There’s a reason Gmail is far and away the world’s most popular e-mail program with 1.5 billion users. It has way more features than rivals.
Are you using them?
Wouldn’t you like to make free phone calls from your e-mail program or translate a French e-mail into English, right from within Gmail? Google’s free e-mail program, which turned 15 this week, continues to innovate.
Here are seven things you can do with Gmail that you can’t do with AOL, Yahoo or Microsoft Outlook.com or Hotmail.
Make free phone calls
Technically, Microsoft lets you do this, too, via Outlook.com, but it takes you out of the program and over to Skype. In Gmail, just click “Make a call,” at the bottom of the left-hand screen, type in the number of your contact and connect via your webcam mic. Calls to the United States and Canada are free and connected to Google’s Hangouts app for the call.
Translate to other languages
When an e-mail arrives in a foreign language, depending on which version you are using, you can click “View translated message” at the top of the e-mail or click the three stacked dots on the right of the email and select “Translate message” to reveal that option – and voila, right on the spot Google will put it into English, or any number of languages from Afrikaans or Albanian to Yiddish or Zulu.
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Have the robot help compose your sentences
With Google’s Smart Assist, Google’s artificial intelligence figures out what you’re trying to say and auto-completes the sentence for you. It also offers suggested responses in an e-mail to save you some keystrokes. For instance, in the example below, we typed “What time do you want to meet” and Google added “tomorrow?” On another e-mail, it throws in “will do” and “got it,” as appropriate responses.
Send disappearing Gmails
It’s not Snapchat, but it’s a similar idea. You can put an expiration date on your Gmail and have it expire within a certain period of time. You can even add an extra layer of confidential protection by requiring a passcode that’s sent to the recipient by text message.
Request money or pay a friend directly within Gmail
Apple has this feature in the iChat program, but Google has it built directly into Gmail. You can request money or pay a friend directly from within the mail – but first, you and your friend will have to be registered for Google Pay.
Only see the good stuff
In Gmail, Google separates the most important communications into the “Primary” folder and puts the rest into two other, rarely viewed categories, Social and Promotion. Thus, all of those endless offers on sales, and forum updates, don’t clog up your main inbox.
Schedule e-mails in advance.
This is a new feature that is coming to Gmail shortly, per the company. When you click send, you’ll be given a choice of sending it now or having it go out at a later date.
Readers: What’s your favorite Gmail feature? Tell us about it on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham