Yesterday we got a look at a beta version of the upcoming Gmail app for Android which includes new Travel, Purchases, and Finance categories in addition to the Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums categories currently available. Also present is a pinning feature for making emails of your choosing remain at the top of your inbox as well as a “snoozing” feature that allows you to delay an email for a set amount of time much like hitting snooze on your alarm clock. Within a slightly tweaked UI you’ll also notice a new toggle at the top of your inbox that allows you to switch between showing pinned emails and having them return to chronological order.

Our sources had previously told us about this update but without confirmation. We sat on the story. Now that we have some confirmation that this is coming, we can discuss the whole of what we’ve heard.

Our sources tell us that the Gmail additions won’t just be for the Android app, but will also hit iOS and various flavors of the web app too. Just like recent email upstarts like Mailbox, you will be able to snooze and pin emails extremely quickly and as a result move from email to email much faster. Here’s our source describing the new gmail web app running in Chrome:

It doesn’t have the feel of a traditional email client with folders/inbox on the side

It’s like full screen email where they highlight one email at a time and you sort of cycle through them by snoozing them, archiving them away or deleting

I think you still can get a small list from a drop down menu of your emails but they highlight full screen viewing of each email.

Google plans to move many of its apps in this direction, not just Gmail. The focus is on full page display of content and moving menus and other distractions out of the way. Gestures and voice actions will eventually replace some functionality of the stripped away clutter.

Why is Google moving in this direction? The idea seems to come from the new wearable and voice initiatives including Google Now, Google Glass and Google Wear. Google internally (hopefully the tired name stays internal) is calling this Google 2. The idea would seem to be to make its apps scalable from the watch/glass up through phones and tablets to traditional PCs.

Naturally these and other big changes would likely be unveiled at Google’s yearly I/O event in late June. We should have more to report soon.


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