#io13: Google makes Gmail more useful with task-based buttons and Wallet integration

17 May 20133 Shares

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We’re unlikely to see any major Google product come out of I/O without some kind of update, and Gmail is no exception, as the email service gets new quick action buttons to help users get things done fast.

Quick action buttons will appear next to certain messages in users’ inboxes, depending on their content. For example, an invite email will have an ‘RSVP’ button, or an order confirmation will have a ‘Track Package’ button.

These buttons will let users take action on an email without even opening it up.

Another common email being optimised by Gmail is the good old flight confirmation. When these emails are opened, flight information will be displayed across the top of the message, letting users know at a glance their departure and arrival times, terminal and gate details, and if there are delays that will affect them. This information bar also includes a link to flight check-in.

Gmail inbox with quick action buttons

Gmail inbox with quick action buttons

Much like Google Now tries to anticipate your searches based on information it knows about you, Gmail will use the information in your emails to predict the actions you might want or need to take. It’s about streamlining the email experience and could lessen the time it takes to manage your inbox and complete tasks.

Google Now has also been improved on, with more cards added and a desktop version created.

Email opened in Gmail with flight information

Email opened in Gmail with flight information

Quick action buttons will roll out to Gmail users over the next few weeks and the Gmail team hopes to expand on their functionality going forward, inviting developers to create actions for their emails.

Google also announced that its Google Wallet payments service (available in the US only) will be integrated with Gmail, allowing users to pay others by email. Payments can be transferred by simply clicking ‘Attach Money’ in the email composer, just as you would to attach a document or a photo. These payments are free to bank accounts connected with Wallet while others will incur a small transaction fee.

Google Wallet integration with Gmail

Google Wallet integration with Gmail

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com