Google has been making strides over the years to make its Gmail application even more versatile for its millions of users. Earlier this week, Gmail for Android gained the ability to send and receive payments via Google Wallet integration. Now, the desktop Gmail interface is able to stream video attachments straight from your browser window.
Previously, you were forced to first download a video attachment to your computer and then play it back using your app of choice. Now, however, you will see a thumbnail preview of the video attachment and will be able to stream it directly without going through that intermediary download step.
Attachments still have to adhere to Google’s 50MB file limit (this receiving limit was recently doubled from 25MB, although the sending limit remains at 25MB), so don’t even think about trying to stream a feature-length film. However, you will probably be able to get away with streaming videos of the kiddos or any number of stupid cat tricks that your friends and family might send.
Google proudly states that this new Gmail features employs the same technology that powers both YouTube and Google Drive, and that “video is delivered at optimal quality and availability.” Given that this technology underlies Google Drive, it is quite possible that other G Suite utilities will soon gain this video preview functionality.
Google says that the video streaming is currently rolling out in waves, and should be available to all Gmail users within the next two weeks.
This latest update to Gmail comes just a week after Google announced new tools that allow third-party companies enhance your inbox. These includes add-ons from Intuit QuickBooks, ProsperWorks and Salesforce. Like the video streaming enhancement, these add-ons allow you to be more productive without having to leave the Gmail app.