A couple of leaked screenshots suggest that Google is about to spring a major revamp of its Gmail service onto unsuspecting users. The two images, which were obtained by Geek.com, show what looks to be the most drastic redesign of the Gmail interface for desktop computers we’ve seen so far.
Geek.com compared the redesigned interface to similar rumored changes for the mobile Gmail client that were leaked last month. The new Gmail is almost unrecognizable from its current guise – its much more colorful and there’s a prominent blue bar that runs across the top – and there’s far less clutter than we’re used too. Whether this is because Google wants Gmail to function across a range of screen sizes or it’s planning to take the opportunity to jam this extra ‘space’ full of ads remains to be seen.
So what’s new exactly? Well, the biggest difference is there’s no more collapsible left-side interface where all the functionality resides. Instead it seems to have been swapped out for a drop down menu that disappears when it’s not being used. There’s some aesthetic changes too, such as stars being replaced with pins, which can be rearranged in various orders with the click of a button. Also, on the right hand side, there’s a collapsible Hangouts interface, and something Geek calls a “to-do list” which houses drafts, reminders and other functionality.
The actual emails appear to have been delineated a bit better, with all the messages for one particular day grouped together, so it’s easier to see your most recent emails. It also looks like important emails can be pinned to appear at the top of the page, allowing these to be accessed much more easily.
Of course, Google is not stupid – it knows how sensitive people can be to radical redesigns and so there’s no guarantee this new-look Gmail will ever see the light of day. No doubt there’ll be some sort of opposition to this change, just as there was when Facebook first rolled out its ‘timeline’ feature, doing away with the old ‘news feeds’. Even so, there seems to be a good chance that Gmail will get a makeover in due course.
Google isn’t afraid of change when it sees fit. And more importantly, this redesign fits in with the company’s ambitious “Google 2” project that pertains to its apps for Android, iOS, the web, and wearable devices, with the ultimate goal of creating a single design that can scale across all major platforms.