Google has slowly been unveiling new looks for their major services, such as Google Calendar and Reader. The most anticipated redesign comes from Gmail which has now gone live. While not all users have access to the new Gmail, it should be rolling out to all accounts soon.
The Gmail redesign was a long time coming and while users had a preview of it in July 2011, nobody knew for sure if Google would be able to deliver on making Gmail an even better service than it was before. We will take a look at Gmail’s new look along with the new features Google has added to make its e-mail service the best out there.
How to switch to the new Gmail look
Look for the little blue box on the bottom right of your screen after logging into Gmail. Click on “Switch to the new look.”
A pop-up will appear asking you if you want to upgrade to the new look. Click “Switch to the new look” to continue.
Gmail will automatically reload in your browser.
When finished, another pop-up will appear with a brief overview of the major changes and a short introduction video to watch about the change. Now, click “Continue to the new look.”
Gmail’s New Design
The first thing you will notice about Gmail’s new design is how streamlined everything looks. Google’s caveat for redesigning its services has been to make things seem sleeker and much smoother. Gmail shows just how beautiful this design principle is.
One of the biggest complaints of any web site is its ability to adjust depending on how you minimize and maximize your browser. Google has added elasticity to Gmail which will automatically adjust as you change the size of your browser.
When you scroll through to read an e-mail, the toolbars will now stay on top of the mail so you can access Gmail features quicker. This feature has been one of the most requested by Gmail users since day one.
New Hi-Def Themes
One of the niftier features of Gmail and most Google services is the ability to change the themes. Google has added a boatload of new themes, along with the additional of high-definition themes to choose from. You can now choose from simple color changes to themes involving ninjas and more.
The overall way you view your e-mail and the “conversations” they make has changed to make things easier to keep track of. You can now set profiles for e-mail contacts so you can see a picture of them during a conversation as well as other information related to them.
You can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate through your e-mail conversations. You also have new options to work with by clicking the “Down Arrow” next to any e-mail.
These options give you the opportunity to work with e-mails quicker and more efficiently than you could before.
The Display Density
Gmail also gives you a new way to customize how it looks for you. One of the biggest is the display density. If you click the “Gear Icon,” you can choose between three different densities: Comfortable, Cozy and Compact.
These display densities will change how close together things are depending on the size of your browser. You can view a better comparison of what a difference this makes on Google’s web site.
New Sidebar Feature
You now can change how big Google Talk looks when Gmail is opened in your browser. This allows you more access to your contacts while logged into the chat service.
Improved Mail Search
Google has taken time to improve the Gmail search and filter features. This will make it easier to find e-mails, chats and more instead of wading through obscure results. If you click on the drop down arrow in the search box, the new search options will appear.
You can now do a comprehensive search through your Gmail account to narrow down your results much quicker than before. Simply fill out what you want to find and click the magnifying glass to get your results.
Another new feature is the ability to switch between e-mail, contact and task view. By default, Gmail is set to the mail setting but by clicking the drop down arrow next to it, you can switch to tasks or contacts easily.
Google has added a lot more functionality, flexibility and improved upon key features to make Gmail even better than most imagined. By coupling the evolution of features with the redesign, it is like looking at a brand new Gmail when you make the switch.
Check out the Video Demo for the new GMail design
Does Gmail’s redesign make a difference to everyday users?
Personally, of all the redesigns Google has done in the last few months, the Gmail redesign is the one that really made us go “wow.” When it first loaded, I really was in awe of how smooth it looked which is one of the design qualities I am always impressed by when done right. Google did it right with Gmail. While the rest of the changes to Gmail make it even easier to use, I think the visual redesign is really what brings every other feature together.
Let us know what you think of Gmail’s redesign and new features! We love to hear from our readers and this extreme makeover of Gmail is so big, we want to know what everyone thinks of it!