Tag Archives: Gmail

How we build with and for people with disabilities

Editor’s note: Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. We’re also sharing how we’re making education more accessibleand launching a newAndroid accessibility feature.

Over the past nine years, my job has focused on building accessible products and supporting Googlers with disabilities. Along the way, I’ve been constantly reminded of how vast and diverse the disability community is, and how important it is to continue working alongside this community to build technology and solutions that are truly helpful.

Before delving into some of the accessibility features our teams have been building, I want to share how we’re working to be more inclusive of people with disabilities to create more accessible tools overall.

Nothing about us, without us

In the disability community, people often say “nothing about us without us.” It’s a sentiment that I find sums up what disability inclusion means. The types of barriers that people with disabilities face in society vary depending on who they are, where they live and what resources they have access to. No one’s experience is universal. That’s why it’s essential to include a wide array of people with disabilities at every stage of the development process for any of our accessibility products, initiatives or programs.

We need to work to make sure our teams at Google are reflective of the people we’re building for. To do so, last year we launched our hiring site geared toward people with disabilities — including our Autism Career Program to further grow and strengthen our autistic community. Most recently, we helped launch the Neurodiversity Career Connector along with other companies to create a job portal that connects neurodiverse candidates to companies that are committed to hiring more inclusively.

Beyond our internal communities, we also must partner with communities outside of Google so we can learn what is truly useful to different groups and parlay that understanding into the improvement of current products or the creation of new ones. Those partnerships have resulted in the creation of Project Relate, a communication tool for people with speech impairments, the development of a completely new TalkBack, Android’s built-in screen reader, and the improvement of Select-to-Speak, a Chromebook tool that lets you hear selected text on your screen spoken out loud.

Equitable experiences for everyone

Engaging and listening to these communities — inside and outside of Google — make it possible to create tools and features like the ones we’re sharing today.

The ability to add alt-text, which is a short description of an image that is read aloud by screen readers, directly to images sent through Gmail starts rolling out today. With this update, people who use screen readers will know what’s being sent to them, whether it’s a GIF celebrating the end of the week or a screenshot of an important graph.

Communication tools that are inclusive of everyone are especially important as teams have shifted to fully virtual or hybrid meetings. Again, everyone experiences these changes differently. We’ve heard from some people who are deaf or hard of hearing, that this shift has made it easier to identify who is speaking — something that is often more difficult in person. But, in the case of people who use ASL, we’ve heard that it can be difficult to be in a virtual meeting and simultaneously see their interpreter and the person speaking to them.

Multi-pin, a new feature in Google Meet, helps solve this. Now you can pin multiple video tiles at once, for example, the presenter’s screen and the interpreter’s screen. And like many accessibility features, the usefulness extends beyond people with disabilities. The next time someone is watching a panel and wants to pin multiple people to the screen, this feature makes that possible.

We've also been working to make video content more accessible to those who are blind or low-vision through audio descriptions that describe verbally what is on the screen visually. All of our English language YouTube Originals content from the past year — and moving forward — will now have English audio descriptions available globally. To turn on the audio description track, at the bottom right of the video player, click on “Settings”, select “Audio track”, and choose “English descriptive”.

For many people with speech impairments, being understood by the technology that powers tools like voice typing or virtual assistants can be difficult. In 2019, we started work to change that through Project Euphonia, a research initiative that works with community organizations and people with speech impairments to create more inclusive speech recognition models. Today, we’re expanding Project Euphonia’s research to include four more languages: French, Hindi, Japanese and Spanish. With this expansion, we can create even more helpful technology for more people — no matter where they are or what language they speak.

I’ve learned so much in my time working in this space and among the things I’ve learned is the absolute importance of building right alongside the very people who will most use these tools in the end. We’ll continue to do that as we work to create a more inclusive and accessible world, both physically and digitally.

Specify which Google Chat notifications from Chat and Gmail to receive when your iOS device is in Focus mode

Quick summary 

You can now specify which Google Chat and Gmail contacts you still want notifications from when your iOS device is in Focus mode. This is useful in situations where you need to limit screen time, but don’t want to miss an important message when other notifications are silenced. 



Getting started 


Rollout pace 


Availability 

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers Available to users with personal Google account 

Resources 

View more information on email delegate activity in the Security Investigation Tool

What’s changing 

Admins can now surface post-delivery actions taken by delegated users in the Security Investigation Tool. Specifically, you can now see if a delegate: 
  • Opened, replied, or marked a message as unread. 
  • Moved a message to the trash or back to their inbox. 
  • Clicked links or attachments. 
  • Downloaded attachments. 




Who’s impacted 

Admins 


Why it’s important 

It’s important to understand the exact user performing actions related to an investigation or audit — this change will give admins greater insight into actions taken by delegated users versus the account owner. 


Getting started 


Rollout pace 


Availability 

  • Available to Google Workspace Enterprise Standard Enterprise Plus, Education Standard, and Education Plus customers 
  • Not available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Education Fundamentals, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers 

Resources 

More information included in comment notifications to help avoid phishing and malware

Quick summary 

When someone mentions you in a comment in a Google Workspace document, we send you an email notification with the comment and the commenter's name. With this update, we are adding the commenter's email address to the email notification. 




