Quick Action Buttons in Gmail

Nowadays we’ve been hearing chatter around the web that with the advent of Social networks like Facebook and Twitter the days of email are numbered. I find such assumptions quite funny as they are pretty shortsighted. If anything, email is becoming more and more popular with the advent of web technology.

You can get updates from your friends on Social Networks, but even those networks rely on email addresses for user verification and notifying a user about security updates or any changes made to his account. Google knows this and is hence it always tries to stay a step ahead of competing for web-based emails services like Hotmail or Yahoo by continuously improving service features.

We recently wrote about apps that would help you in planning and organizing your holiday season. The Gmail Quick Action buttons feature is based on the same principle. You can RSVP to events, rate products or places, see your flight details or interact with your favorite online services like Google Drive or Dropbox. Here’s a brief look at how this feature can help you get more done right from the inbox.

Working With Gmail Quick Actions Buttons

Since this is a relatively new feature not many services are actively utilizing it yet, but Google is encouraging active development by asking companies to join in. Developers can use the schema.org markup language to add their actions to Gmail messages. Developers who want to integrate with Gmail have to add a piece of code to their email messages in order to add this function to their email messages.

The Quick Action buttons are visible next to the subject of your email on the right side. If you open an email the button is visible on the top. Here’s an example where the buttons are shown in the inbox as well as in the email body.

Gmail Quick Action Buttons
Gmail Actions Feature Aims to Increase User Engagement in Emails.

The first image is showing a quick action button where you can directly add a newly released movie to your playlist without even opening the email. The second image displays an Information card which allows you to interact with your Airline booking right from the email itself, without opening a new tab to view the site.

Action-Buttons-Arrow
The buttons with an arrow icon indicate that you’ll be leaving Gmail.

Certain buttons come with an arrow icon that indicates that the action needs to be taken on another site. As shown above, the buttons let you open a folder on cloud storage service and another one lets you watch a video on YouTube. All this without the need to open the email.

Including an Action Button in a Message

Google has enabled various types of actions in Gmail. It’s the sender of the email that can choose one of the action types and provide the right information to set it up correctly. He also has the ability to control which actions show up as well as the accompanying text with the buttons.

Google has been working on this feature since last May when they first introduced the quick action buttons for Google Calendar for responding to appointments and RSVP’ing to an event.

Quick-Action-buttons-Rate-Restaurents
Rate and Review Places & Services in a Single Click.

After receiving feedback from developers, Google is now expanding this functionality and currently has several services using this feature. Its now possible for users to rate and review restaurants you’ve ordered from on Seamless, open a Dropbox folder or view videos from YouTube and Vimeo and much more with a single click.

This feature may adversely affect the email opening rates but since this will increase interactivity a lot of 3rd party developers are showing interest. Unlike last time when Google introduced Inbox tabs for Gmail and caused a lot of grief for Newsletter publishers, this option won’t exactly hinder the interactivity.

If you use the Gmail tabbed inbox feature, remember to check out our post about using the inbox tabs more effectively.