On the front-end, Google’s Gmail has received only minor updates over the past few years. However, that should soon change as the company has now announced a new unified user interface that makes it easier to switch between apps.
As a reminder, here is what the current interface looks like:
As you can see in the screenshot above, users will be prompted to try a new user experience for Gmail eventually. Once they have registered, this is the interface they will get:
At first glance, it appears to be somewhat similar to Microsoft’s Outlook, although there are a few differences. Apps are neatly stored in the left pane, while options for labels and emails are now displayed in full alongside them. With apps in their new position, you don’t need to switch between tabs or windows to use Chat or Meets, you can do it right in the same browser window. Notification bubbles will also be displayed for each app. In the future, Google will also offer a unified search experience to also show results from integrated apps like Chat.
The new interface will be rolled out to everyone except Workspace Essentials customers, and administrators will not be able to disable it. From February 8, users will start seeing the opt-in banner, while from April, even those who have not opted in will receive the new user interface with the option to switch back to the classic interface.
By the end of the second quarter of 2022, this will become the standard user interface for everyone and there will be no going back. A simplified browsing experience will also be available on dedicated web chat, and users will not be able to move chat windows to the right side of Gmail.