Google Upgrades Gmail, YouTube for Android 2.2 Smartphones

Gmail for Android and YouTube mobile apps have been upgraded for Android 2.2 and later handsets. Gmail sports better Priority Inbox tools, while YouTube goes full screen.

Google this week upgraded its Gmail and YouTube applications for Android smartphones, part of the company's mission to release upgrades early, incrementally and often.

Apparently many Gmail users told Google they like to access Priority Inbox, the message management feature, from their Android handsets. This capability was added to Android phones in September.

Google has obliged users of Android 2.2 and later handsets by adding a new Priority Inbox view in Gmail for Android 2.3.2. This lists all important messages in the Gmail inbox, including those read and unread.

The app also includes the same importance markers used in Priority Inbox on the desktop, which Google improved this week by making it smarter and faster.

Users may then archive and delete conversations; mark them unimportant, switch between inboxes and labels by tapping the current label; and change a conversation's importance using the menu.

Google also added a neat feature that makes Android 2.2 phones beep, vibrate or ring when a user receives new important e-mail.

"While Priority Inbox on your Android phone doesn't have all the features offered in the desktop version of Gmail, we think this is a good start and plan to add even more functionality moving forward," Gmail for Android team member Paul Westbrook said in a Dec. 9 blog post.

Priority Inbox was the key feature, but not the only feature, to get enhanced with Gmail for Android 2.3.2.

For example, users may now easily switch between reply, reply all and forward while composing responses to messages. Users may also respond to messages inline.

Finally, those who migrated from Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Live Hotmail or some other Webmail provider and want to continue sending messages from that address can now send e-mail from any address they've configured in their desktop version of Gmail.

YouTube for Android also got an upgrade Dec. 8.

Available for Android 2.2 handsets, and slated to come preinstalled on future Android 2.3 devices such as the Nexus S, YouTube app version 2.1 has been rewritten to approximate the utility of the YouTube desktop app.

YouTube app 2.1 now has a new full-screen user interface users can access by rotating the phone. Users may also enjoy: on-page playback; post comments while videos are playing; and access subscription updates from the home screen of the app.

Both the new Gmail and YouTube for Android apps may be downloaded now from the Android Market.