Thursday, November 10, 2011


Gmail, Google's free email service, received a facelift Wednesday with five new features including streamlined conversations and "elastic density."

User experience designer Jason Cornwell said they plan to roll out the changes to all Gmail users in the next few days.

"We’re excited to finally share Gmail’s new look with you. We’ll be bringing these changes to everyone soon, but if you’d like to make the switch right away, we’re rolling out a Switch to the new look link in the bottom-right of Gmail over the next few days," Cornwell said in a blog post.

The new look for Gmail features streamlined conversations, which lets a user read through email threads.

Profiles pictures for contacts will be available, making it easier "to keep track of who said what."

A second new feature, elastic density, allows Gmail to adapt to a variety of screen sizes and devices.

"So now the spacing between elements on the screen will automatically change based on the kind of display you’re using. If you prefer a denser view all the time, you can change your density manually in the Settings menu," Cornwell said.

The third new feature involves new high-resolution themes, with imagery provided by iStockphoto.

"We've updated most of the old favorites as well and your theme will be automatically carried over to the new look," Cornwell said.

A fourth feature is smarter navigation, where a navigation panel on the left keeps labels and chat contacts in view at all times.

The navigation panel is also more customizable, where a user can resize the labels and chat areas if he or she wants to see more; or hide the chat area entirely via the chat icon in the lower left.

"You can also use the arrow keys to navigate around the interface," Cornwell said.

The fifth feature is better search, where the user can click the dropdown in the search box to see a new advanced search panel.

"You can use the same panel to create a filter from any search in just a few clicks," Cornwell said. — RSJ, GMA News

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