Google looks to bring some of Gmail's most popular features to users of other email accounts, including Yahoo Mail and Microsoft's Outlook.com.
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Google is reaching out to users who want some of Gmail's more noteworthy features, like spam protection and inbox organization, but don't want to go through the hassle of changing their email address. The new service is called Gmailify.
Gmailify links a user's existing account to Gmail so that one has access to all the features -- spam protection, inbox organization, and even Google Now cards based on the email address -- without the user having to leave the current address behind.
Anyone who uses Yahoo Mail or Microsoft's Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), now has the option to Gmailify their inbox. All that a user needs to do is open the Gmail app, sign in to the email account, or accounts, and enable Gmailify.
When users sign in to the linked Gmail address, they'll see their messages from the other email provider in their mailbox, and will be able to read, reply, and organize those as they do in Gmail.
When you read an email sent to your non-Gmail address, it will also be marked as read in the non-Gmail mailbox. When you go through the process of linking your account, you can choose which "From:" address to use for replies to email sent to your non-Gmail account.
Other features that come with Gmailify include faster search using advanced search operators, and travel and hotel reservations, which appear automatically in Google Now.
The announcement is actually an expansion of an existing feature on Google's Gmail app for Android app, which allowed users to manage their mail from non-Gmail accounts, such as Yahoo and Outlook, since 2015.
"Of course, you're always in control -- so if you ever change your mind, you can unlink your account(s) at any time, and continue to access them through the Gmail app without using Gmailify," Michael Käser, software engineer at Google, wrote in a Feb. 17 blog post announcing Gmailify.
Käser also noted that Google is planning to add other email providers to Gmailify in the future.
The company isn't the only one looking to make linking multiple email accounts an easier process. In December, Yahoo announced it was giving its users the ability to connect their Gmail and Google Apps account to Yahoo Mail, a move that followed their earlier introduction of multiple mailbox management for Outlook.com, Hotmail, and AOL Mail.
In essence, it's Gmailify in reverse -- making Yahoo Mail's search, smart contacts, compose features, and Yahoo Account Key for password-free sign-in available with Gmail.
Google's announcement also coincides with another development in the email space: Microsoft took the latest version of Outlook.com out of preview and will be rolling out the new experience to millions of users each week.
The new Outlook.com is built on an Office 365-based infrastructure. It includes newly added features, such as a smarter address book that understands who users talk to the most, and the ability to add flight confirmations to the calendar automatically.
Outlook.com is also integrated with Office, with a side-by-side editing feature designed to simplify managing edits in an attachment.
In addition, users can now view or edit Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents and photos while simultaneously replying to the original message.
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Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio
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