Despite the prevalence of instant messaging, group chat, and video conferencing platforms, email remains the standard of communication in the workplace, both within the same company and across different entities. The protocol hasn’t exactly evolved over the decades, and users have been forced to rely on special features provided by email clients and service providers on top of the standard. Take, for example, today’s update to Gmail on the Web that will help make sure employees and organizations send the right emails to the right persons.
If you thought sending an email without the promised attachment was bad enough, imagine sending a sensitive email to a colleague or, worse, someone outside the company. Such mistakes can not only be embarrassing but even costly, as in the case of leaked email addresses or confidential company information. Many email apps and services make it very easy to add recipients to an email, which sometimes makes it only too easy to add the wrong people.
You technically can’t “unsend” emails (unless a service provider has such a feature), but Gmail will at least provide some safeguards when sending out emails to multiple people at the same time. For example, email addresses or displayed names will now also come with avatar chips, a.k.a. profile pics, to make it easier to visually see who has been added to the recipient list. Gmail will also save you some time by marking people you’ve already added so you won’t try to add them twice or, worse, add someone with nearly the same name by mistake.
There are also some new features to protect people’s and organizations’ privacy. You can, for example, set a different “display name” for the people in your recipient list, and that will be the name that others will see, effectively masking their real names. Gmail will also highlight recipients from outside the organization and warn that you might be sending an internal email to external people.
These changes will be rolling out to Gmail on the Web starting October 20 and will be available to all Google Workspace, G Suite Basic, and G Suite Business customers. Unfortunately, those with personal Google accounts won’t be getting these face-saving features.