GOOGLE WILL UNLEASH a redesign of the Gmail web interface in the coming weeks, only its second major revamp in its 14-year history.
The redesign is currently in (very) limited testing and shows a much cleaner, curvier interface and a bunch of new features, some of which have graduated from the experimental Google Inbox.
Administrators of G Suite accounts have already been shown what to expect with Smart Reply (already a feature on Android and iOS), improved offline support (a major bugbear since launch) and snoozing of inboxes for later.
Google is promising a "fresh clean look for Gmail on the web," in what appears to be the most significant update in its 14-year history. There was a revamp in 2011, but if anything that de-constructed the design, where this looks to start with a fresh pair of eyes.
Google has acknowledged the news but equally has said it won't be confirming anything for now.
The good news is you can still test it anyway. A new early access programme has launched and Google is inviting both regular users and G-Suiters to play about with the new design over the next few weeks.
This will also give everyone a chance to see how the new design will interact with the huge ecosystem of extensions and add-ons - it's inevitable that some will need a bit of tweaking, especially those that adjust the layout, like, for example, there is one that moves Hangouts conversations to a different location on the page.
What isn't known is whether Google will tackle any of the minor annoyances in Gmail, such as the inability to change the sort order of messages and the often arbitrary way it chooses which messages are expanded and which are not.
Full details of how to take part in the early doors trial, as well as an official announcement, will come in due course. However, we tend to find that "due course" at this time of year means "at Google I/O", which suggests that along with the other expected announcements, the plan is to make this year's event just a little more exciting than the last few. µ
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