Google said it would do it, and now it has. The latest update to Android's Gmail app has enabled images automatically, now made safe because Google is serving up the images after hosting them on its own proxy servers. Users will no longer need to tap the "show pictures" message above the email content.
Left: old style. Right: 4.7.2.
We're looking through the application now to see if there are any more changes - this thing is so fresh that Google hasn't even updated the Play Store description. If you find something new, feel free to mention it in the comments section. Of course Google's rollout method means that you might not get the app from the Play Store for a few days, so if you want to play with it now, check out the download below. There should also be a pop-up notice of some kind informing users of the change, as demonstrated in these strings:
<string name="showImages_always">Always show</string>
<string name="showImages_askFirst">Ask before showing</string>
<string name="always_show_images_teaser_title">Images Now Showing</string>
<string name="always_show_images_teaser_description">"Loading images is now safer, so you'll automatically see all images within a message when you open it. %1$s."</string>
<string name="always_show_images_update_in_settings">You can update your preferences under %1$s in %2$s.</string>
You can disable this functionality in the Gmail settings menu for your individual email accounts - see middle screenshot above. We'll update this post with any additional significant changes that are found. If you're wondering what's been added lately, you can check out our download pages for Gmail 4.7 (vacation responder and KitKat printing, among other things), Gmail 4.6 (more Card UI elements), and Gmail 4.5.2 (return of the delete button).
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
File name: com.google.android.gm-4.7.2 (967015).apk
Version: 4.7.2 (967015).apk (Android 4.0+)