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Gmail’s New Avatar and Other Changes Prompted by GDPR

Last updated on May 4, 2018 by Dotsquares

The GDPR conundrum has already begun, prompting tech giants to take huge leaps for smooth compliance.

It is noteworthy, that GDPR, which is going to come into effect from May 25th, is the biggest ever overhaul on online privacy. It involves huge fines of up to £20 million for the companies that do not comply with its demanding data protection laws.

The hefty fines, as well as the hard-to-implement data privacy rules, has sent most companies that are trading under EU territory into a hustle, and this even includes the technology giants, Facebook and Google.

Gmail’s New Look and how it’s Likely Connected with GDPR

Earlier this week, Google released a revamp of its cloud-based mailing service Gmail, with some truly intriguing features. The corresponding report published by Google states that the whole idea was to improve the user experience of the mailing service by allowing them to “Do more without leaving your [their] inbox”.

The major functionalities implemented as a part of this change include-

  • Direct access to Google Calendar Tasks, Google Keep, and Tasks.
  • Showing attachments with emails for easier access.
  • A snooze button and corresponding folder to shelve the emails you may want to look at later.
  • Nudge messages to simplify the follow-up process.
  • Smart replies, quite similar to the one that LinkedIn already uses.
  • Notifications for high-priority emails and easier organisation of the newsletter subscriptions.
  • Smart identification of potentially harmful emails.
  • Confidential mode for composing emails that will remove the options to forward, copy, or download and print mail for the receiver.
  • Self-destructive messages on which users can set certain expiry date for better control over their information.

It is to be noted that some of these features like high-priority notifications are restricted to the mobile app of Gmail and some to the browser-based web application. Another remarkable finding with these new functionalities is how some of them make the email service more appropriate for enterprise solutions. In fact, the release date of this face-lift is speculated to have a direct connection with the effect-date of GDPR.

As Chris Green, from tech consultancy Lewis, has said, “The timing of this is not a coincidence. A lot of this will be about ensuring that Gmail will continue to be a viable for enterprise users, as it will help them show they are GDPR-compliant.”

With features like confidential mode and self-destructive messages, the cloud email services by Google have indeed become more conducive for the effective GDPR compliance, not to mention more lucrative for business correspondence.

Facebook and WhatsApp to Re-evaluate the Age Eligibility for Users

To prepare for the GDPR, Facebook and its subsidiary freeware WhatsApp too has brought certain changes that will be applicable for its European users. The changes are mainly focused on the age eligibility of the users, which WhatsApp will raise from 13 to 16.

For Facebook, however, the minimum age for users is going to remain 13 years, but for compliance with data policy, these users will have to nominate their guardians or parents to give their consent for the sharing of information. Other than that, WhatsApp will also allow users to download a detailed report on the data, like device information and blocked contacts, which is presently being held by the messenger app.

WhatsApp has also made some revisionary announcements in regards to the data sharing feature that the messenger app had to revoke last year. 

 “As we have said in the past, we want to work closer with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans.”

In mid-2016, the app added a new data privacy feature that allowed the users to opt-out of sharing of their data with the parent company Facebook, and with that, they had started the functionality as well.

In 2017, European Regulators had forced the company to change its policies and remove the functionality absolutely until GDPR comes into effect. But now as the effect-date of GDPR is so imminent, WhatsApp is sure to put forward the reconsideration of the functionality, which invariably would be an enormous help for Facebook in boosting its user-based ad management business model.

Resources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43891796

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/25/whatsapp-raises-minimum-age-16-europeans-facebook-gdpr-eu

https://blog.google/products/gmail/stay-composed-heres-quick-rundown-new-gmail/