• In the News: Images in Gmail

Did you notice something new about your Gmail today? Now you can automatically see all images within a message when you open it. No more having to press the “Show images” button at the top of each email.

Originally, Google hid images to protect users from unknown senders who may use the images to compromise your security. Now, you can see all images displayed in your emails automatically on desktop, iOS and Android.

Why the change? Google points to new improvements in how Gmail handles images that make the “Show Images” button irrelevant.

John Rae-Grant, Google Product Manager, explains the change in a new post on the Gmail blog saying, “instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.”

This translates to overall increased security. According to Google, the update means that senders can’t use image loading to get info about your IP address or location, and they can’t set or read cookies in your browser. Furthermore, Gmail checks your images for known viruses and malware.

There may be some situations where you still want to choose when to show images in an email. For example, if you are on a slow internet connection or your battery is low. In these cases, you can elect to have Gmail ask you before showing you an image through settings.

So, what does this mean for businesses?

Google reports that using email will be “safer, faster and more beautiful than ever.” And generally, the better a platform works, the more people use it and respond positively to the experience. That means that the new image change has the potential to impact users’ behavior online, especially when we consider how people interact with promotional emails.

The change may ultimately benefit businesses who send newsletters with high-impact visual content. By taking away an extra “click” from the process of opening and viewing an image-based newsletter, Gmail has made it easier for people to painlessly view promotional emails that feature visual content. And that may just increase users’ desire to view promotional emails in the first place.

Are you a fan of this Gmail change? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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