What’s New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out

Mihir Patkar 04-07-2015

Ah, Gmail. It has become an integral part of our connected lives, ingrained in our daily flow of getting things done. The downside of that is that, like me, you might have missed out on a few new features Gmail has gradually added in the past year. So let’s look at what deserves our attention.


We won’t be looking at third-party tools like Sortd, a smart skin to turn Gmail into a Trello-like board Turn Gmail Into A Trello-Like Task Board With Sortd In the modern workforce, your email often turns into your task list. Well, now you can get Trello-style organisation right in Gmail with a new Chrome extension, Sortd. Read More . All the features here are built into your Gmail and you don’t need to download or install anything.

Emojis! And More Themes!


The Internet’s most popular new language is emojis, the spiritual successor to emoticons. Emojis can transcend languages Can Emoji Transcend Language Boundaries? Will the connected age help us move beyond language as we know it? Some people think that emoji could revolutionize how we communicate. Let's take a look. Read More , so it’s only natural that any form of text communication should support them. Google recently announced that it now has added a plethora of new emojis to Gmail.

To insert an emoji, just click the “Insert Emoticon” icon in your Compose window and choose what you want. The emojis are still rolling out to all users, so in case you don’t see them yet, be patient, they are coming soon.



Gmail has also added a whole bunch of new Themes, apart from letting you upload your own photos. Plus, you can now also customize the theme using three editing tools: blur, vignette, and text background.

To change themes:

  1. Click the gear in the top right.
  2. Select Themes
  3. Choose a theme from your images, from Google’s “Featured” collection, or upload your own.
  4. Change the blur, add a vignette, and choose a light or dark background for text.

You Can Now “Undo” Sent Emails


For a long time now, Google has kept some features available only as experiments in its innovative Gmail Labs. One of those experiments has finally been rolled out to be a part of Gmail forever: Undo Send.


That’s right! If you accidentally send an email, you now get the option to “Undo Send”. You can select a cancellation period between 5 and 30 seconds, which determines how long that option will be available for you after sending an email. Here’s how to enable it:

  1. Click the gear in the top right.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Scroll down to “Undo Send” in the default General tab and click “Enable”.
  4. Set the cancellation period.
  5. Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page.

If you use the useful new Inbox by Gmail Google Inbox Review: A Breath Of Fresh Air Gmail is a household name in the email department, but Google wasn't content with it. Meet Google Inbox, a new way of approaching email. Read More , then Undo Send is also part of that package.

No More Attachment Limits!


For the longest time, Gmail limited the size of the file you can attach in an email to 25MB. While that technical limit still exists, it’s as good as gone because of Google Drive’s integration with Gmail.


Google Drive is the unified online cloud storage service for Gmail and other Google apps, which offers a minimum of 15GB of free storage. If a file you want to send is over 25MB, then you can simply insert it through Google Drive, an option available right in the Compose window, as shown above.

If you are primarily a Dropbox user, then Dropbox for Gmail offers similar features for Chrome Dropbox for Gmail: Why Google Chrome is Now the Best Dropbox Client Dropbox, one of the best cloud storage providers, requires a local client installed on your computer to be truly useful. However, if you use Google Chrome, you might not need that any more. Read More . But it’s not baked into Gmail, so you’ll only get this on Chrome with that extension installed.

A Pinterest in Your Inbox


Two years ago, Gmail introduced category tabs for the inbox, which sorted your email by Primary, Social, Promotions, and so on. The Promotions tab was especially good for clearing the clutter without fear of missing out on a good deal.


Now, since Promotions is basically all about great deals, Gmail is testing a more visual-oriented way of looking at those emails. You guessed it, Gmail has adopted a tiled, Pinterest-like look.

To get this feature, you need to sign up for the field trial at Opt in, and in a few days, you should see a new “Grid View” option when you’re in the Promotions tab.

The All New Google Contacts


In the top-left corner of your inbox, if you ever click the drop-down arrow next to “Gmail”, you’ll find the option to go into Contacts or Tasks. Google Keep is the new Tasks 4 Google Keep Tips And Tricks For Better Notes, Lists And To-Dos Read More , so that hasn’t got an update, but the all-new Contacts is fantastic.

If you don’t automatically get taken to the new Contacts, then visit to see it in action.

  1. It will offer to merge duplicate contacts into one.
  2. It will automatically update your contact’s info, such as their phone number, from their Google+ profiles.
  3. It will show your last few emails with that person, so you know where you left off.

Couple these features with some of our favorite tips to manage your Google contacts 5 Great Tips To Manage Your Google (& Android) Contacts Read More and your address book should look in great shape.

Bonus: Ditch Hangouts for Old Google Talk


Not every new feature is a winner. Sure, Hangouts is a brilliant messenger on Android The Best All-in-One Messaging & Calling App for Android: Google Hangouts What if there was one app that could do it all? Meet Google Hangouts for Android. Read More , but it can be buggy and bloated when loaded in your Gmail. If you’re sick of it crashing your Chrome tab, there is help at hand: you can go back to good old Google Talk.

Hangouts is now the default messenger in Gmail, but you can still use the old view by clicking the little drop-down arrow next to your profile pic in the chat pane, and clicking “Revert to Old Chat”. Follow the instructions and you’ll be back to good old Google Talk before you know it.

