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Home / Technology / Google Inbox's co-creator wants to fix Gmail with a new Chrome extension

Google Inbox's co-creator wants to fix Gmail with a new Chrome extension



Co-author of Google's popular inbox app and former lead designer for Gmail has released a new Chrome extension that greatly simplifies Gmail's web interface.

Michael Leggett, who served as Gmail design lead from 2008 to 2012, released the "Simplify Gmail" extension on April 2, one day after Gmail's 15-year existence. On this day, the inbox had been set. Leggett left Google in 2015.

The extension made many small changes to the Gmail web interface. The left and right sidebars are hidden behind two menu buttons, the search bar at the top of the screen is minimized by default, and the button for creating a new email has been moved from top left to bottom right.

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The extension (right) greatly simplifies the default Gmail interface (left).
Image: Simplify and Image: Simplify

Another important change is the removal of the Gmail logo. "Look at a desktop app and tell me how many have a big fucking logo on the top left," Leggett said in an interview with Fast Company "Cmon. It's pure ego, sheer bullshit. Leave the logo Give me a break. "

The expansion reflects Leggett's strategy at Google, where he used the experimental inbox to introduce features and encourage the company to change the Gmail service." The best I can hope for is that it's really good and Google will force people to go to the inbox, or it's really good and they're picking up the best features in Gmail, "Leggett said Gmail would later adopt many of Inbox's ideas, including intelligent answers and the ability to save emails.

What's worth, I like some of the changes that the Extensions do but I think others go too far. Hiding the sidebars and the search bar makes the UI look nicer, and I like the repositioned button to open a new email. However, I do not like removing the Gmail logo. Leggett might think it's "pure ego," but I like a visual indicator of which site I'm looking at if I quickly skip my open tabs.


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