Google is rolling out a revamped user interface for Gmail that aims to make it easier to switch between Mail, Chat, Spaces and Meet.
Google has lifted the curtains on parts of the revamp after a preview in January and later updates in February showing the new "integrated view" for Gmail. These were opt-in changes for Workspace users and now they've become standard for all Gmail users.
The new-look Gmail has a left column with shortcuts to Mail, Chat, Spaces and Meet. The integrated view will first roll out to users who have turned on Chat, according to Google.
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To do that, users need to go to Settings (behind the cog icon) and view "full settings" and then enable Chat. Gmail will then switch to the new view.
Once the new view is enabled, Gmail users can use Quick Settings (also behind the cog icon) to customize what combination of Gmail, Chat, Spaces and Meet they'd like to see on the left column.
Google will start showing the option to enable the integrated view in the "next few weeks". The redesign aligns with Google's Material 3 design system. Besides the left column, the new view doesn't drastically change the look of Gmail.
"Now you can optimize Gmail for how you like to stay connected, whether it's as a standalone email application or a hub for easily moving between Chat, Spaces and video calls in Google Meet," says Neena Kamath, a Google product manager.
Google will release Gmail improvements for tablets later this year, according to Kamath. Google hasn't said what the tablet enhancements will be, but this week it announced Android tablet-friendly updates for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Keep, which introduced drag-and-drop functionality, keyboard shortcut support, and a side-by-side view of Drive windows. Google is also bringing tablet improvements to Android 13 based on its tablet-friend Android 12L.
Google has also released improvements to search and suggestion options in Gmail that change contextual contact suggestions when searching a name in Gmail.
"Suggestions are reordered to more likely match contact queries with first names or email addresses rather than last names," Google notes in its Workspace Updates blog.
There are also personalized suggestions based on historical exchanges, such as how often a user interacts with a colleague via Gmail.
Google's support page for the integrated Gmail view details the steps to opt-in to the new view or to revert back to the old layout.
Google introduced the integrated view as part of its response to changing needs during the pandemic, which saw people needing to move often and quickly between email, messaging, group chat and video calls.