have inputs for dates, times, attendees, event descriptions and more.

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Refreshed interface for Google Products

March 6th, 2023

In the coming weeks, you’ll notice a new look and feel for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides on the web. Following the release of Google Material Design 3, the refreshed user interface is purposefully designed to streamline core collaboration journeys across Googles products. 

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Send Professional Looking Emails to Large Audiences

July 28th, 2022

For select Google Workspace editions there are two new features being released. Users will now be able to send professional-looking emails to large audiences within Gmail. 

Email Templates - You can select from a predefined set of email templates, which feature images, text elements, and buttons. You can further customize these templates with your own color schemes, logos, images, footer text, and links.

Mail Merge - This feature allows you to send mass emails without the need to BCC all recipients. By default, multi-send emails include an unsubscribe link unique to each recipient — anyone who unsubscribes is automatically excluded from future multi-send emails from you. 

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Updates to the Appointment Scheduling Feature

July 12th, 2022

Google are making it easier to share appointment schedules on web through a new Share button. This update allows appointment hosts to copy a short link to all appointment schedules.Users can also add HTML to embed a booking page on their website. 

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New Email Draft Template in Google Docs

March 15th, 2022

Google are making it easier to collaborate on an email draft in Docs with the new email draft template. Users can mention people in the recipient fields using the @ menu without having to remember their email addresses, and collaborate on the message body using comments and suggestions.

When ready to send, simply click the button that is shown alongside an email draft

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New integrated view for Gmail features

January 31st, 2022

Google are introducing a new, integrated view for Gmail, making it easy to move between critical applications like Gmail, Chat and Meet in one unified location.

When enabled, the new navigation menu allows you to easily switch between your inbox, important conversations, and join meetings without having to switch between tabs or open a new window. 

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Indicate whether you’ll join a meeting virtually or in person

November 15th, 2021

With this new update in Gmail, you can indicate how you plan to join a meeting—in the meeting room, or virtually. This will allow both the organizer and guests to see how attendees are planning to attend the meeting.

This will help meeting attendees know what to expect when joining a meeting, and prepare accordingly. 

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Improved Search Capabilities in Gmail for Android

September 20th, 2021

You can now quickly and easily filter email and search results on Android mobile devices to find the one specific email or information you’re looking for. Search filters can be used independently or post-search, helping you choose filtering options from rich drop-down lists. For example, you can type a query and further narrow results by selecting search filters like from: colleague’s name, or a specific timeframe.

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Google Calendar now shows events from Gmail

September 15th, 2021
Google Calendar can show events such as reservations and flights, that Gmail creates from messages you receive. Only you can see an event from Gmail unless you change the event's visibility. You can also change the default visibility of events from Gmail in Calendar settings.
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See how you spend your time in Google Calendar

August 31st, 2021

You can now use Time Insights in Google Calendar, which will give a personalized, analytical experience on the web, to see how your time is spent across meetings. With the changes to our working environments in the past year (Covid-19), some people have more meetings and may feel less control over how their work time is spent. Time Insights can show you this data, and help you plan your time better.

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Google Workspace Now Available to Gmail Users

June 14th, 2021

Google is announcing some changes to its Workspace suite of apps and services today, including availability for anybody who has a Google account. By bringing Google Workspace to anyone with a Gmail account, Google are making it easy for people to stay connected, get organized and achieve more together.

With the new Google Workspace subscription offering, individual small business owners can get more done, show up more professionally and better serve their customers.

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Save photos from Gmail messages directly to Google Photos

May 26, 2021

Now when you get a photo attachment in a Gmail message, you can save it directly to Google Photos with a new "Save to Photos" button. You’ll see it next to the existing “Add to Drive” button on the attachment and while previewing the image attachment. Currently, this is only available for JPEG images.

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Email aliases now included in Gmail search results

Feb 11, 2021

When you search for an email address in Gmail, we'll now show all emails associated with that specific address and any aliases it's part of. These results will be pulled from the to, from, cc, and bcc fields, or anywhere in the email.

With this change, searching will be easier and results more comprehensive, as users won’t need to remember all of someone’s aliases and run multiple searches for each.

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Resize the Chat and Rooms sections in Gmail on the Web

Jan 19, 2021

You can now resize the Chat and Rooms sections in the left-side navigation of Gmail on the web. This makes it easier to stay on top of your most important conversations and navigate to relevant chats faster.