We hope that by providing this additional information, this will help you feel more confident that you’re receiving a legitimate notification rather than a spam or phishing attempt by a bad actor. 


Getting started 


Rollout pace 


Availability 

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers
  • Also available to users with personal Google accounts 

Resources 

New integrated view for Gmail features email, Google Meet, Google Chat and Spaces in one place

What’s changing 

We’re introducing a new, integrated view for Gmail, making it easy to move between critical applications like Gmail, Chat and Meet in one unified location.





We’ll introduce this new experience according to this timeline:



Beginning February 8, 2022: 
  • Users can opt-in to test the new experience, allowing them to try it out and become more accustomed to it. Users can revert to classic Gmail via settings. 
  • We will share an update on the Workspace Updates Blog, along with Help Center content, once rollout begins.

By April 2022: 
  • Users who have not opted-in will begin seeing the new experience by default, but can revert to classic Gmail via settings.

By the end of Q2 2022: 
  • This will become the standard experience for Gmail, with no option to revert back.
  • Around the same time, users will also begin seeing the new streamlined navigation experience on Chat web (mail.google.com/chat). 
  • Important Note: This also means users will not have the option to configure Chat to display on the right side of Gmail.




We will share more information on the exact timing of these phases on the Workspace Updates blog. See below for more information.



Who’s impacted

End users



Why you’d use it 

When enabled, the new navigation menu allows you to easily switch between your inbox, important conversations, and join meetings without having to switch between tabs or open a new window. 


Notification bubbles make it easy to stay on top of what immediately needs your attention. When working in Chat and Spaces, you can view a full list of conversations and Spaces within a single screen, making it easier to navigate to and engage. 


When working in your inbox, you’ll be able to view the full array of Mail and Label options currently available in Gmail today. 


In the coming months, you will also see email and chat results when using the search bar, making it easier to find what you need by eliminating the need to search within a specific product.



We hope this new experience makes it easier for you to stay on top of what’s important and get work done faster in a single, focused location. Further, this will help reduce the need to switch between various applications, windows, or tabs.


Getting started

  • Admins: There is no admin control for this feature.
  • End users: This feature will be OFF by default and can be enabled by the user from their Gmail settings. 

Rollout pace

  • Rapid Release domains: Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility) starting on February 8, 2022
  • Scheduled Release domains: Extended rollout (potentially longer than 15 days for feature visibility starting on February 22, 2022

Note: We will share an update on the Workspace Updates Blog, along with Help Center content, once rollout begins.


Availability

  • Available to Google Workspace Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
  • Not available to Google Workspace Essentials customers

You’re cordially invited to use my hybrid holiday party tips

Eight cousins. Six aunts and uncles. A couple of toddlers (both mine). Two (adorable) felines. Some of us will be together, while others will be staying home for the holidays this year.

Sound familiar? Thankfully, many of us have learned a thing or two about “hybrid” gatherings over the past two years. I figured if it could work for…well, work, why not for the holidays?

I’ll be using Google tools to help me host with ease no matter where my friends and family are this year, and I’ve come up with a list of tips so you can, too.

Ready to soirée? Follow these four steps to fête across technical devices and state lines.

Step 1: Draft up a pun-heavy holiday invitation in Gmail. Tailor it for your party and include a Google Calendar invite and link to the Google Meet in the invite. And if you want to keep things extra organized as responses come in, you can make a group and label it “Holiday Party 2021.” Pro tip: Set up an automated reminder to go out to your guests 24 hours before the party.

Step 2: Ahead of party time, send a note to guests attending via Google Meet about the itinerary and let them know what they’ll need to participate. For instance, if you’re hosting a cookie-making party, send the recipe ahead of time. Or if you’re going to vote on ugly sweaters, let them know about Meet’s hand raise feature and polling features so they can be sure to get their vote in (available with Google Workspace Individual).

Step 3: Make everyone feel like they’re together. Whether you host the Google Meet call from your laptop, Pixel or Google Nest Hub Max, you can cast the party to your TV using Chromecast so everyone who’s there IRL can get a good view. Ahead of party time, scope out a good spot for the device that’s hosting the meeting so those on the other end of the call can see and hear everyone. (And so your virtual guests feel present, include the instructions for casting a call to a TV in the note you send before the big day, too.)

Animated GIF showing a Google Meet call with the cursor selecting the captions option and turning it on. Then, the words "Yep, I took it last night. It all seemed pretty clear but I did have one or two questions." Then the cursor selects to translate this into Spanish, which the screen does.

Adding captions to your hybrid get-together is an inclusive, and easy, step.

Step 4: Welcome your guests and make room for all. With Google Workspace Individual, you can show off the hand raise feature so everyone gets a turn to tell a story or joke, enable live captions so all guests can follow the conversation flow easily, and cut out background sounds (like noisy pets!) to reduce distractions. Kindly point out where the mute button is at the start of the party, too. Distracted by the mirror image of yourself on the video call screen? Turn it off with a few clicks! Use the Layout feature so everyone is on the screen at once — no matter where they are.

