Accidentally sending an email to the wrong person in Gmail may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new update.

The company is rolling out a series of updates that should prevent users from sending messages to the wrong recipients.

Changes include tweaks to the To, Cc, and Bcc fields in Gmail (opens in a new tab) intended to help users "compose emails more efficiently and securely"—that is, make sure you're sending a email to the right person.

gmail updates

Described in a new Google Workspace Updates blog (opens in a new tab), the changes also include a new context menu that provides easy access to the recipient's full name, email, information card, and avatars. and clearer contact indicators when someone outside the organization is added to a message.

Contact avatars in the Gmail address bar. (Image credit: Google)

First announced in November 2021, the new features were initially delayed because Google "worked on improving performance." However, the rollout has already started, with the changes set to roll out globally to Google Workspace users (opens in a new tab).

Embarrassing email mistakes

At one time or another, most office workers have found themselves on the wrong end of an email error. Common mistakes include sending an email to the wrong recipient (perhaps with a similar address as the intended recipient) and, of course, mistakenly selecting Reply All.

Gmail's new features should mean users are less likely to fall into these common traps, with avatars in the address bar making it clear who an email will be sent to, especially as Gmail will also highlight external recipients in yellow to minimize exposure of sensitive data.


Gmail will highlight external recipients in yellow. (Image credit: Google)

Google also announced that it has taken steps to mitigate the risk of formatting errors when users manually enter details in the address bar.

"To prevent errors, Gmail will now validate that email addresses are entered in the correct email format and will prevent all strings from being converted to recipient bullets if they are not in the correct format," the company wrote. .

"Also, if you maintain an invalidly formatted email address in the address bars, you will see an error message asking you to correct the error."

Google warned that some users may see complications for anyone who relies on a Chrome extension to compose emails.

This is because the updates have changed the "underlying structure" of address fields, so admins managing Chrome extensions that rely on the current Gmail UI are advised to "check their integrations with the 'updated user interface'.

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