Gmail’s New Look: What Just Changed

By  Sudarshana Banerjee

The new Gmail has been just around the block since July. It is finally here. You can revert back to the old look temporarily, but the changes are here to stay. Lets take a look at what just changed.

Conversations are streamlined: The conversation view has been completely redesigned. You’ll now be seeing profiles pictures for your contacts, among other things.

I am using this right now; and think this is definitely an improvement. The look is much less cluttered. Multiple emails (as part of the same conversation) can be seen at a glance – really helpful, as at times, I seem to have exchanged over a dozen emails back and forth.

Spacing between elements can be changed: Most of us access Gmail from multiple devices, with varying screen sizes. The new Gmail will automatically change the spacing between elements or density, based on the kind of display we may be currently using. We will also have the option of changing the spacing manually.

Again, good on the eyes.

Navigation is more customizable: The navigation panel on the left keeps labels, chat contacts in view at all times. You can also resize the labels and chat areas, use the arrow keys to navigate around the interface.

Playing around with this one. So far, so good. I clicked on the chat bubble to make the contacts invisible (great when I am not actively looking for distractions). Changing the labels now.

Search is advanced: The dropdown in the search box reveals a advanced search panel, with more query options. You can also create a filter from any search.

Three cheers for the advanced search. I have 24,940 emails, and will soon have to upgrade my mailbox, so this is especially helpful. Also, loving how easy it is to create filters now.

Themes get a HD makeover: High resolution themes come to Gmail, with imagery provided by iStockphoto.

This one is not as exciting as it sounds. On my Macbook Pro, the high def themes are way too glossy to work with for more than a few minutes at a time. Besides, the ‘imagery’ is not as exciting as it sounds to be, and is far fewer in number than you are thinking it is.

The new Gmail design is being rolled out currently, and you should see a ‘Switch to the new look’ option at the bottom right of your Gmail box soon.

In the meanwhile, you can also read user experience designer Jason Cornwell’s blog post, and watch the video as he explains the new Gmail. On the all-new Gmail blog.

(Sudarshana Banerjee is consulting editor with She can be reached at [email protected])

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