Gmail 2018 update: All the new features and how to get them now

The update, which is primarily for the web version of Google’s email service, brings new security and artificial intelligence features. Here’s everything that’s new, and if you want to start playing with the update now, we’ve also included instructions on how to get it straightaway.

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Gmail has been totally revamped with a new look. Everything from the left sidebar to the compose button is different. There’s even a new bar on the right for add-ons (which we’ll get to in a bit). But most importantly, with the new Gmail, you can see and click attachments in your inbox without having to open a thread.

You can also hover over messages to RSVP to an invite or archive an email thread or snooze an email. As for that last feature, Google said Gmail’s built-in Snooze feature can save users upwards of 100 million opens per month. It essentially reduced the need to repeatedly open the same emails in your inbox.

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Confidential mode lets you create expiration dates for emails and revoke previously sent messages. You can further add two-factor authentication if you want to ensure only the intended recipient accesses the email.

Google’s also rolled out new controls that let you limit what an emailrecipient can do with your message . These controls, called Information Rights Management, let you remove the option to forward, copy, download, or print email messages. This, again, reduces the risk of confidential information being shared with the wrong people.

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Gmail has begun to leverage Google’s AI technology. For instance, with a Nudging feature, Gmail can proactively remind you to follow up or respond to messages. And with Smart Reply, first introduced last year to the Gmail mobile apps, you can quickly respond to emails using auto-suggested responses that Gmail will serve up on the web.

You’ll also see high-priority notifications (available both in the Gmail web app and mobile apps). These notify you when you get important emails. But Google said the goal is to cut down on interruptions.

Lastly, Gmail can now smartly recommend when to unsubscribe from mailing lists. These suggestions are based on how many emails you get from a sender and whether you actually read those emails.

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Google has integrated Gmail with other G Suite apps. So, for instance, you can quickly reference, create, or edit Calendar invites or write notes in Keep — all from a new side panel in your inbox, which makes it easier to access Gmail add-ons, like third-party business apps you might use. You’ll start to see the new side panel in other G Suite apps, too.

From the side bar, you can also manage to-dos in Tasks, a new mobile app now available from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store for free. You can use Tasks to create tasks and subtasks or add due dates with notifications. You can also drag and drop an email into Tasks to create a to-do, and then your due dates will appear in your Calendar.

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Gmail finally offers native offline capabilities.

You’re able to search, write, respond, delete, or archive up to 90 days of email, just as you would while working online.

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Google has announced what it calls Business Email Compromise (BEC) threats – or when someone tries to impersonate a an executive in your business to obtain confidential information. Google introduced phishing protections to prevent these threats, and said Gmail can block 99.9 per cent of BEC attempts by warning users or moving messages to spam.

As part of this change, Google has redesigned Gmail’s security warnings. They should now appear bigger and bolder, give a clear call to action, and better inform you when potentially risky email arrives in your inbox.

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It’s now rolling out to users around the globe. You’ll start to see offline support, Confidential mode, Nudging, high-priority notifications, and unsubscribe suggestions appear in the coming weeks. If the update is available for you now, you may not see all the new features right away. Some, like Confidentiality mode, have a staggered release.

Go to your Gmail account on the web, then click the gear icon in the top right corner, and if the update is available on your account, you will see an option to “Try the new Gmail” at the top of the drop-down menu.

Ask your system admin to enable the new Gmail on your G Suite account at work or school. Administrators can do this as part of their Early Adopter Program. They just need to go to the Admin Console and allow users to access the new Gmail. After they’ve turned this on, individual accounts will receive the “Try the new Gmail” option under Settings.

If you hate the new Gmail, you can revert the changes (for now). Just go back to the Settings cog and then select the option to revert to Classic Gmail. Once done, refresh your browser. That’s it!

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The Top Small Business Software

When it comes to software, i hold a soft spot here because almost all of the of the things we do or create by a means uses software. From a personal perspective i feel this is any area that is very important but most often few of us know the answers to what would be helpful. Having worked with both small and large companies i feel i can give some ideas on what productive software one needs in day today work. The reality is not all software is created equally. Here are a few of the top small business software solutions to consider in 2017.

Having the right software for your business needs can mean the difference between getting things done or… having tasks linger, unaddressed, on your to-do list.

Unfortunately, most top software companies often focus on larger businesses, rather than small enterprises. As a result, many of their solutions are either unaffordable or loaded with features smaller companies don’t need.

Not all software is this way. More and more, software providers are offering small business versions of their enterprise solutions or are targeting the small business market with programs uniquely designed to meet its needs. If you’re in the market for a new tool, here are a few of the top small business software solutions to consider in 2015.

Accounting

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, chances are you’re good at what you do–but significantly less practiced at the administrative side of running a business. But whether you’re knowledgeable or not, needs like accounting must be taken care of. Any of the following tools will help get your books in order, whether you do so in order to manage your own finances or to pass your information on to your CPA.

