updated 03:36 pm EST, Thu December 12, 2013
Gmail image change accompanied by Android app updates
Gmail users will no longer have to manually permit images to load for messages, in a new update rolling out to accounts from today onwards. Messages with images will automatically load by default rather than requesting the user to accept the downloads, though users will still have the option to set it back to permission-based loading if they wish.
The official Gmail blog reveals that the original setting for images was in place for security reasons, namely to prevent images being used to compromise a computer or smartphone's security. From now on, Google will serve all images included in an e-mail from its own servers, with all pictures checked for viruses and malware before being shown to the user. While desktop users will see the change in the near future, Google is working to add the feature to the Gmail mobile apps in early 2014.
At the same time, Google has made an update to the Gmail app for Android, though for other features. The app now includes the option to send any type of file as an attachment, introduces a "Vacation Responder," and allows for Android 4.4 users to print from the app itself.