Gmail gets a new forward emails as attachment option

Google is rolling out a new feature on Gmail that enables the forwarding of emails as attachments in the email service.

Gmail users who use the web interface currently can forward individual emails only. While that is useful at times, forwarding multiple emails can be a time consuming process as each email needs to be selected individually when it needs to be forwarded.

We’ve heard from you that there are situations where attaching emails makes more sense than forwarding separate emails, like wanting to forward multiple messages related to a single topic. With this new functionality, you can do exactly that. Sending emails as attachments allows you to write a summary email message to your recipients, and attach the set of supporting emails that recipients can directly open in their mail client.

To make things easier for users, Google is rolling out a new feature on Gmail currently that allows users of the service to forward emails as attachments.

One of the main advantages of the new feature is that it allows users to forward multiple emails in one operation.

google-gmail attach emails attachment

All that it takes is to select one or multiple emails on Gmail, right-click the selection, and select the forward as an attachment option from the context menu.

As is the case with most new features on Gmail or Google updates, the feature is being rolled out gradually to all Gmail users. It is enabled if the “forward as attachment” option is visible in the context menu. Google started the rollout of the feature on December 9, 2019 for rapid release domains and plans to complete the rollout by January 21, 2020.

Google notes that users may also use drag and drop to attach selected emails as attachments on Gmail. The operation may not be as convenient as using the right-click option as it is necessary to juggle between two interfaces (email list and compose) when using drag & drop.

Emails that are attached to emails are saved as individual .eml files that most email clients can read. Attachments are not limited according to Google (You can attach as many emails as you’d like), and eml files can be opened with a click when they arrive in Gmail.

Now You: do you forward emails often?

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Gmail tracks all your purchases, it is difficult to delete them and impossible to stop

Google uses its email service Gmail to track purchases that customers of the company made, even on third-party websites like Amazon.

Gmail scans emails for receipts and collects these automatically.  The purchases are neatly listed on a hard to find Purchases page on Google’s My Account portal.

There you find the list of purchases that you made sorted chronologically. The listing goes back to 2015 in my case, and it includes application purchases, Google hardware purchases, and items that I bought on third-party sites like Amazon or the Lego store.

google gmail purchases

Some purchases are displayed with the correct title, others just with a number on the startpage. A click on any purchase may display detailed information such as the vendor, time and date, order IDs, items that you bought, or the delivery address.

Some purchases come without detailed information, likely when Gmail had difficulties parsing the receipt.

gmail remove purchases

There is no easy way to delete information either. While you find a “remove purchase” option attached to any purchase listed on the website, activating that option reveals that you need to delete the emails to remove purchases. Apart from that, there is no option to clear all the data.

Most Gmail users may not want to delete receipts that they received in emails. It is certainly possible to backup the emails and delete them then to get rid of the purchase listing that Google maintains, but it is not comfortable either as you’d have to delete each email manually to clear the listing. Also, and that is another issue, it won’t block future purchases from being listed again.

There appears to be no option to delete purchase information only but keep emails in Gmail.

google delete email

Google notes that the Gmail account owner is the only one who can see the orders on the page. The company told CNBC that it does not use any information found in emails to serve advertisement. Google stopped reading emails for advertisement purposes in 2017.

A help page suggests that Google customers may see and delete the data at My Activity, but that does not appear to be the case. Even more problematic than that is that purchase information is still collected even if you disable any tracking feature on the My Activity website. Granted, Gmail is not even listed there under management options.

Closing Words

Gmail is a treasure trove for Google as email contains lots of personal information including who you communicate with and what you buy online. Since there is no way to block Google from parsing the information right now, you may want to consider using a different email account for important activity or switching to a new account entirely.

Email providers such as ProtonMail, StartMail, or FastMail, all promise that they don’t track you, don’t show ads, or read your emails.

If you need to stick with Gmail, you could download all emails regularly using Pop3 and delete them from the server afterward.

Now You: Which is your preferred email provider?

