Although we’ve grown accustomed to seeing first party Google application updates on Wednesdays (i.e. Google Update Wednesday), the last two weeks have shown us that the Mountain View giant is more than capable of shaking things up with seemingly out-of-band updates. Earlier today, Google released a massive update to its first party Gmail client for Android bringing quite a few new features. Now, let’s dive in to see exactly what has changed.
Today’s Gmail update comes in at version 4.8 (build 1167183), up from version 4.7.2 released back in January of this year. Gmail 4.8 brings a spattering of new features, but the most impactful is without a doubt improved Google Drive integration. With version 4.8, those looking to upload received attachments to the cloud no longer have to download an attachment locally and then manually upload it to Drive. With 4.8, you are greeted with a new option that allows you to save any attachment directly to Google Drive (left screenshot). This works both with miscellaneous file types, as well as compatible media content that is opened through the Gallery app from within Gmail.
In addition to Save to Drive support, Gmail 4.8 added a nice tweak to the spam folder. In today’s update, users are now told why a particular message is in the spam box at the top of every icon. This can be seen in the right screenshot above, demonstrating how Microsoft is clearly a spam mail sender according to Google.
Gmail 4.8 also adds better support for RTL languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian by now displaying contact images on the right side of the screen. And finally, this update brings faster access to the slide-out “hamburger” navigation menu. This menu is now available from any screen within the application, rather than just in particular mail folders.
As is generally the case, this update is gradually making its way to consumer devices via a staged rollout. However, not every device will be in the initial wave. Luckily, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK on our DevHost account for your early access, sideloading pleasure. Leave us your thoughts on v4.8 and the new features that it brings in the comments below.
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