Google continues to pump out shopping features to its many platforms for the holiday season; this time, Gmail is getting a new package tracker.
This year’s Black Friday lands on November 25 and we predict retailers are going to offer steep discounts or have early sales as a way to entice customers. That means a lot of packages in the mail and your email account getting stuffed to the brim with shipping confirmations. With the shipping tracker (opens in new tab), Gmail will display a simple indicator to provide important delivery information directly in your inbox.
As Google explains it, orders that have a tracking number will show green text in the inbox list view telling you when the package will arrive. Opening that email will display a summary card at the top telling you if the package label has been created, if it’s in transit, and if it has been delivered. You don’t need to copy and paste tracking information to another website to show basic order information.
If you want more info, the summary card comes with two hyperlinks that you can tap. One will take you to the order detail page and the other to a timeline showing your package’s whereabouts.
Google states the Gmail package tracker will launch within the coming weeks to mobile platforms first before going to desktop a few month from now. The feature will track packages coming through the United States Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx, according to a company representative. You can opt out of the tracking updates by going into the Gmail settings and disabling them there. There are plans to expand the feature by adding a delay label to let you know if the package is going to be late. Similar to the desktop tracker, the delay label will launch within the coming months.
There may be some problems with packages from Amazon, however. A Google representative told The Verge (opens in new tab) that Amazon’s unique “email format” will not allow Gmail to show tracking information from those orders. They go on to say that the feature will not work “if a tracking number is not included in the merchant’s order email.” We were told Google is looking into expanding to other carriers in the future which could mean Amazon support, but nothing is set in stone at the moment.
The package tracker sounds like a really handy tool to have, but we have some concerns about privacy protection. According to Google, the tracker works by having Gmail scan tracking numbers in your inbox in order to display the package’s status. The same representative revealed the tracker doesn’t include any new protections apart from what Gmail already has (opens in new tab). If that concerns you, we recommend upgrading your device’s security with a protection suite.
Be sure to check out our report from earlier in the week about Google updating its search engine to include new “Special Offer” tags on product thumbnails and new price insights.