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View richer information about co-workers directly within the Gmail side panel

Nov 23, 2020

You can now find additional information about people within your organization, your Contacts, and people who email you in the Gmail side panel. This includes:

  • Contact information, such as phone number and email address
  •  Team and manager
  •  Office and desk location
  •  Whether you’ve received email from them before, and more.
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Grant access to Drive files directly from Gmail

Oct 20, 2020

Google are making it easier to manage access requests to Drive files by sending dynamic emails which allow you to respond to the request without leaving Gmail. When someone requests access to a Drive file, you’ll receive an email with the access request. Now, Gmail users will be able to manage that request directly from that email, without leaving the message. Specifically, you’ll receive a dynamic email that lets you review the request, choose the access level (e.g. edit, comment, or view), and grant access directly from the email. 

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G-Suite Rebranding: Introducing Google Workspace

Oct 07, 2020

Google announced a big rebranding and redesign for its suite of office apps today, rebranding G Suite with a new name: Google Workspace. Google Workspace is everything you need to get anything done, now in one place. Google Workspace includes all of the productivity apps you know and love—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and many more. Whether you're returning to the office, working from home, on the frontlines with your mobile device, or connecting with customers, Google Workspace is the best way to create, communicate, and collaborate.

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New Integrated Experience In G Suite Across Web and Android

Aug 12, 2020

In August, Google announced that they were introducing the new integrated workspace, bringing users' favorite apps closer together for easier use. This included Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet. It now allows for seamless collaboration for your team right inside Gmail.

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Meet Rolls Out on Android and Mobile for iOS

July 20, 2020

This was a simple but timely rollout during the coronavirus pandemic, with so many people suddenly working remotely. It allows a user to start and join any secure video meeting via a new dedicated tab on the Android and iOS Gmail apps.

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Migration of Users From Hangouts to Google Chat

June 2, 2020

Earlier in the year, Google announced that they were making Chat their primary conversation tool. As of June, you can migrate all of your users from Hangouts to Google Chat. In addition, “Chat Preferred” became the main setting in the Admin console.

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Quick Settings Rolled Out for Layout

May 26, 2020

With so many people spending so much time inside the Gmail interface, it was natural for Google to include a Quick Settings option. When you click on the Quick Settings menu, you can now quickly change interfaces, the type of inbox you prefer, display options, and more. This doesn't affect the main settings – they can still be accessed via “See All Settings."

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Start or Join a Google Meet Video From Gmail

April 16, 2020

With the need to stay connected becoming more critical than ever, Google made this simple change in April. Google Meet became available inside the Gmail interface, allowing users to start or join meetings straight from there.

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Improved Gmail Security Rolled Out

April 2, 2020

In a move to encourage organizations to make their email conversations even more secure (and in line with the increased use of TLS, or Transport Layer Security), Google made a few changes to Gmail security.

After this update, TLS for email connections was enabled by default in the admin area. It also allowed admins to test the TLS configuration of their SMTP outbound routes before deployment.

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Ability to Add and Use Multiple Gmail Signatures

April 22, 2020

Although initially delayed, Google rolled this feature out during April of 2020. Previously, you’d only been able to add one signature to each of your Gmail accounts, and this update allowed users to add several.This means that users can now swap between signatures when speaking to different teams or when switching between professional and personal emails - all at the click of a button.

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Improved Search Results in Gmail With Search Chips

February 19, 2020

When this new feature was introduced, many people asked, “what are search chips?”

Essentially, it was a significant improvement on Gmail's already good search and filter functionalities. Now, if you search by a teammate's name in the search box, you can also select chips to further narrow your results (this could be by attachment type, specific time frames, and even calendar invites). Super handy.

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Multiple Inbox Updates Rolled Out

February 5, 2020

This was a fairly substantial update in which Gmail enhanced multiple inboxes with features such as a unified toolbar and independent scrolling.

Some additional details were noted by Google at the time:

  • Split pane configurations not supported - these were also renamed “Reading Panes.”
  • Improved reading pane - this allowed context to be added to your conversations with the ability to open email text next to your list of conversations.
  • Added scroll bars, adjustable panels, and collapsible sections
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Propose Meeting Times and Add Notes to Calendar From Inside Gmail

January 13, 2020

Although set for release on December 12, 2019, this new feature was delayed until the following January.

