Google provides some of the most reliable services in the world. Yesterday they published Gmail's 2013 uptime, which was 99.978%. Google's work towards "destination dial tone", an uptime of 99.99%, continues.
This level of reliability would be impressive even for a stagnant service, yet Google was able to do this while adding hundreds of new features - all without any scheduled downtime.
This year they've completed some important security enhancement work. Gmail will now always use HTTPS, a feature it's supported since launch. This is the same security you're leveraging when you do other sensitive tasks on the Web, like online banking.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Secure designates the use of Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS encrypts our communications, protecting them from eavesdropping and tampering so we can safely leverage the public WiFi at our favorite coffee shop.
Google has also taken the additional step of encrypting 100% of Gmail messages traveling back and forth between Google data centers. They took this step to protect user data from the NSA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's latest encryption report shows how Google stacks up.