Integrated Gmail: first impressions

Google released a Gmail redesign that finally rolled out to me. Here are my first impressions after a few days.

What's new?

The redesign integrates the Gmail email client with Google Chat messaging and Google Meet video calling. The early feedback I read was from unhappy users who made it seem the sky was falling.

But I kind of like the refreshed look and don't mind the new layout.

Now i notice a new color palette, the toolbars framing the window sides have a different background shade, and there are a few more tweaks. The only major addition is a thin left sidebar with tabs for Gmail, Chat conversations and spaces, and Meet meetings.

The left sidebar does reduce horizontal space and leaves less room for the email subject and snippet in the inbox list view, especially on small screens such as those of Chromebooks. But there's still enough context and on the 1080p monitor of my daily desktop driver, an ASUS Chromebox 3, the extra sidebar space is not an issue.

The new layout comes with some handy extra funcionality. For example, the Chat notification badges for incoming messages, and the lists of conversations and spaces that pop up when hovering over the Chat icons. This may make redundant the separate Chat window I usually keep open.

Too bad Google Chat is not even a blip on the radar of the messaging market and I have so few contacts left on Chat.


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