Of course, this means you can’t participate in Hangout Calls or group chats, but you can just switch back and forth easily whenever the need arises.

Tell Us Your Favorite Gmail Tip

Gmail has so many features and everyone has some great ideas on how to use them effectively. For example, I recently rediscovered Labels to finally tame my inbox Rediscover Gmail Labels and Finally Tame Your Inbox There are plenty of tricks to deal with email overload, but there's one right under your nose that you might not be using: good old Gmail labels. Read More .

What’s your best Gmail tip?

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Morv
    May 13, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Hi, sometimes I get a 404 site message when I arrive at this website. I thought you may wish to know, cheers

  2. Anonymous
    October 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    I've run into problems with Gmail after they came out with the new Contacts set up. The Groups don't work. I've added my Dad to our church group but his name doesn't show up, but he is included within my name due to Google+ and I'm not even in the group!!!

    When I start a new email and start to type the name of the group and it appears and I click on it only three (3) or four (4) people within the group get added to the email. I am flabbergasted beyond belief and don't know how to fix it.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  3. Anonymous
    July 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

    "The only thing Gmail really does well is spam filtering"
    Not as far as I am concerned. I have designated email from certain senders as spam repeatedly. Yet I keep getting messages from them. I had to set up a filter to keep those senders from my Inbox but GMail filters only delete messages, they do not send it directly to spam.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:58 am

      I find Gmail's spam filtering to be better than any other email service I've used so far, especially for unsolicited emails.

  4. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Oye. Now I know why half my contacts data is missing. Could they have at least warned us, FCOL! Unbelievable. I thought Google was a refuge from Apple contacts losing data. Silly me.

    • Anonymous
      July 10, 2015 at 7:09 am

      So, MakeUseOf, what is a good contacts manager that will not trash carefully collected data and can sync to iPhone? This is going to send me back to a paper phone book. I'm really tired of apologizing to people for having to ask for their contact info AGAIN.

      • Mihir Patkar
        July 30, 2015 at 6:59 am

        I didn't quite understand why you lost half your contact data. Could you explain that and maybe I can help :)

        • Anonymous
          July 30, 2015 at 7:16 am

          I don't know how to explain it. Just have several times found data missing that I know I've added. What it looked like is that old, poor, incomplete entries had been restored to overwrite newer, more complete entries. I assume it is part of the way Gmail and the iPhone relate. Probably designed to prevent losing old data or something.

          What I've done is get Full Contact. So far, so good! It gathered up data I thought had been lost. I hate that one needs to buy a product to fix the iPhone/Gmail contacts relationship.

          Thanks for your offer of help. Probably I have just whined at you and not helped.

        • Mihir Patkar
          July 30, 2015 at 8:41 am

          Oh no no, you're not whining, I understand that it can sometimes be difficult to explain a problem, but the problem does exist.

          If Full Contact is getting the job done for you, great! Any technology that is working, stick with it. No point fighting about which is better--technology is meant to get out of our way so that we can get things done. If Full Contact does that for you, Full Contact it is!

          If you do want to check what went wrong with Google, Google Contacts has a "restore" feature to bring back an old save of what your contacts looked like on a certain date. Maybe try that? But make sure you back up your current contacts and Full Contact, if you are doing that.

  5. Anonymous
    July 6, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Re the new contact situation, Gmail seems to have eliminated any information I had that didn't sync conveniently with Google+ which means I lost emails and phone numbers for a lot of my contacts. I don't like having my contacts matched up with Google+ - it is excessively creepy and any illusion I had about privacy has gone out the window. I was already unhappy that I was forced to use google+ because of my youtube channel being merged into the google world. I find google+ confusing and poorly designed from the user's perspective. I try to limit my complaining as I appreciate many of the conveniences that come from things being integrated. But the gmail contacts move was just one step too far. I need something that I feel confident is private and safe.

    • Anonymous
      July 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      You can always use the "restore contacts" option to go back in time. If you added anything since then, it will be lost however.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

      Like Shawn said, "Restore Contacts" is a good way to do it.

  6. Anonymous
    July 4, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I use gmail's POP3 settings to have it retrieve my outlook email, keeping everything in one easy webapp.

    Tasks also can integrate with Google Calendar, and last time I checked, Google Keep didn't interact with any other service. There is no way for dated tasks to show up on your Google Calendar with Keep, but there is with Tasks.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

      I'm not sure what they're planning to do with Keep, honestly. They could do a lot, but they just aren't pushing. I'm worried it'll die.

  7. Anonymous
    July 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    My favorite Gmail tip: Switch to a proper IMAP client to ditch threaded messages and reply-before-quote formatting. The only thing Gmail really does well is spam filtering and that's the only reason anyone should pass messages through it.

    • Saikat Basu
      July 5, 2015 at 7:17 am

      You can turn off "Conversation View" in Gmail and ditch threaded messages.The number of messages will increase though and there won't be any link to the original message of course.

      • Anonymous
        July 5, 2015 at 1:39 pm

        You can't turn off threaded view in the Gmail app for Android, nor can inline replies be made default in any Google-provided Gmail client. Someone who works at Google and has responsibility for Gmail has some pretty terrible ideas about how Email should be formatted and they have inflicted their preferences on an absolutely enormous user base so that many people now think proper behavior is incorrect.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Curmudgeon :D