With Gmail Implementing More Smart Features, Will You Still Stick with It?

Gmail just introduced a major overhaul of their service, implementing machine learning, or smart features, if you will. While the features at first sound really great, they can also be seen as an intrusion. We asked our writers, “With Gmail implementing more smart features, will you still stick with it?”

Miguel answered, “If it’s at the point where people can still choose not to use it, I wouldn’t call it a step too far.” While it might take some effort to use an alternative service, they are available. He doesn’t see how anything can be viewed as “wrong” with inserting AI into technology “as long as it doesn’t infringe on people’s ability to choose not to use said technologies.”

Ada wasn’t even aware of Google implementing AI with their new features, so she’s hesitant to say whether it’s too far or not. She likes the idea, “but it all depends on how it’s implemented.”

Phil looks at the specific features, saying autocomplete is either a boon or a pain, depending on the circumstances. “Too much of it can be irritating if you have to fight the suggestions to say something,” but being able to turn off autocomplete easily when you want to do it on your own is crucial to it being useful. As with all new tech, it needs to “walk a tightrope between being a tool and a toy.” While these features are impressive to him, he finds it a bit gimicky. He compares it to someone completing your sentences for you who doesn’t know you so well.

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Alex finds smart features typically disappointing in his experience. He likes to have control over his experience, and AI guessing what he wants is typically inaccurate. As AI improves, he has no doubt its guessing will become more correct. But for now, he mostly ignores features like Gmail’s new options.

Andrew heard about the new smart compose feature and finds it’s just a bigger version of any other predictive text feature out there. He imagines “it uses machine learning on your personal messages and larger datasets to figure out what you might want to say.” He doesn’t have a problem with that as long as it remains “fairly flexible and user-controlled,” but he wouldn’t want a new feature to dictate whether he stuck with a service or not, unless it’s going so far as to use your personal emails for something without your consent. If he ever used webmail rather than Thunderbird, he might try it.

It doesn’t really concern Ryan. “If you’re someone who is constantly composing emails, it seems like a win.” He fails to see how it’s any different from autocorrect on phones. “It’s predicting what you might say based on prior compositions, which is exactly what messaging apps do.”

I don’t use webmail, but I do use Gmail’s Inbox app which has implemented those features for the past few years. I happen to like the features. I like how it organized things for me and takes care of things. I don’t use the feature that can auto-answer emails. It’s not because it bothers me but just that I want to say it a little differently. Like many of our writers said, as long as there is an option to not use it, that’s what makes the difference.

How do you feel about Gmail’s new smart features? Do they bother you? Are you fine with them as long as it remains an option to use them? With Gmail implementing more smart features, will you still stick with it? Let us know how you feel about this topic in the comments section below.

4 comments

  1. “With Gmail implementing more smart features, will you still stick with it”
    As long as the features are OPT-IN, not opt-out!

    My wife and I use GMail. Today I got a unexpected shock from my GMail account when my wife forwarded to me an email about our upcoming vacation. Within seconds of receiving her email, I received notification from Google that my Google Calendar has been helpfully updated. I was not aware that there was something called the Google Calendar, let alone that I signed up for it. Needless to say, I promptly deleted the calendar and turned off anything that might activate it. As I said, I don’t mind new features as long as I am the one to choose use them, not Google. In light of this, I wonder what other services have been “helpfully” automatically turned on for my convenience.

  2. As dragonmouth says, as long as everything is opt-in I’m fine with it. If I see a new feature that looks useful I’m more than happy to try it. I haven’t noticed anything being added to my Google Calendar for me, but that would definitely put me off. A request to add something that I could accept or decline would be acceptable. Basically, as long as all facets are still under my control I don’t have a problem.

  3. What’s the rest of the world wide web community think?
    That saying – if it’s free as in technology offered to you, then your most likely the core source making it free. So your the product, not these services – apps – whatever, as these are mere tools they use to lure into the spiders web.
    Meaning = all are mining your data at points you make contact with and lay a heavy anchor bound to us, then keeping us from escaping into smoother waters. All points of contacts can and are joined together in todays digital world – the spiders web if you will.

    Thinking of our money – who uses cash anymore, and this digital trail is but one example…
    Now you have a digital data profile that’s sold, shared, exchanged with partners, affiliates, sub-companies and the like.

    Google as an example, doing business world wide, if the most demanding country, government and it’s people have stick privacy laws in one part of Googles reach – then everywhere else that Google reaches should be governed by the same laws in the world wide community as minimum requirements for it’s tech based involvement of the people. So a standard where as all are covered by the highest protections laws in any companies reach by one for all, just across the border to 4500 and up miles away…
    That’s my 1/2 a cents worth but I could of gave you the whole nickels worth in my thoughts.
    NiteThunder ~>~*_^^~~

  4. I heard about the new G Mail, and since I had used Gmail for many years, I immediately tried it. I quickly found it was buggy. Its features have not been matured and completed, they break down. I switched to a G mail clone, Yahoo Mail. Simply put, it is not buggy. G mail cannot test its products on us. I do not like that.

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