While most of the code inside of our favorite apps is back-end and under-the-hood sort of stuff, even the most finely-tuned app won't get far in the Play Store listings without a good user interface and feature set. Third-party Gmail clients and other apps that interface with Gmail are no different. In the past, developers whose apps interfaced with Gmail had to either program manual workarounds for certain user-facing features or leave them out altogether. While the list is still far from exhaustive, Google has rolled out an update to the Gmail API that adds a host of new developer access endpoints for user-facing and user-controlled features, allowing developers to integrate these features into their apps quickly and painlessly. The updated API will also allow network and system admins whose users are on Gmail to exert a new degree of control over certain inbox features that have historically been left up to the user.
The new set of endpoints includes access to setting up filters, forwarding functions like forwarding address and auto-forwarding, access to user signatures and vacation responders, and send-as aliases. New POP and IMAP controls at the backend are also on board, and have been integrated into all of these endpoints. Developers and admins will be able to take on completely new functions, such as configuring a new send-as alias that can send mail from an outside service or internal corporate email, using HTML functions and formatting in vacation responders, and even tweaking user settings on their network on an individual account level without any input from the user.
With all of these features accessible to developers, they can be integrated into third-party apps to allow a new degree of control for users who have shied away from the official Gmail app. For system and network admins, control over all of these functions will allow for more uniformity in user operations and, with any luck, less questions from end users on the network. All of the new features and endpoints should already be live in the latest update to the API, but are only available to highly privileged users who have full-domain authority, for now. While this could mean giving lower admins more permissions than they need or passing some tasks further up the ladder for now, it's a necessary evil, since the new features have yet to undergo heavy testing outside of Google's own stress and bug tests.