10 interesting features of Gmail over years

Gmail has turned ten years old. Over the years, Google’s free email service has changed the way we communicate. Gmail, which debuted as an invitation-only product in 2004 and stayed in beta for over two years, today boasts of over 500 million users.

In the past decade, Gmail has offered email users several innovative features. We bring to you 10 of the key ones launched by the internet giant as it turns 10.

Huge storage

Google’s Gmail was the first email to give users 1GB storage, a feature which made it an instant hit. Gmail’s competitors, including Microsoft’s Hotmail — the reigning email service then — offered users storage between 2-4MB. In fact, courtesy the storage offered many thought Gmail to be a hoax.Today, Google offers 15GB of storage across products, including Gmail, Drive and Google+ Photos

Google brought search to inboxes with Gmail. Built on Google search technology, Gmail enabled users to quickly search every email they have ever sent or received.

This is another one of those ‘it’s different’ features: Unsend. For those who don’t know, Google lets you ‘unsend’ or take back your mail.

The hidden tool in Gmail Settings offers a 30-second window of opportunity to make up for your email mistakes.

Threaded conversations

Another Gmail innovation is threaded conversations. The conversation view was one of the most defining and differentiating features of the service when Google introduced it in 2004. The threaded email view with grouped messages is said to have made communicating on email much easier.

However, the feature is also one of the most debated one too, with naysayers terming threaded view as a distraction. Hence, some six years later, in 2010, Google gave users the option to turn off Gmail’s conversation threads.

Gmail offline

Yes, Gmail has an ‘offline’ version too. It is a Google Chrome app that allows users to read and manage messages without an internet connection. Not just this, they can also compose messages that will be sent when they are back online.
Gmail Labs

It’s a feature that lets users test all the new or experimental features Google engineers are working on for Gmail. All that a user needs to get going is to go to the Labs tab in Gmail Settings to turn on the ‘features’ they want to use.
Self-sorting inbox

Gmail’s another useful novelty is its self-sorting inbox. The redesigned inbox offers users tabs for their mail: one for messages from social sites, one for promotions and offers, and one primary tab.
Gmail Voice

Gmail is not all just about messaging. Users can also call their GTalk contacts while using Gmail’s Voice feature. Just click on the ‘Call’ button, placed beside contacts’ profiles, to make the call if the person is online.

There’s option of voicemails too. If some user is offline, he or she can be sent voicemails using the same feature; the recipients will be notified of the voicemails with the following subject line in email: Voicemail from Contact Name (x seconds). Instead of the usual email icon, such messages have a telephone icon to signify that they contain a voicemail.

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