Who doesn’t love software updates? Generally, an update improves an app or the inner workings of a device for the better. There are occasions where an update can ruin the user experience, but we’re not here to talk about that.
The Gmail app for Android just received an update which added a couple new features. Maybe this is Google’s way of trying to satisfy folks that are upset about Google Reader’s demise?
There is a requirement for the new app version though, if you’re not running a device with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or above then you won’t be getting the improved notifications. Sorry folks, I guess that’s just how Google rolls these days.
The new Gmail app mainly adds some shortcuts into the extended notifications. When you receive a notification about an email, you can now archive, or reply the message directly from the notification window.
Also improved are the app notifications themselves. You can essentially use features that were added in previous updates, to create custom ringtones for various labels. For example, if you’d like to set a specific ringtone for work emails, it’s as easy as filtering previous emails, labeling them and setting a ringtone for the label.
Of course, what would a software update be without the usual optimization upgrades? The search function has been improved significantly, and now returns query results much faster, and more accurately. Now that, the Gmail search function was faulty to begin with, it actually already kicked butt. Luckily, the improved search support is for users with Android 4.1 (ICS) and above. Seeing as most of the newer devices are running Ice Cream Sandwich, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
So, even though Google is getting rid of services that a lot of us happen to love (cough Google Reader cough), at least they’re still offering support for some of the apps that matter most.
Go ahead and give a shout out in the comments below if you’ve used the latest version of Gmail for Android. What do you like about the new features? On the flipside, what do you hate? Yes, you can even complain about Google Reader going away too if that’s what you need to do.