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Tech review: Email apps with useful updates

The Spike app allows users to set up

The Spike app allows users to set up group chats and collaborate on documents. Credit: Newsday/Spike

Email is an important application for everyone, but it is crucial for work-from-home employees. These email apps are among the best and most popular, and all have recently added new features.

Gmail

(iOS, Android; free)

Gmail is the world’s most-used email app, and it is the default email client for many businesses. The Google-owned app has just added a dedicated tab that interfaces with Google Meet — Google's videoconferencing app widely used by businesses. As of last month, iOS users can finally set Gmail (or any other email app) as their default mail application. Because it’s backed by Google’s vast database, it is strong at warning you about potential malware-laden and phishing emails.

Microsoft Outlook

(iOS, Android; free)

Microsoft Outlook is the No. 1 Windows-based email app for businesses, and the mobile version, although very different than the desktop version, is an excellent choice. For business users, Outlook’s easy integration with Microsoft 365 Office products Word and Excel is a timesaver. Outlook has recently added an "Ignore Conversation" feature that business users will love: It sends emails in an unimportant-to-you chain with endless replies straight to the trash.

Spike

(iOS, Android; free)

Business communication apps are changing as workplace collaboration applications such as Slack and Microsoft Teams gain in popularity. Spike is trying to bridge the gap between email and collaboration apps by letting you set up group chats and collaborate on documents without leaving your inbox. Best of all, with all the information available at a glance, you can turn off annoying notifications and get some work done.

Spark

(iOS, Android; free)

Spark is a relatively new choice, beginning as an email alternative for Apple Macs about five years ago and branching out with iOS and Android versions last year. Spark is similar to the traditional email apps you may be used to, but it adds a number of productivity tools that make sorting, sifting and searching through emails much easier, and its Smart Inbox is an excellent feature. You can tweak it so you only receive notifications from what you define as important mail.

Apple sets iPhone 12 event

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 12 series Tuesday. Four new phones in various sizes and prices are anticipated. While Apple has been close-lipped about the new phones, the event’s name — “Hi, Speed” — is seen as an indication the phones will support the next-gen, superfast 5G technology. Unlike past iPhone-unveiling extravaganzas, this event is online only with no live audience.

— PETER KING

Facebook slams Netflix documentary

Facebook hit back at the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” that accuses it of violating people’s privacy and being complicit in spreading fake news. Facebook said the documentary was “sensationalism” and created “a convenient scapegoat for what are difficult and complex societal problems.” Facebook said it has made changes to protect users’ privacy and doesn’t “allow misinformation to fester on our platform” as the film alleges.

— PETER KING

Amazon reveals COVID numbers

Amazon said 19,816 of its 1.37 million U.S. employees tested positive, or were presumed positive, for the coronavirus between March 1 and Sept. 19. The number includes workers at its Whole Foods Market chain but not delivery drivers, who are typically contracted workers. Amazon faced harsh criticism this year as hundreds of workers and critics have said it hasn’t done enough to keep employees safe.

— WASHINGTON POST

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