Back in September, Gmail for Android removed text labels from its core navigation element; this change now makes sense as Google is making the bottom bar more persistent.
Update 11/11: This persistent bottom bar is more widely rolling out on Gmail and appearing on several devices we looked at today. One way to check it’s live for you is by opening an email. If the bottom bar is displayed until you scroll down (and it returns when going back up), this new behavior has launched.
This behavior is somewhat equivalent to the integrated Material You redesign on the web app that now always shows a persistent “App main menu” for Mail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet. Earlier this week, Google announced that the “original view” is going away.
Original 11/3: Previously, Gmail’s bottom bar would disappear as you scrolled through your inbox and when you opened an email. Users had the option to uncheck “Hide bottom navigation on scroll” in Settings > General, but the default behavior hid the bar.
Now, opening an email keeps the bottom bar until you scroll down, and it’s immediately available again by going back up. If you toggle off “Hide bottom navigation on scroll,” it will always be visible in the inbox, emails, chats, and other tabs.
In light of this change, removing the text labels for each tab makes more sense as Google wants to remove visual clutter and just have icons as the persistent element.
As such, users can now have a persistent badged indicator of unread emails, chat (1:1 or group), and Spaces anywhere in the app. It fits into Google’s hope of making Gmail an app with three core capabilities.
L: Bottom bar in emails | R: Current behavior
More on Gmail:
- Gmail will directly show package and delivery tracking in your inbox
- Much-needed Gmail redesign greatly simplifies settings on iOS
- Google improving Gmail search with labels and related results
- Gmail and Google News updates add iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets
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