There isn’t much more included in the update than previously revealed, but the changes, including streamlined conversations, elastic density, new HD themes, improved search, and “smarter navigation”, were definitely worth the wait.
The “better search” comes from a new drop down panel that allows you to select filters and advanced search options, while smart navigation is part of the overall UI redesign allowing you to always see your labels and chat, as well as customize the items in the left pane. You can now use arrow keys to navigate the interface, too.
Elastic density is a nice addition, allowing you to select one of the three predefined settings that will control the spacing between items in your inbox. The settings include “Comfortable”, “Cozy”, and “Compact”. Streamlined conversations are perhaps the biggest and best change, providing a new dynamic conversation view seen below:
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Along with updates to the current themes, new high resolution themes will be made available courtesy of imagery pulled from iStockphoto. The update should be going live for everyone in the next couple of days. Look for the “Switch to the new look” link in the bottom right corner of your inbox.