Your Digital Companion

Tuesday, July 12

Google Adds New Features to Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Maps for Android

In the midst of all its redesigningrebranding, and design unification, Google has gone ahead and made some feature changes to its other properties, such as GmailGoogle Docs, and Google Maps for Android. Check them out below:


Over at Gmail, Google added the inbox style option, allowing users to quickly switch between style presets in a tab-like format, or a dropdown menu. There are five different style presets, to be used depending on personal taste, usage scenarios, etc. Google listed the five inbox style presets in a blog entitled “New! Pick your favourite inbox style,” and over the next several weeks, it is expected to unveil other inbox styles as well.

  • Classic - This is the default inbox style most people are used to. In the Classic inbox, messages are ordered chronologically, with your most recent email at the top.
  • Priority Inbox - Important and unread messages appear at the top of your inbox, then starred messages, then everything else. Each section can be customized further, so you can create your own inbox style.
  • Important first - This style puts important mail at the top of the page (both read and unread messages). Everything else is in its own section at the bottom of your inbox. You may have noticed that we turned on importance arrows for everyone a few weeks ago; this inbox style separates messages with these arrows from those without.
  • Unread first - Simple: unread mail at the top; everything else at the bottom.
  • Starred first - Starred messages at the top; everything else at the bottom.

To use the feature, users will have to turn on the Inbox Style feature, and then, will have tabs of the styles on top until they settle on one for more than a week, at which point, the styles will be available via dropdown menu.

Google Docs

Google Docs has seen two new major changes, better document sharing on the go with the improved Google Docs for mobile, and new features for Google Docs videos. The new Google Docs for mobile allows tablets and mobile devices to easily sort and share one or more of their Google documents, either as a link, or as an attachment.


With the new Google Docs videos features, Google now allows users to insert videos from their Google Docs lists to their Google Sites, or embed them on the web, and also caption them.

Google Maps

Google recently introduced many new features for its Google Maps for Android application (bringing it up to version 5.7), and you can check them out here. In the meanwhile, it also added the “Download map area” feature to Labs in Google Maps. Google also wants to take the opportunity to point users to the Labs section, where many new features are available for them to try, such as Measure, and Scale bar.

While the ‘Download map area’ option goes a little against Google’s whole always connected philosophy, it is mighty useful for those times you won’t have access to a data connection. The feature allows users to download a section (10-mile radius) of any map when they have internet access, so that they can use that as an offline, passive guide for when they don’t. So while there is no real navigation element, Google hopes the level of detail, as well as the streets and landmarks depicted will help nonetheless.