Google has finally rolled out an update to its ultra popular email client Gmail today. The update features a simplified design, visually enhanced threaded conversations and improved search functionality.
We first caught a glimpse of the new Gmail changes about two weeks ago after someone at Google accidentally made a demo video (embedded below) of the update available to the pubic.
As I previously noted, the first thing you’ll notice about the new Gmail design is the abundance of white space, which makes elements like the “important” arrows and message labels stand out more prominently.
The overall navigation has also been refreshed. The top nav bar now consists of buttons with action icons instead of text descriptors (e.g. – archive, spam, delete, etc.), while the left-sidebar navigation is much cleaner than the old version. Links to Contacts and Tasks are gone, or at least hidden from view, and the most dominant part of the side bar is the “Compose” button.
Google also decided to make email conversation threads look more like an instant message and/or Facebook conversation. Each message in the thread now displays the person’s profile picture to the left. It’s a welcome change to the wall of words we’re used to seeing in high volume email conversations — especially when several people are included in the message.
Of course, if you hate the changes, Gmail has plenty of options to customize your view. While it won’t look exactly like the old version of Gmail, the custom view options can get pretty close.
Neither I nor fellow VentureBeat staff writer Sean Ludwig have the updated Gmail option appearing in our inbox yet, but everyone should see an option to switch over in the next few days, according to the Gmail blog.