12 updates in Gmail, Drive, and other “lifehacks” in 2012

Google has made a lot of updates in its services throughout the year—particularly in Gmail and Drive. Here, we look in retrospect at the some of the coolest updates in both services that happened this past year, as well as some nifty “lifehacks” that Google threw in to make the overall user experience easier and more interesting.

1.  Find your stuff faster in Gmail and Search

In a new field trial, instead of waiting for the results to come in after your hit the Search button in Gmail, you already get to see relevant results as you type your entry in the search bar. When you key in something in Google Search, the right side of your browser will also show emails and files from Gmail and Drive that are relevant to your search.

2. New compose and reply experience in Gmail

You are now given the option to have a separate window for drafting your emails. This means that if you’re currently typing an email and you need to pay a visit to another message in your inbox, sent items or drafts, then you no longer need to save the message as a draft and go back to it after you’ve referred to your other messages. Now, you can simply minimize the little pop-up window and get back to it whenever you like. Plus, since the pop-up window works the same way as it does in chat, you can keep multiple email windows open (in case you need to reference one for the other).

3.  Sign out of Gmail remotely

Worried that you might get hacked on another computer because you forgot to sign out? Fret not, young netizen. You can now sign out remotely from Gmail. The process is extremely simple. At the bottom of your Gmail page, click on Details and select Sign out all other sessions.

4. Drive keyboard shortcuts

Navigating through your Drive and manipulating files has been made easier thanks to simple keyboard shortcuts.

5. Work offline with Google Docs

Here’s some good news for you: a failed Internet connection will no longer stand in the way of your productivity. Now, you can create and edit documents on Google Docs even if you’re not connected to the web. All new documents and all changes to existing ones will automatically be synced once your computer is back online again. Here’s how.

6. Access more of your stuff in Docs, Slides & Drawings with the update Research Pane

The Research Pane—the panel that appears alongside a document that allows you to search the web directly from where you are working—has been given a new update! It has now expanded to presentations and drawings. Your search results in the pane now include relevant files in your Drive, pictures in Picasa and posts shared with you on G+.

7. Access revision history in Docs

Want to go back to an older version of your Docs file, before certain edits were made? If want to see what changes you or other people have made on the document, hit  File then select Revision History. A list of previous versions of your document will appear and you will be given the option to restore certain differences of a previous version and the latest one. All changes are color coded to indicate who implemented what change on a shared document.

8. Insert files directly from Drive to Gmail

This has got to be the handiest of them all. Gone are the days that you had to attach files to your email for it to be transmitted to your recipient. Now, with access to Drive, you can send files up to 10GB—40 times larger than your typical attachment! All you have to do is look for the Drive icon in the new compose experience.

The new Save to Drive Chrome extension, once installed, lets you save content from anywhere on the web directly to your Drive by simply clicking an icon to save a web archive, an image of a page, or its HTML source code. When you right-click images or links to files, you now have the option of saving them directly on Drive.

10.  Share your stuff from your Drive in Google+

Photos and documents in your Drive can now be embedded directly into your posts on Google+.

11. Do more on-the-go with Google Drive on iOS and Android

Thanks to some tweaking in the Drive app for iOS and Android, you can now create and edit documents and spreadsheets while you’re on the go using your mobile device. In addition to being able to create files, you can also add collaborators and search.

12. Manage folders more easily in Drive

Dragging and dropping entire folders from your Desktop to Drive. Additionally, Once in Drive if you select files in your Drive list, in addition to adding them to an existing folder, you can also add them directly to a new folder.

Source: Google

All images taken from the Gmail/Google blogs