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How to schedule emails on Gmail

Google revealed a new Gmail feature several weeks ago that would allow customers to schedule the sending of emails when using Gmail.

The company used a staged rollout for the new feature; some users could use it right away, others had to wait days or weeks to get it.

All emails are delivered to the recipients right away by default. Scheduling changes that as it gives you options to pick a specific time and date for the delivery.

Scheduling may not appeal to the majority of home users but it has some applications when it comes to business communication. Home users may certainly use it as well, e.g. to send reminder emails that arrive on time.

Businesses may use it for announcements or to make sure that emails don’t arrive in someone’s inbox late in the work day.

Note that the schedule feature may still be rolling out at the time of writing. Google plans to make it available to all Gmail users eventually.

Scheduling emails on Gmail

schedule emails gmail

You find the new option attached to the compose window on Gmail. If it is activated, you should see a small down arrow icon next to the send button in the compose window.

Note that you need to add at least one recipient to activate the option; it is not necessary to enter a subject or type text in the body. Note that you may want to compose the entire email before you select the schedule option as you cannot edit subject or body anymore once you have set a scheduled date & time for the email.

A click on the down arrow displays the “schedule send” option, and a click on that option an on-screen prompt.

Gmail suggests three delivery rates, usually tomorrow morning or afternoon, or the next Monday, and an option to customize the delivery by specifying date & time.

gmail custom schedule

The specify date & time menu displays a calendar and a time picker. Gmail does not restrict the date currently; it allowed me to select dates in 2020 for the delivery. While I cannot think of any reason for scheduling emails to be sent in years, it is good that Google is not restricting the feature currently.

All scheduled emails are listed under the new Scheduled folder. The folder is created when you schedule your first email.

Tip: type in:scheduled  in the search on Gmail to jump to the folder.

It lists all scheduled emails including recipients, subject, first couple of characters from the body, and the date it is scheduled.

gmail scheduled emails

There is no option to edit scheduled emails; you can delete them and perform other operations such as move or mute on them though. If you need to edit a scheduled email, you need to rewrite it and delete the current one.

Closing Words

Other email services support the scheduling of emails already; The web version of Microsoft Outlook supports it, and the Outlook desktop client supports it for over well over a decade.

Thunderbird users can install the Send Later extension to integrate options to schedule emails in the email client.

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Google finally making Gmail's right-click menu more useful

Google announced recently that an update of Gmail’s right-click menu functionality will land in February 2019.

Gmail’s right-click menu is not particularly useful at this point in time as it provides only a handful of options. Right now, the only options provided are delete, archive, mark as unread, and move to tab.

Gmail users have to select emails and wait for other options to appear at the top of the screen to activate them. Often used actions such as reply or forward, snooze or label, are found there only.

Google announced the change on the G Suite Updates blog. The update will roll out to all G Suite Gmail users and will be enabled by default. No word on whether it will land for free Gmail users as well but it seems likely that this is going to happen.

Gmail: improved right-click menu

gmail right-click

Gmail users who right-click on an email may make use of the following functionality once the update has reached their account:

  • Reply to the right-clicked email.
  • Forward the email.
  • Snooze the email.
  • Mute the conversation.
  • Add a label.
  • Move the email.
  • Use search to find emails by the contact.
  • Use search to find emails with the subject.
  • Open emails in new windows.

Gmail users can open the context menu using a right-click, the Menu-key on Windows keyboards, or Ctrl-click on Mac OS X devices.

The rollout has started already. Google plans to roll out the change to all G Suite users until February 26, 2019.  Many features that land for G Suite customers are implemented for free users as well eventually, and usually in a short period.

Closing Words

It is about time that Google makes the right-click menu more useful on Gmail. The current options are not thought out well in my opinion. Once the change lands, it is possible to use often used actions such as reply directly from the list of emails; something that has not been possible before using the user interface, if I’m not mistaken.

Now You: Do you use the Gmail web interface?

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