Blanca E. Duarte
Gmail is Getting a New Look
Updated: Mar 23
In recent months, you may have noticed that the way Gmail looks has been changing. Underneath the Chat section on the left-hand sidebar, you’ll see sections called Spaces and Meet. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a sidebar that allows you to view your calendar and create new Keep notes and Tasks without having to open up a new tab. These changes are part of Google’s redesign of Gmail, where they want you to be able to access all the different Google apps within your Gmail window.
Starting in mid-February, 2022, you will be able to opt-in to seeing Gmail in this new format, but can still continue viewing Gmail the way you currently are until June 30, 2022. In April 2022, Google will automatically change your Gmail to the new format, but you can revert it back to the old look in the settings until June 30, 2022. After June 30, Google is making the new Gmail format permanent for all users.
Please note that almost every user - personal, business, education, nonprofit - will get this update, except for Google Workspace Essentials users. Although Google doesn’t specify exactly what Essentials users, I can infer that they mean Education Essentials users.
You will likely see the new look rolled out to you between February and March. No need to go looking through your settings to opt-in, though, as Google will send you a notification (see images below) to opt-in while you’re viewing the Gmail window once the option becomes available to you.
This is what Gmail will look like when you opt-in (without the bar I have for Salesforce on the right side, that is an add on I have):
The most immediate change you will notice will be a smaller section of the window devoted to emails. You’ll still see the subject line in full, but the preview message line will be shorter. This is to make room for a new left-hand sidebar, which will look similar to the right-hand sidebar you currently have. This new left-hand sidebar will allow you to switch between your Gmail inbox, Chat, Spaces and Meet. According to Google, Chat will no longer open over the Gmail interface. So when you click on Chat, it will actually open this page, mail.google.com/chat, instead. From this interface, you can interact with Chat, Spaces, and Meet. I encourage you to explore that link for yourself because you don’t need to have the new Gmail format to view it. From exploring it myself, I especially like the My Meetings view under Meet because it shows meeting details cleanly instead of over my often cluttered calendar.
Then, what is currently your left-hand sidebar, will be pushed inward by the new sidebar and will only have the “Compose” button, the different inbox categories like “Starred” and “Sent”, and Labels. If you like using Labels (which I encourage you to try using if you haven’t before), you’ll probably like this new Gmail look because it gives Labels the space they need to be seen and used regularly. By pressing the three lines in the top left-hand corner, the column with “Compose” disappears and the space for your emails expands.
As you hover over the “Mail”, “Chat”, and “Spaces” icons on the left-hand side, a pop-up will appear indicating details to quickly navigate those apps. Note that the pop-up does not appear when you hover over the app you are currently clicked into. For example, if I am in the “Mail” app, looking at my emails, I do not see a pop-up when I hover over the “Mail” icon. If I click on the “Chat” icon, then hover over the “Mail” icon, I will see the pop-up for Mail appear.
Another feature we’ll be getting at the same time is that when you search through your email, the email search bar will also search through Chat and Spaces messages. Please see the images below of what this will look like, with a section for searching through your email and a section for searching through Chat and Spaces messages that you can toggle between.
Overall, I’m interested to see how the new mashup of all these Google apps in Gmail will change how I interact with them. Hopefully, I will find that it allows me to seamlessly move from one application to another.
Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing