New Gmail Design: App Sidebar, Chat Bubbles, and Custom Themes

  • Elijah Martin
  • 07 Mar 2022

As Google introduces more and more Workspace elements even for free accounts, Gmail had to be renewed to fit the concept. The new design of Gmail makes it more of an all-in-one web tool for communication and teamwork. Features like the app panel, pop-up chats, and custom design make it unfamiliar, and not all users like it at once.

 The main addition to the familiar Gmail view is the app panel to the left of the folder list. It’s collapsible, so it doesn’t take much space – at least in full-screen view. When the panel is open, you can switch between your mail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet right there. If you work in windowed mode, though, the impact is stronger, making it harder to reach email folders.

 Another element that was redesigned is the chat. Now new messages in the chat pop up as bubbles in the left bottom corner of the screen, each of them unfolding as you click them. You can simultaneously keep up to six bubbles that show private chats, group chats, or event spaces.

 Finally, custom themes in the newly added Material You design are supported. Within these themes, you can choose a dark gray design that colors the background darker regardless of the theme you choose. This energy-saving option also looks better in night.

 Not that everyone is supposed to like this. Some users openly express their disappointment with the app panel and the new themes. Luckily for those not impressed by the new design, Google hasn’t completely ditched the old one. To return to the previous version, you can simply go to Quick Settings and choose “Go back to classic Gmail”. The page reloads automatically after that.

 Has your Gmail already brought you the new interface? And if so, did you like it? What do you think about the app panel: is it worth its pixels, and does it indeed help you? Let’s exchange our thoughts in the comments!

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