Microsoft today announced that it has begun to add features to its standard-issue Mail and Calendar apps for Windows 10 for Gmail account holders. Over the next few weeks, the enhanced apps will become available to people participating in the Windows Insider Program, and after that, all Windows 10 users will get them.
Gmail support in Windows 10 Mail and Calendar is not new. What’s new are nice-to-have features that have only been accessible to Outlook.com account holders and Office 365 subscribers.
For one thing, Gmail users will get to use the Focused Inbox, which is a way to prioritize certain emails that Microsoft picked up through its Acompli acquisition and subsequently brought to Outlook and then to Windows 10 Mail.
But that’s not all. Windows 10 Mail and Calendar will soon provide other features to Gmail users: “easily tracking travel and shipping deliveries, making emails more actionable, helping you easily track your favorite sports events, faster search, and more,” Vivek Kumar, Microsoft’s product marketing manager for Windows 10 Mail and Calendar, wrote in a blog post.
In February Microsoft said it would bring summary cards for travel plans and shipments to Windows 10 Mail and Calendar after introducing them to Outlook. At the time Microsoft said people using email services other than Office 365 and Outlook.com would get the features at some point “in the future.” In early March Microsoft said it would be bringing these enhanced features to Outlook for Mac for Gmail users.
The bigger picture here is Microsoft is trying to make you more productive and efficient and a little happier when you’re using its software to go through good old email — even if you’re not using Microsoft’s own underlying email services. Google has reinvented email with Inbox by Gmail, which promotes certain emails and turns certain emails into cards that are more pleasant to look at. Yahoo has sought to improve the search function in Yahoo Mail while also adding support for Gmail and Google Apps.
Gmail users who want to take advantage of the new features in Windows 10 Mail and Calendar will need to let Microsoft “sync a copy of your email, calendar and contacts to the Microsoft Cloud,” Kumar wrote.