QuickBooks

One of the most recognized names in small business accounting, QuickBooks offers both desktop and online versions (depending on the needs of your company and the experience of your team members), you may prefer one over the other. Regardless of the option you choose, Quickbooks is reasonably affordable, though taking full advantage of the program does require a bit of training.

As an added bonus, most accounting firms are experienced with QuickBooks. If you plan to seek outside support for your business’s finances, give this program a shot, as its widespread familiarity will make transmitting your data to your accountant a snap.

FreshBooks

If QuickBooks proves to be a bit of an overkill for your startup’s needs, check out FreshBooks. This cloud-based accounting software program is easier to use than QuickBooks and supports over 50 integrations–including payroll and email programs. FreshBooks features a 30 days free trial and subscription-based pricing from $19.95 per month up to $39.95 per month after this period.

Wave Accounting

Another cloud-based accounting tool, Wave Accounting has been named the best free accounting software for small businesses by Business News Daily. It’s important to note that Wave is for very small businesses–in particular, companies with fewer than 10 staff members will get the most out of this QuickBooks alternative. That said, it provides excellent functionality for free, with free user forums for support or live support packages starting at $9 per month if your needs are more complex.

Human Resources

Scaling your startup by bringing on employees is a major milestone for small businesses. But despite the game-changing nature of this step forward, few entrepreneurs take the time to fully address their human resources needs or to implement the HR technologies that can streamline these systems.

Instead of letting your human resources needs get out of control as you expand, put one of the following tools into place as soon as possible:

Zenefits

This all-in one human resource software program gives you access to benefits management, payroll processing, onboarding tools and more. Even better, many Zenefits features can be set to run automatically after your initial configuration, significantly reducing the amount of time you need to spend on these tasks on an ongoing basis.

As an added bonus, if your small business uses contractors rather than–or in addition to–regular employees, Zenefits makes it easy to manage their details as well, allowing you to track their compensation and handle their tax needs from within a single program.

BambooHR

Like Zenifits, BambooHR is a cloud-based HR system that’s simple interface and intuitive design make it a great fit for small and medium sized businesses. Although the program is exclusively an online human resource information system, it does integrate with other payroll solutions or applicant tracking software, giving you easy access from one central dashboard.

sumHR

Finally, sumHR is a great small business HR software program that focuses on attendance, leave, and payroll functions. If you’re looking to take your employee directory out of the spreadsheets and into a professional program, sumHR may be the solution for you. The company is also planning on adding new features soon, including reporting and performance reviews, making it one to watch into the future.

HRMagic

HRMagic has Employee Profile Management, Recruitment, Leave, Time Sheet Management, Payroll, Commission/Contract Invoice Management among other modules ) and HR consultancy to various companies.

Scheduling

Plenty of small businesses have scheduling concerns to deal with, whether yours come in the form of hourly workers or customer appointments to be booked. But despite the widespread nature of this problem, many of these companies still rely on outdated pen and paper scheduling books which are both time-consuming to manage and vulnerable to human error.

There’s got to be a better way–and there is! Check out any of the following programs for your scheduling needs:

When I Work

Scheduling staff hours doesn’t have to be difficult–When I Work makes the process intuitive and simple, helping to reduce absences and avoid employee miscommunications. When I Work offers mobile accessibility so that staff can see their schedules, trade shifts among themselves and request time off while on-the-go. The program’s pricing comes as a monthly subscription fee that’s based on the number of staff you manage–up to 20 staff can be scheduled for $29 per month.

Booker

If you have clients that need to make appointments or you offer classes that your customers need to sign up for, Booker makes it easy. Once installed, you can attract customers from your website or social media profile and bring them to a central site where they can then book appointments. The site is optimized for mobile users, making it easy to build relationships with clients through the program’s provided messaging and retention tools.

Genbook

Another solution for online booking, Genbook allows your customers to book appointments while also giving you the tools needed to manage your business, staff, and reputation. Genbook allows your former customers to post reviews of your company, giving you immediate credibility with new clients. Your staff can access the schedule and receive reminders, and you can publish promotions and share them on social media. To give this innovative program a try, take advantage of Genbook’s 30-day free trial (post-trial prices range from $20-$70 per month).

Google Keep

Free, cheap, no complicated training needed and good for scheduling. I must say I use Google Keep more than I thought I would. I have an Evernote account and I think it a great application, which I do use daily. The two applications have similarities and different users will definitely see different strengths in both.

Simple. That’s how I would best describe Google Keep. If you have ever used sticky notes, you will get the idea.  Once you start playing with Google Keep, you’ll figure it out quickly.

I think the three neatest features that it offers are: sharing, optical character recognition (OCR), and labeling. Again, once you execute the function the first time, you will remember how you did it.

Small business software can be a difficult world to navigate, but the good news is that there are plenty of companies out there doing it right. Whether you need help with your accounting, human resources or scheduling needs, the software listed above will help launch your company successfully into 2015.

What’s your favorite small business software program? Why? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below!