This was a simple addition but a very powerful one. Now, when you open a Google Calendar invite from within your Gmail account, you can make quick changes to it without having to leave your inbox.

Google also added a “More Options” feature. From there, you can propose a new time for the meeting and add a note to the meeting invite to give it more context.

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Dynamic Email for Android and iOS

November 21, 2019 - April 28, 2020

This was another big update for Gmail, taking several months to completely roll out. It allowed users to take direct action on things like managing subscription preferences or RSVPing to an event from directly within an email.

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Dark Theme Introduced for Android and iOS

September 24, 2019

Not everyone is a fan of Dark Theme, but it has been gaining popularity over the last few years. With this update, Gmail users on Android and iOS finally had the option to use a dark theme on their mobile app.

To enable on Android, you simply choose the Android Display Setting and then pick Dark. To set from inside Gmail, go to Setting, then Theme, and choose Dark.

For iOS users, you need to set Dark Theme in the iOS Settings and Gmail Settings. Alternatively, you can navigate to Gmail and choose Setting and then Dark.

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Out of Office Shows in Gmail and Hangouts

August 29, 2019

If you have an Out of Office entry on your Google Calendar, that status now appears in Gmail and Hangouts. When someone is trying to contact you, they will see a banner before they even send the email or message. While this might not deter everyone from sending you messages while you are away, it will warn them beforehand so they can decide whether or not it's worth sending the email.

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Improved As-You-Type Spelling and Grammar Correction Rolled Out

August 20, 2019 - October 1, 2019

This turned out to be a game-changer for some, with many users praising Gmail for this feature.

Google began using Artificial Intelligence to improve the spell check function when typing in Gmail and to try to locate any potential grammar mistakes. If the spelling mistake is a common one that Gmail is sure about, it autocorrects those for you on the fly.

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Dynamic Email in Gmail Available

June 10, 2019

During June and July of 2019, Gmail launched Dynamic Email within the Gmail interface. It was set as default in the backend, but you could always disable it via the Google Admin console.

So what is dynamic email? It allows you to do things like RSVP to events, you can fill out a poll, and leave comments without leaving Gmail.

In addition to that, if you use Google Docs in your workplace, you can see an up-to-date thread inside Gmail with the comments that other team members have left for you – and reply within that same email. Another productivity win for Gmail.

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Smart Compose Rolled Out on Android and iOS

June 3, 2019

Smart Compose was rolled out for G Suite users in 2018, but you had to wait until June 2019 to see it inside Android and iOS.

One of Gmail’s most popular recent updates, this brilliant addition to the tool helps you complete sentences before you finish writing them. Another priceless addition for anyone who has to type many emails every day – and that’s most of us nowadays.

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Send Later Rolled Out in Gmail

April 1, 2019

For those who work with people on different continents or have a particular reason for an email to hit the recipient’s inbox at a specific time, Send Later was a welcome addition to Gmail.

Despite it being released on April 1st, it wasn’t one of Google’s practical jokes. You can now write an email and schedule it to be sent later – both in the web version of Gmail and on the Android and iOS apps.

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RSVP to Calendar Invites in Gmail

April 3, 2019

For anyone who uses Gmail regularly, this feature is incredibly useful. Starting in April 2019, you could now RSVP to events from within Gmail rather than visit the separate Google Calendar app.

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New Gmail Look and Feel for Mobile

January 29, 2019

Back at the start of 2019 and end of 2018, Google announced that they were changing the look and feel of many of their products (Drive, Sheets, Docs, Sites, and Slides). On January 29th, 2019, that new look finally made it to Gmail on mobile.

It got a few new enhancements:

  • Attachments could now be viewed without having to open or scroll through a conversation
  • Gmail made it quick and easy to jump between your personal account and your work account
  • The use of color in Gmail was reduced, and more focus was given to the content itself
  • The search functionality was made more obvious with a new large search bar
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Reminders to Respond Added To Gmail

May 14, 2018
We all get dozens and dozens of emails every single day, and it can be hard to keep up with them. This is why Gmail introduced reminders that nudge you if you receive an email that its AI thinks you might have forgotten to respond to. These nudges fall into two categories: “emails to reply to” and “emails to follow up on.”
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