Google adds more functionality to the Android notifications bar with a new Gmail for Android app that lets you archive and reply to messages with one tap.
The latest Gmail update also offers faster search capability and better search suggestions, according to Google. The new quick tap features are available to devices running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher.
How it works
To see the new Gmail alerts in action, drag your finger downwards from the upper left side of the display on your phone or tablet to view the notifications bar. If you have a new Gmail message, you should see an alert box that includes options to archive or reply to the message.
Tapping "Reply" will open up a reply window in the Gmail app; tapping archive will automatically archive the message for you.
But the new functionality does have a significant limitation: the one-tap feature is only available if you have one message in the notification status bar at a time. If email starts piling up in your inbox, you'll have to dive into the Gmail app to deal with each message individually.
So the quick one-tap reply/archive feature may not be a great addition if you only check your email at specified intervals during the day after messages tend to build up. One way to reduce this problem is to tell the Gmail app for Android to only notify you about important messages tagged with specific labels such as work, family, important clients, and so on.
If you've never used Gmail labels, they are basically a way to classify messages and add a little more organization to your inbox, similar to folders. Check out Google's Gmail labels explainer for more information.
To manage label notifications, tap on the three square vertical lines in the upper right corner of the Gmail app's main screen and select "Manage labels" from the drop down menu. On the next page, tap on the "Inbox" label and uncheck "Label notifications." Now find the labels you do want notifications for and check the "Label notifications" box for each item.
Again, however, if you get a bunch of messages in a short period of time from a specific label, the one-tap features aren't going to be a big help. Nevertheless, for the times the new feature does work, having archive and reply options to let you deal with a message a little bit faster is a nice addition.