Gmail may have solved one of its most annoying flaws

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Being plagued with annoying Gmail notifications could soon be a thing of the past if a new feature being tested by Google comes to fruition.

9to5Google has spotted a new addition to Google's email service that allows users to pause mobile notifications while the Gmail desktop client is being actively used.

This should mean that users won't get pinged for every new email message they receive if they have Gmail running on a desktop PC somewhere.

Gmail silence

The site reported seeing the feature on a test account, where it was advertised in a pop-up alert.

The feature would allow your browser to "detect if you're active or away", meaning Gmail would be able to identify when a user is actively using the service.

9to5Google notes that it doesn't appear that the service can be enabled or disabled through Gmail settings, but instead has to be accessed through the Google Chrome settings menu itself, potentially meaning it is a closely-linked tool between the company's browser and email platforms.

The tool doesn't appear to be rolling out publicly as of yet, with no sign in the Google support pages, so it may be part of a beta test ahead of a wider launch later this year.

The news comes as Google is in the midst of rolling out a major overhaul for Gmail which brings together Google Chat, Spaces and Meet into a new, integrated view to provide users with a one-stop shop for all their communication needs.

As well as this integrated view, the new Gmail will allow users to view specific app menus in a collapsible panel, and get alerts for new Chat and Space messages through notification bubbles. 

Going forward, all Google apps in Gmail will be situated in a single menu on the left of the screen. Users can switch between them by clicking on an app's menu, or point to an icon to see a preview, with the new collapsible panel able to be hidden or displayed with a click at any time.

Google also notes that individual and group chat messages can be accessed from the Chat tab, including opening into a small pop-up window at the bottom of your screen.

Google is currently rolling out the updated Gmail to select users now, with a wider rollout taking place over the next few weeks. Scheduled Release domains will reportedly begin receiving the new look from February 28.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.