A new update to Gmail for Android makes it easier for users with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or above to archive or reply to emails.
In the newest update to Gmail for Android, users can now archive or reply to emails directly from the notification tray. The options appear just below the email message in the notification tray, so users don’t even have to open the Gmail app to perform the actions.
The new feature is helpful for users who get a lot of newsletters or nonessential email they archive almost immediately. It’s also useful for short messages from friends, family or co-workers. The example Google uses is a friend sending an email to confirm a meeting place. The message is just one line, so users shouldn’t have to open the email to respond.
The feature is only available to users with a version of Jelly Bean because Google introduced the new notification tray features in Android 4.1. Unfortunately the new feature is only available to 16 percent of Android users. Users with newer Android phones will have access to the new features, as will those who buy upcoming phones such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.
Most users likely won’t see the new feature until they upgrade to new phones, however.
While the new feature is great for some users, other users may want to see different options in the future. Users who get a lot of email can benefit from options to label and mark messages as read. Limiting the feature to two options keeps the notification tray less crowded but an option to change those buttons would help many users.
The new Gmail for Android app also has faster search and better search recommendations. The app should make it easier to find specific emails when users are both online and offline.