Gmail ups the ante for business users, allows third-party email accounts in iOS app

The beta program builds on multiple business-targeted changes over the past months, including additional security features like the Advanced Protection Program roll-out.

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Qualified users can sign up to test Gmail's newest feature: The ability to add third-party email accounts to the existing Gmail iOS app, the company announced via Twitter on Tuesday.

Anyone currently using the Gmail iOS app on iOS 10 or later--who also has a non-Google email account--can sign up for the beta program. If accepted, the user will receive instructions from Apple on how to add non-Gmail accounts to the app.

The beta application doesn't specify which outside email providers can be hosted, but Outlook, Hotmail, Live, Yahoo, and are named as options that applicants can select.

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A Google spokesperson said they weren't sharing additional details, such as the timeframe or how many users they'll accept for the beta, but it seems Gmail for Android already has this feature.

The option to access all of a user's email accounts in one spot can help business leaders balance multiple work and personal emails, potentially spread across different providers. While Apple's Mail app allows several emails to be stored in one spot, the Gmail option may be preferred for users more familiar with Gmail's look or user experience.

The announcement follows multiple Gmail changes to make the email provider safer and easier to use for professionals.

On Tuesday, Google released the Advanced Protection Program, a new security program designed for users at high risk of attack, including business executives and political campaign teams. Gmail's strongest security system yet defends against phishing, blocking fraudulent account access, and blocks accidental data sharing.

A month ago, Gmail and Google Inbox began reading physical and email addresses and phone numbers sent in emails as hyperlinks, streamlining the communication chain. Clicking on physical addresses now brings up directions in Google Maps, while clicking on an email address opens a new email to that person.

In May, Google announced machine learning security tools that could identify and block spam messages with 99.9% accuracy. For businesses using Gmail, the company also introduced external reply warnings, notifications that an email was being sent outside of a company.

The same month, Smart Reply was introduced to Gmail after being available on Inbox and Google's smart chat app, Allo. The AI-powered tool suggests three reply messages, which can be sent with one click or edited further.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Current users of Gmail's iOS app can test adding a non-Gmail account to the app by joining Google's beta program for the service. To qualify, users need to be running iOS 10 or later.
  2. The beta keeps the look and user experience of the Gmail app but lets users add outside emails from providers like Outlook and Yahoo.
  3. Business leaders can host all of their email accounts in one preexisting spot with a familiar interface. It'll be helpful for leaders who may have personal and work emails through separate providers.

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Gmail for iOS is testing allowing third-party email accounts on the Gmail app.

Image: Gmail