When people go on holiday, they sometimes set themselves as being “out of the office” (OOTO). This means that when you email them, you’ll get an email telling you that the person is not around at the moment. While such a system is perfectly functional, Google is hoping to introduce some changes to Gmail that will stop you from sending that email.
How this works is that whenever a person puts an OOTO entry into their calendar, if another person were to try and reach out to them through Gmail, they will get a notification telling them that the person is currently away, as you can see in the screenshot below. This does not mean that you cannot send that email.
But if you’d rather not have your email get lost in a pile of emails, this notification will help you decide if you still want to go ahead and send it, or send it when that person comes back. This notification not only applies to Gmail, but it will also apply to Hangouts Chat where if you open the chat window with that person, you’ll be a small banner notification telling you that they are OOTO.
These new features are being rolled out to G Suite users starting from today, but if you’re not a G Suite user, it could take a while before it is enabled on all accounts.