The Gmail team is rolling out a new update today, bringing the current version up to 8.2. There aren't any visible changes turning up right away, but there are hints of a couple new and potentially interesting features. We may be getting a new intelligent label that collects trip-related emails so it's easier to find them in a pinch. There is also a new feature in development that will make it easy to transfer your non-Google accounts from one device to another.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
Email account transfers
It looks like Gmail might make it easy to transfer email accounts between phones. New text plainly shows that there will be a feature for copying or moving non-Google email accounts between devices. The current strings represent a notification and the notification channel description that will go with it.
<string name="email_account_transfer_notification_title">Transferring non-Google email accounts to another device.</string>
<string name="email_account_transfer_notification_channel_name">Device-to-device email account transfer</string>
<string name="email_account_transfer_notification_channel_description">Shows a notification when your non-Google email accounts are being transferred to another device.</string>
<service android:name="com.google.android.gm.accounttransfer.EmailAccountTransferService" android:exported="false" />
You might be wondering what the use cases are for transfering accounts. I can only think of two at the moment, but there are possibly more. The most obvious reason for regular people will come up with the purchase of a new phone. Instead of manually entering every email account and password, users could theoretically pick accounts from a list and send them straight to a new phone without much work. The other likely candidate is in enterprise settings, more specifically for setting up corporate accounts on an employee's device.
The text is clear that the transfer is only for non-Google accounts, but that's likely because Gmail already has methods to set up and transfer accounts to new devices with a moderately seamless process. This is part of a pretty well-known step for setting up Android phones and Wear 2.0 watches.
There isn't anything yet that I can use to judge how security is implemented, but at the very least I'm sure users would have to unlock their phone using their security code (e.g. PIN, pattern, fingerprint, etc). Also likely is that users will have to enter a password for any transferred account. While entering the password might sound like it defeats the purpose of the transfer, just remember that it's still faster to type in a single password than it is to also re-enter an account name and possibly a long list of server settings.
If you're planning to get away from it all for a few days, some people might direct you to install the Google Trips app. It's a pretty good tool for planning and keeping tabs on your important bookings. One of its key features is the ability to scour your Gmail account looking for reservation confirmations, booking numbers, and anything else that might be relevant, and then it makes those available through the app.
For as useful as the Trips app might be, most people probably haven't heard of it or won't think to install it – though, it's also an instant app, if you'd like to play with it. Since most of our travel information still funnels in through our email accounts, it looks like Google might be using the same filtering logic to provide those emails directly through a new Trips label.
The naming of this string resembles many other built-in labels, like Inbox and Chats, but differs from the special category labels like Promotions and Social, which use the prefix label_inbox_section. I'm not sure if there's much to read into based on that, but it could suggest Trips will be functionally different from those categories. At the very least, it will probably be visible to users that have turned off those other categories.
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.