Gmail’s Redesign by Google Is Part of a Larger Company Push

The most significant improvements in Google’s extensive revamp of Gmail are difficult to detect. Yet first…

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• Tornado-related suspect in crypto-laundering was detained Elon Musk is discussing his future plans with China’s censors Do platforms for streaming video games provide too much of a good thing? The change to Gmail
You might have seen some significant updates to Gmail in recent weeks, including new color schemes, updated menus, navigational tools, and a revised approach to engaging with other Google services from within your inbox.

At first sight, it would appear to be a simple redesign, but considering that Google’s email platform has well over a billion users who appear to be addicted to it, even the smallest pixel changes or button repositionings can have a significant impact on engagement and market share. The effort to create a “unified Gmail,” as product manager Neena Kamath put it, is part of what the search giant owned by Alphabet Inc. is attempting to do in order to make it easier for users to switch between web apps.

The updated version of Gmail, which is being released to the public in phases, aligns the service with Google’s expanding design language, which is meant to provide the company’s diverse applications—from Android to ChromeOS—with consistent visual themes and interaction elements. That effectively means Gmail gets softer blues instead of its usual white and red, rounder margins, and more interactive overlays for your inbox. Some detractors thought this was more of a data-driven redesign than a fundamental overhaul of the email system. The new Gmail, at least to me, feels more contemporary, smoother, and quite similar to Microsoft Corp.’s rival Outlook, despite the fact that Google has a history of exhaustively A/B testing designs.

Google has made the redesign optional and hidden its most significant UI change under a settings option, possibly out of concern that users will become resentful of too many changes at once. You may choose which Google apps, such as Google Chat and Google’s Meet video conferencing service, are available inside Gmail using this feature. In a new vertical bar to the left of the conventional email menu links for sending messages, reading draughts, and other functions, the buttons are presented as miniature Gmail applications. Like Microsoft’s rival web email client, which includes buttons for Word, Excel, and online files, all on a similarly situated menu inside Outlook, one could imagine Gmail eventually adding options for a range of Google services such as Docs, Drive, and Sheets. Given that Google and Microsoft—as well as the majority of other cloud and business players—are engaged in a conflict over the sale of productivity software, the similarities are not surprising.

This new “unified” Gmail may seem like more of the same to users who are accustomed to the long list of abandoned Google products and brands—Buzz, Wave, Google+, and G Suite, to mention just a few—as it is yet another attempt by the firm to combine many services into a single library. After all, Gmail serves as millions, if not billions of users’ default home screen. I, for one, am likely to have several dozen Gmail tabs open at any given time, switching between chats and archived emails, typically along with Google Calendar notifications, cloud files in Docs or Drive, and YouTube videos, and of course, a tonne of Google search sites. Often, it’s a mess.

Native apps for mobile and desktop devices, as well as browsers like Chrome and Apple Inc.’s Safari, inevitably clean up some of this disarray. The question is how many programs websites like Gmail can actually combine before the interface becomes too crowded. In a blog post about the revamped Gmail, Kamath stated that the team worked to strike the right balance between Gmail’s role as “a standalone email application or a hub for easily moving between” Google services, noting that the pandemic has led to a mix of email, chatting, video calls, and collaboration among users. A Google representative said the company is “increasingly seeing Gmail as a key place for users to handle communication in their everyday lives” as part of its Workspace productivity services.

Meaning that, at least in the short term, Google Chat (formerly known as Hangouts), Google Meet (now combined with another video service named Google Duo), and Google Spaces will be the standard micro apps inside Gmail (previously called Rooms). Just let’s hope that Gmail doesn’t change its name in the upcoming iteration of Google’s email service.

The major event
Peloton is eliminating hundreds of jobs, closing a sizable number of retail sites, and hiking the cost of its exercise equipment in the wake of its dramatic surge and collapse during the pandemic.

What else is important to know
Details of economic negotiations with Taiwan may soon be made public by the Biden administration, which is expected to escalate tensions with China.

Tencent, which is predicted to disclose its first revenue decline since 2008, is struggling more and more as a result of the $560 billion market value collapse.

The Merge, a much-anticipated upgrade to the blockchain, is expected to finally take place next month, according to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.

Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical kingpin, sees his crypto token’s value fall.

On September 28, watch Bloomberg Live in London as the leaders in business, government, entrepreneurship, and investing in Europe debate solution-based strategies and how they are adjusting to this new climate.