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.