Google's plans to read your thoughts with GMail changes

Monday, 14th May 2018, 10:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 1:26 pm

Google's popular GMail service is to add several new features - including one that some users might find a little sinister.

The Smart Compose function will have the ability to predict what users want to say - before they even type it.

Of course, we are already familiar with similar technologies - predictive text on our phones can save us time while sensing messages, as well as leading to hilarious misunderstandings if we entrust our SMS to our phone's operating system.

And Google - and other web browsers - already have a stab at guessing what we're looking for, as when use the search bar, a menu of possible options pops up as we type.

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Google are touting the new feature as an AI function which will 'help you draft emails from scratch, faster.'

'From your greeting to your closing (and common phrases in between), Smart Compose suggests complete sentences in your emails so that you can draft them with ease,' Google said in a blog posting.

As well as a general design overhaul, Gmail's latest enhancements include Smart Reply for faster message response, a 'nudge' to ensure important messages aren't missed, a priority system which will flag mobile messages, 'confidential mode' which will remove options to forward, copy, print or download emails, and perhaps most useful, the ability to work offline.

What's not known is when Smart Compose will become available, or, crucially, if it can be  turned off - the company recently gave Google Calendar an overhaul which at first seemed to be an optional upgrade, but was eventually forced onto all users. Perhaps surprisingly, the company were unable to predict the backlash...