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December 2014

Gmail Update

Updated November 2014


I suppose that there will always be Gmail updates. Always. I should get used to it.

The most recent update (November 2014), represents a major overhaul of the Gmail app. The app now handles non-Gmail email accounts in addition to Gmail, which is a nice move but potentially confusing. The net effect is that Google is eliminating the Email app from Android. So from now on, the Gmail app handles all your phone or tablet email.

Exploring the Inbox

The Gmail app shows only one account's inbox at a time. A sidebar appears, which is used to switch accounts, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1
Figure 1. The Gmail inbox lists all your email accounts.

Refer to the book for information on adding new email accounts. The new email accounts you add show up in the Gmail app as opposed to the Email app.

You can still tap the App icon to view the navigation drawer, show in Figure 2. Switch between accounts by tapping the account bubble, illustrated in the Figure.

Figure 2
Figure 2. Navigation drawer on the main screen

Messages are flagged by large, colorful icons. The icons show the first letter of the contact who sent the message or, when the person is one of your contacts and that contact has a picture, you'll see the contact picture.

Newer messages appear atop the list. Swipe the screen from bottom to top to peruse your entire inbox.

Select multiple messages by touching the contact icons. Continue selecting messages, then use the actions atop the screen to do various interesting things with the messages as shown in Figure 3. Additional actions are available by touching the Action Overflow icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Figure 3
Figure 3. Selecting messages.

Reading messages

Tap a message to view it full-screen in vertical orientation, shown in Figure 4. Use the icons to reply to the message, forward, and so on. Additional commands are available through the Action Overflow icon (shown in Figure 4), as well as at the very bottom of the message (also shown in the Figure).

Figure 4.
Figure 4. Reading a message full screen (vertical orientation).

Swipe the screen right-to-left to read the next oldest message in the inbox; swipe left-to-right to read more recent messages.

In Figure 5, you see the Gmail app when the phone or tablet is in horizontal orientation. In that view, you can see both the inbox and message.

Figure 5.
Figure 5. Reading a message in horizontal orientation.

Creating a New Message

To write a new epistle, tap the Compose icon, shown below.

compose icon

The icon hovers over the lower right corner of the inbox screen (refer to Figure 1). The new message is composed by using whichever inbox is shown, although you can choose another account as shown in Figure 6, which illustrates the composition screen.

Figure 6.
Figure 6. New message composition.

To save a draft copy of the message, touch the Action Overflow icon and choose the Save Draft command.

To cancel the message, touch the Action Overflow icon and choose Discard. Touch the OK button to confirm.

Adding Message Attachments

Attachments in your messages look similar to Figure 7, adorned with the popular paperclip icon. Touch the Action Overflow icon to control how you'll deal with the attachment, as shown in the Figure.

Figure 7.
Figure 7. Dealing with an attachment.

Your key options are Preview and Save to Drive/Save. Choose Preview to display the attachment in the message. Choose Save to download the attachment to the tablet, where it can be viewed by using the Downloads app.

The Save to Drive option is used to save the attachment to your Google Drive cloud storage. After saving, you'll find the attachment located in your Google Drive's main folder.

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