Step 5: Make it fun! Tap your much cooler niece to create a party playlist on YouTube, and then screen share the tab open to your YouTube playlist for the party. (You can let your guests know they can unpin the shared tile so it doesn’t take up the whole screen.) You and your guests can also use a virtual background (you could even upload a festive backdrop like your favorite photo memories!) You can use Google Jamboard — a free-to-use, virtual whiteboard —and play an IRL-meets-online edition of Pictionary.

Step 6: Give thanks. Send a thank you email after the party wraps. If you have a Google Workspace Individual account, you can record the party for your loved ones who couldn't attend live — just make sure to let attendees know ahead of time.

Hope you enjoyed this crash course in hybrid holiday hosting.

Manage Gmail IMAP controls by group in the Admin console

Quick launch summary

You can now configure Gmail IMAP settings at the group level in the Admin console, giving you more granular levels of control to define trusted mail clients within your organization.

Manage Gmail IMAP settings in the Admin console




Earlier this year, we announced additional enhanced Gmail IMAP controls. With this launch, we’re further ensuring that your users’ communication is secure and reliable.

Gmail IMAP was previously only configurable at the domain or OU level.

Getting started

  • Admins: IMAP options are OFF by default and can be enabled at the domain, organizational unit (OU), or group level. Visit the Help Center to learn more about turning IMAP options on or off for your organization.
  • End users: There is no end user setting for this feature. End users will only be able to use the allowlisted IMAP clients approved by admins.

Rollout pace


Availability

  • Available to Google Workspace Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Nonprofits, Education, and Enterprise for Education customers
  • Not available to Google Workspace Essentials customers

Resources

Start and join meetings and audio calls from 1:1 chats using Google Chat in Gmail on mobile

What’s changing

You can now start or join meetings and audio calls from 1:1 chats in Google Chat in Gmail on Android and iOS. At the moment, this feature will be available for 1:1 chats only.

To ring someone directly, select the phone or video icon in the top right corner of a 1:1 chat.


 


To join a call, select the phone or video chip within the 1:1 chat. While on a call, you’ll see a banner of the person you’re on a call with, the call duration and a Meet icon in the chat roster.




Missed calls will be indicated with a red phone or video icon within the conversation and the chat roster.





Who’s impacted

End users


Why you’d use it

As some teams begin to return to office, while others remain distributed, we hope this makes it easier to connect with your colleagues in the hybrid work world. This feature will allow you to seamlessly switch between chat to a video or audio call when needed, helping you collaborate and move your work forward.


Additional details

While you can select “Join a call” from the Google Chat app, you will be redirected to the Gmail app, where the call will take place. If you do not have the Gmail app on your device, you’ll be prompted to download it via Google Play store or the App Store. We’ll provide an update on the Google Workspace Updates Blog when this feature becomes available for the Google Chat mobile app.


Getting started



Rollout pace



Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
  • Available to users with personal Google accounts

Resources


Start and join meetings and audio calls from 1:1 chats using Google Chat in Gmail on mobile

What’s changing

You can now start or join meetings and audio calls from 1:1 chats in Google Chat in Gmail on Android and iOS. At the moment, this feature will be available for 1:1 chats only.

To ring someone directly, select the phone or video icon in the top right corner of a 1:1 chat.


 


To join a call, select the phone or video chip within the 1:1 chat. While on a call, you’ll see a banner of the person you’re on a call with, the call duration and a Meet icon in the chat roster.




Missed calls will be indicated with a red phone or video icon within the conversation and the chat roster.





Who’s impacted

End users


Why you’d use it

As some teams begin to return to office, while others remain distributed, we hope this makes it easier to connect with your colleagues in the hybrid work world. This feature will allow you to seamlessly switch between chat to a video or audio call when needed, helping you collaborate and move your work forward.


Additional details

While you can select “Join a call” from the Google Chat app, you will be redirected to the Gmail app, where the call will take place. If you do not have the Gmail app on your device, you’ll be prompted to download it via Google Play store or the App Store. We’ll provide an update on the Google Workspace Updates Blog when this feature becomes available for the Google Chat mobile app.


Getting started



Rollout pace



Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
  • Available to users with personal Google accounts

Resources


Indicate whether you’ll join a meeting virtually or in person, now on Gmail

Quick launch summary

In July of this year, we introduced new RSVP options for Calendar invitations to make Google Calendar more flexible in the hybrid workplace. We’re now adding this same functionality to RSVPs in Gmail.

Dropdown menu showing new RSVP methods in Gmail
New RSVP options in Gmail



With these RSVP options, you can indicate how you plan to join a meeting—in the meeting room, or virtually. Then, both the organizer and guests will be able to see how attendees are planning to attend the meeting in the event detail. This will help meeting attendees know what to expect when joining a meeting, and prepare accordingly.

Note that if you select the new RSVP options, the join method details (e.g. “joining virtually”) are not shared with contacts on other platforms, such as Microsoft Outlook.

Getting started


Rollout pace


Availability

  • Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers

Resources