Gmail images Now Showing on desktop, on Gmail Mobile soon

Gmail

Google has done some work behind the scenes improving the way in which Gmail shows embedded images in emails, which allows your email to automatically display images in future instead of having to manually click the ‘Display images below’ link when viewing an email.

Gmail originally had this step in place to protect users from unknown senders who might try to use images downloading inline to compromise the security of users’ mobile devices or computers. This was a sensible protection, but also frustrating in the age of multimedia email messages. Embedded pictures should be safe, and now Google has flicked the switch to make that so.

Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Google will now serve images through Gmail using Google’s own secure proxy servers. This means that you will be able to see images by default, without any interaction required, and so your emails can be enriched by pictures and laid out beautifully.

Here’s an example of how it looks:

There are those, of course, who see images in email as a curse and won’t want this new behaviour. Good news for them is that this new feature can be turned off in Gmail settings.

The new image displaying feature is rolling out on the desktop version today (i.e. the Gmail web version), and in mobile Gmail and the Android Gmail app in early 2014.

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Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly... (read more)

  • Paul Walker

    I thought marketers used images to track if an email is read. If GMail downloads them for me, it will look like I’ve read the email won’t it?

    • Ben Freke

      They do. No it won’t.

      They track the browser of the user who downloads the image from their server. As that is only now Google, they cannot track your opens, only your clicks.

      As someone who heartily dislikes email spam, this is a good thing.

    • Ben Freke

      They do. No it won’t.

      They track the browser of the user who downloads the image from their server. As that is only now Google, they cannot track your opens, only your clicks.

      As someone who heartily dislikes email spam, this is a good thing.

      • Matt

        I thought they used a different URL for every email sent which was how they tracked?

        I’m happy as I almost always click the ‘view image’ text and won’t have to any more.

      • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

        Most email newsletter software does do this, yes.. But I agree, it isn’t really too concerning for me. All they’ll see is Gmail opened the image. Not me, not my IP.

  • ACA7

    Another great improvement to the best email service. Well done Google.