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Prepare yourself: The new Gmail look is about to become the permanent Gmail look

On March 27, 2012, Google will make the new look for Gmail the permanent, and only, look for Gmail for all users.

The new look for Gmail has been available for several months now and for those of us who adopted it early on, the old look is a distant memory. However, if you have been clinging to the old Gmail display format for some reason, your time in the sun has come to an end.

The old look

This is the old Gmail look that is soon to be a part of history

On March 27, 2012, Google will make the new Gmail look the only Gmail look.

The new look

This is the new Gmail look - not that much different really

As you can see in the screenshot comparisons, the new look is a little cleaner and generally easier to navigate. I don't think many users will object to it, but you may want to give everyone in your organization the heads up that there are changes coming - that is if you haven't already.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

20 comments
Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the same to Google Groups and it looks a hell of a lot different, and it's made it so bad that I know of lots of people who are no longer participating in discussion groups at Google Groups because of the changes. Sure the new look at GG is better for mobile devices but horrid for desktops. Anyway, as far as Gmail is concerned, for my personal Gmail account I suck it down through Thunderbird, so no difference for me, and for the one web based Gmail I account I have to use at a volunteer organisation, it's close enough i can live with it twice a week.

artsy212
artsy212

How can you write with a straight face the LIE that the new gmail look is easier to navigate? Almost every simple move needs either more clicks or more seconds hunting it down, the icons are idiotic and gmail has just ruined a great business model because a new VP of development needs to show off that he deserves his big money and do something new even if EVERYONE HATES IT.

Sarah Price
Sarah Price

Hey Ron_007, I'm the Gmail Community Manager. Thanks for your feedback. I just wanted to let you know that if you click the gear icon and open your Settings, you can change your button labels to text if you prefer. Best, Sarah

Ron_007
Ron_007

It is a poor man's "ribbon", which I hate too. I am a keyboard oriented, lifetime touch typist, text menu preferring (I HATE the hieroglyphics they are forcing on us) user. Email is a text oriented application, so why do I have to put on a "graphical" hat to read the menu? I want text "buttons" that are easy to read. I keep having to stop and THINK about the stupid "pictures" they use. I don't like "dancing icons", where things jump on and off my screen contextually. Just put the commands up and disable the ones that aren't usable so I know where to look for them.

martian
martian

In my particular case, I tend to tile my browser to fill the left half of my screen. This makes it so that lots of emails I get, the TechRepublic one for instance, don't scroll over properly, like they do now. So yes, I hate it and hope they at least fix this "feature".

hws1947
hws1947

Going to the google help area regarding the new gmail (and the new google calendar) might change your mind on objections! I've been providing feedback for months along with others on the negatives that outweigh any positives. Yes it may look a little "cleaner" but is that always a good thing? The old gmail in the upper left has the three main functions of navigation for gmail right there for your clicking pleasure: INBOX, COMPOSE and CONTACTS. Now? This "cleaner" version only shows the mode you are in, such as INBOX and if you wish to go to CONTACTS, you have to hover your mouse over INBOX and click to change. Big time negative: Why do I have to hover over my lables to see all of the ones I want to see? I have a lot, and I have filters that move some incoming mails there upon arrival so they are unread. Right now, at a glance, I can see when I have unreads in my labels, but with the "cleaner" version, many of them are not visible without doing the hover maneuver. Google has been zero responsive to these complaints, doesn't seem to care about the huge number of objections. At the very least google should permit users to choose the soon-to-be-gone "classic" version along with the new look. And don't get me started on the pastel light-colored almost unreadable fonts of the new Calendar!

Regulus
Regulus

I am not enthusiastic. I can rationalize that for fiscal viability, it may be necessary to pacify the larger market share consisting of airheads (non-nerds).

jlw2135
jlw2135

personally i dont like it, its too hard on the eyes, ive tried to adjust among the 3 different methods of viewing and its not good one any of the 3 fronts, i wish google would listen and add an additional option to allow me to use a emulator of the old format so at least i wont have to transfer or transport the entire emails i have on there to a different service........ HEY GOOGLE PAY ATTENTION FOR ONCE................................

EmilyTheChef
EmilyTheChef

It's not like the difference between older MS Office & the new Ribbon interface, or the older Facebook and the new Timeline. I switched a while ago in Gmail but I'm holding on to the old look in FB :)

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you still using the old look version of Gmail? Do you have a particular reason? Are you and your users ready for the new look, coming on March 27?

Sarah Price
Sarah Price

Hi hws1947, thanks for your feedback. Have you tried resizing the chat box in the left navigation? Click the top of the chat area and drag down to see more labels at once. Since you filter your mail and have a lot of labels, I'd also suggest setting all of your labels to "Show if unread." This way, you can reduce clutter and easily see which labels have new unread messages. You can still get to the rest of your labels by clicking "More." Best, Sarah

Sarah Price
Sarah Price

Hi jlw2135, I'm sorry you find Gmail hard on the eyes. We've made a lot of improvements to readability based on user feedback, including darker lines between messages and a new theme. Have you tried one of the other themes, like the High Contrast theme, or one of the colors? I really like the blue one. Try them by clicking the gear and selecting "Themes."

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

comparing the two ribbons - I found the switch from the old MSO menus to the ribbons a horrid waste of time and screen space.

jackcade
jackcade

Sarah, Here's a third problem area you cam probably solve easily. In the old version, I could click the link to have a full header show up with a received email -- so I could copy & paste the email with the full header. Now, the new "Show Details" button just brings up the header in a separate box, which is useless for my purposes. How can I get the header to show up as part of the email once again? Thanks, Jon

jlw2135
jlw2135

hi sarah, thanks for the suggestions, have tried several of the theme settings and am still having trouble viewing, still wish for the older viewer emulator... but alas... guess cant have it all after all... :(

jackcade
jackcade

Sarah, I handle several different email accounts with my gmail. When I send an email from my main gmail account, the recipients' names show up correctly in the "To" column in the Sent Mail box. But when I send from one of my other email accounts, the "To" column shows only a useless "To:me." How do I correct this problem so that I can see the recipient names once again? Thanks, Jon

jackcade
jackcade

Sara, Thanks! All fixed now! Jon

Sarah Price
Sarah Price

Click the drop down on the message and choose "Show original" or "Message garbled."

Sarah Price
Sarah Price

Hey Jon, please try toggling your "treat as alias" setting for your "send mail as" addresses.