No. 1 on the list of improvements? The ability to create custom email addresses such as you@yourdomain or sales@yourdomain via Google Apps for Work.
See where I am going with this?
Custom Email Addresses
There are other enhancements as well. Google unveiled around 90 new domain name endings, such as .life, .world, .business, .cool, .pizza, .fitness and .surgery as well as some foreign-language ones such as .tienda.
The custom email addresses can be applied to these domains as well, allowing a user to create, say, firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the new domain name endings are intriguing (what's up with the .exposed domain?) they ultimately circle back to the main point, which is Google's determination to make people's email addresses as sticky as possible.
Customer Match And Its Email Connection
Customer Match uses businesses' email addresses of its customer and partners to target them on three Google-branded platforms: Search, YouTube and Gmail, Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president, Ads and Commerce, wrote in a blog post.
"Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience," he explained.
It is a great strategy for Google, especially as more developers are launching ad blocking tools for mobile devices. Presumably these ad blockers don't reach into a person's email account -- where now, thanks to Customer Match, an ad could be waiting. Ditto YouTube and Search, other essential and free tools offered by Google that users would be loath to cut off.
Email Will Live Forever
It is easy to see why Google wants to keep its hand in email. It is strictly a utilitarian tool, incomparable to social media, but also irreplaceable in terms of reaching out to customers — assuming the company in question doesn’t have a junk email address, created for the purpose of communicating with pesky companies.
That junk email address is also likely the recipient of a lot of spam, which remains one of the biggest complaints about email.
Gmail Even More So
More than likely though, a person's Gmail account is not going to be his or her junk email account, giving Google yet more reason to keep on top of this channel.
Earlier this year Google announced Gmail had 900 million, double the number from three years prior. It also launched Inbox, a mobile app for Gmail in response to the two-thirds of Gmail users who opened Gmail from their phones.
To keep them on Gmail -- and away from, say, Outlook -- Google has been tweaking the Gmail every few months with features that are, to some, a dream come true. There was the Undo Send button a few months ago, that lets users call back an email with a specified amount of (not nearly enough) time as well as a Snooze feature that lets users save emails to read for later by having them resent.
It’s doing something right. Last year, a Yesmail Interactive study found that Gmail had the most engaged user base among the four major providers.
Of the four, 19 percent of Gmail users were active in the past 12 months — compared to 14 percent for Yahoo, 12 percent for Hotmail and 10 percent for AOL.
Perhaps most significantly for marketers — even more than, say, the new Domain upgrade or the rollout of Customer Match — the survey found that one-third of Gmail users have opted into marketing databases in the past 12 months, compared to 21 percent or less for the other three major providers.