Google has confirmed that it's getting ready to roll out a fresh look for Gmail on the web, and now we’ve caught a glimpse of some of the new features rolling out to the ubiquitous email service.
Google will soon offer up three views to choose from, according to leaked screenshots of the redesign obtained by The Verge. The first, a compact view, looks like the current version of Gmail. This layout looks like it's designed for people who hate change. Meanwhile, a new default view highlights attachments, such as images or documents, and a third comfortable view doesn’t highlight those attachments.
The most noticeable change reportedly coming to Gmail would be the addition of a new sidebar in the right rail of the Gmail overview that can be used to quickly glance at your calendar, to-do list or Google’s Keep app for notes. Users of Microsoft’s desktop Outlook app are used to this sidebar, but it’s a new look for Gmail. A few other visual differences are more colorful icons, but these aren’t a major departure from Google’s Material design aesthetic.
If you use Gmail’s mobile versions or Google’s Inbox app, some of the new tools will look familiar. The screenshots show that a smart reply feature for quickly answering emails without typing anything is coming, as well as Inbox’s snooze button for muting email threads until you’re ready to respond to them.
It appears that Inbox is a testing ground for Google to experiment with new email tools.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that a Gmail design update was in the works, and Google confirmed as much when we asked them about it. "We’re working on some major updates to Gmail (they’re still in draft phase). We need a bit more time to compose ourselves, so can’t share anything yet — archive this for now, and we’ll let you know when it’s time to hit send," said a Google spokesperson with a fondness for mail puns.
If you just want everything about Gmail to stay the same, don’t worry, its new look isn’t a dramatic departure from the current one. Every tool you rely on is still in the same place.
But in a few weeks — perhaps at the Google I/O developers conference starting May 8 — you’ll have access to some fresh features that might make your life easier and help you get to Inbox Zero a little faster. (We can all dream, right?)