Google has started releasing a new look Gmail to its users. From what I can tell, it’s going to users with an @firstname.lastname@example.org address first, then Google Apps users. That’s simply because my @gmail.com address has been changed over and my three Google Apps emails have not. (Yeah, I do have four email addresses that I frequently use. It’s a pain.)
So, what’s new? The new look in terms of the default theme and the buttons isn’t exactly new. Google released something similar in July as a theme. There are some differences though. Firstly, when you are in your inbox, if you don’t have an email selected, buttons like Archive, Spam, Mark as read, etc aren’t there. If you select an email, they appear, but no longer as a button with words on. Gmail has decided to move to symbols that represent these. For example, archive is now a manila folder, spam is now a warning sign, Trash/Bin (depending on whether you use US English or UK English) is now a rubbish bin/trash can.
Now, instead of having Mail, Contacts and Tasks listed down the side, you have a dropdown box from which you can choose the three options. Gadgets (like Calendar, Google docs, Invite a friend) are now hidden by default. You have to click a button (represented by a “…”) to see them. Then you can click on a speech bubble to go back to chat.
The main issue I have with the new Gmail is how they work with labels. Now, you see a number of labels by default, then the rest you have to scroll over the labels, where the remaining labels will appear. Sure, that’s great, but you can’t order your labels. I might want to be able to see all my labels on a larger screen, but when using a smaller screen, I might only want to be able to see Inbox, Starred and Spam, for example. If I was to do that, I would have to hide Drafts, Sent Mail, All Mail etc when on a smaller screen and show them when on a bigger screen. If I could reorder the labels, I could simply change the amount of labels that are visible.
I do like the new Gmail. It’s just there are things like the way labels work that just annoys me a little bit. All-in-all though, a good update from Google.
Here’s a video from Google that explains all the changes they’ve made.