Google pitches the “new integrated view” as “making it easy to move between critical applications like Gmail, Chat and Meet in one unified location.” It starts with a new left sidebar that features large, pill-shaped icons for Mail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet. You also get recent chat heads at the bottom of the screen.
When enabled, the new navigation menu allows you to easily switch between your inbox, important conversations, and join meetings without having to switch between tabs or open a new window.
The next column is specific to the current product/service you’re viewing. In the case of Gmail, it’s the “full array of Mail and Label options currently available,” including a blue “Compose” button that interestingly replaces the previous red accent color. You’ll notice various elements, including the inbox list, now feature curved corners. For Spaces, it’s the ability to “Browse,” see “Pinned,” and view all conversations.
Google touts the addition of “Notification bubbles” that “make it easy to stay on top of what immediately needs your attention.” However, the Google Chat conversations list can no longer be configured to appear on the right side of Gmail. Meanwhile, an upcoming update will combine email and chat results in the top bar.
Starting on Tuesday, February 8, you will be able to opt in and test the new experience with a pop-up box in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Users can “revert to classic Gmail via settings.” The new version will start rolling out automatically in April, but you can still go back to the old design.
Google plans to fully remove Gmail’s previous look and use the new view redesign by the end of Q2 2022.
Around the same time, users will also begin seeing the new streamlined navigation experience on Chat web (mail.google.com/chat).
Google lists availability for the following users/tiers and more details are coming next week:
Google Workspace Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
More on Gmail:
- G Suite legacy free edition users will get ‘no-cost’ transfer option, presumably to Gmail address
- Gmail refreshes the rarely seen ‘inbox zero’ graphic
- Gmail for iOS gets inbox widget as Google Meet gets Picture-in-Picture, more [U]
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