Users of Gmail for Android now have a way to extend the app's anti-spam protection, inbox organization and additional features to other email accounts including Yahoo, Hotmail or Microsoft Outlook.
The company has introduced what it calls a "Gmailify" option that lets Android users integrate their non-Google email accounts with the Gmail app so they can take advantage of its features without giving up their existing non-Gmail accounts.
So basically, a user with a Yahoo.com email account would be able to retain the same address while being able to send and receive email from Gmail, organize their inbox in Gmail's format, get Google Now cards and the same spam protection across all linked accounts.
To enable the feature, Google says all that a user has to do is sign in to their Gmail app on Android and choose the option for linking with other email accounts. Users who change their minds can unlink their accounts with the same ease, but still access their other accounts via Gmail if they choose to do so.
Google software engineer Michael Käser said in a blog post the decision to offer the Gmailify option was driven by user response to a similar move that Google announced last March to let users access and manage all their Yahoo and Outlook email accounts through Gmail.
Many Gmail users who took advantage of that option wanted Google to also extend spam protection and inbox organization features to their non-Gmail accounts, Käser said. According to Käser, Google is working on enabling similar connections with other email providers as well.
In addition to spam protection and inbox organization, the Gmailify option also enables automatic sorting of Yahoo and Outlook email based on type, just like Gmail does. Users also will have the ability to do more advanced searches on their linked accounts and have the ability to view travel and hotel reservations that were made using non-Google accounts in Google Now.
"When you sign in to the linked Gmail address, you'll see your messages from the other email provider in your mailbox. You'll be able to read, reply, and organize them just like you do in Gmail," Google said in an explainer of the feature on the Gmail Help page.
Google is not the only provider to give users the ability to view emails from multiple providers in the same pane. The company's My Mail App allows Yahoo email users to connect to their Gmail accounts and read email and view the entire Gmail archive. Like Google, Yahoo too lets users search through their Gmail account from within Yahoo. In addition to Gmail, Yahoo also offers similar support for Hotmail and Outlook.
Microsoft offers a similar capability with Outlook that works with Gmail, Yahoo and AOL mail. Just like Yahoo and Google, Microsoft lets Outlook users connect to their other email accounts and import mail into their Outlook account.
With Gmailify, Google appears to be trying to build on these sorts of capabilities by adding support for spam protection and some of the more advanced features available in Gmail.