Regardless of what other websites cycle in and out of your browser tabs over the course of the day, I'm confident that I can guess one tab that's pretty much always open: Gmail. According to January 2018 statistics, Gmail boasts 1.2 billion users, and with numbers like that, I feel pretty good about my odds. If, like me, you're shamefully reliant on your Gmail, you're probably pretty rattled any time the platform rolls out an update or redesign, so I thought you'd probably want to know ahead of time that there are new features coming so you can prepare yourself. So, what does Gmail's new update look like? Let me fill you in.
On Apr. 12, The Verge released early screenshots of the new design, which Google started teasing the day before. While Gmail shared minimal details about the specific developments that would come with the new version, Alphr noted that the update was expected to be the email service's "biggest redesign in years," especially given the fact that the interface has looked largely the same over the course of the decade and a half since it launched. Initially, The Verge reported that the design would include "several new features" for Gmail users, including Smart Reply, email snoozing, and offline support.
After the announcement, The Verge was the first to share screenshots of the new look, which — at first glance, at least — is pretty streamlined.
The sidebar you see on the right side of the screenshot is a new addition, which The Verge calls "perhaps the most useful part of the redesign that makes it easier to schedule meetings, or see when you're free when replying to an email." With a few clicks on those sidebar icons, you can easily integrate your Google calendar, the Keep note-taking app, or your task list into the email composition process. In theory, this sounds like a real time saver.
Another major element of the update is the introduction of three new layouts. Users can choose from a default view that highlights attachments, a comfortable view that doesn't highlight attachments, and a compact view that allows you to see more emails on a single page. If you've only recently gotten used to the layout of your existing Gmail inbox and aren't very excited by the prospect of changing things up, The Verge recommends that you stick with the compact view, which is most similar to Gmail's current format.
It might sound like these changes could rock your email world, but The Verge notes that the update is expected to be less radical than Google's 2014 Inbox redesign. Remember how it was when you logged into your account and your messages were suddenly (and inexplicably) grouped into multiple folders? You survived that, so it sounds like you don't need to sweat the upcoming changes.
With the screenshots also came additional details about the soon-to-be rolled out redesign features. The Verge confirms that you'll be able to use smart replies in Gmail's web version, making it even easier to quickly respond to messages thanks to smart suggestions delivered by Google. The snooze feature will allow you to put a pin in conversations you're not ready to address at any given moment, giving you the opportunity to remove certain messages from your inbox until a later time or date. If these features sound familiar, it's probably because they're already at play in the Gmail mobile app.
While there doesn't seem to be a specific date available for the rollout, The Verge anticipates that it might be timed with Google's I/O development conference on May 8. Prepare to adapt your email game!