Last April, Google completely redesigned Google Mail on the desktop web, focusing on machine learning and other intelligent features. Now available in Gmail for Android, this redesign includes a handful of other changes beyond the Google Material Theme that are welcome transmissions from the web counterpart.
After updating to version 9.1 (starting at 8.x), the new Gmail user greets users with the "fresh new look." If you tap on "Next", the new option "Select view" appears immediately, in which users can choose between Standard, Comfort and Compact. This option is available after setting up in Settings> General Settings> Density of the conversation list.
"Default" lists email attachments directly in the primary Inbox view. Users can click to immediately open a document or photo. The pill-shaped indicator contains a file type symbol and a name. This is remarkably convenient for quick access to tickets and other passports.
"Comfortable" is almost identical, but with attachments marked only by the standard paperclip icon next to the time / day / date in the upper-right corner. In the meantime, "Compact" replaces the profile images on the left with Mass Selection checkboxes and removes even more padding. This view is very dense and convenient for those who have always wanted to replicate the density of the web in mobile apps.
The Material Theme of Gmail dispenses with the red app bar for a white search box with a hamburger button on the left and a profile icon on the right. When you tap on this latter item, a menu opens where you can switch accounts with the number of unread messages. Users can also quickly add a new account or manage Google preferences.
The new account switcher simply displays "Gmail" in the top navigation bar, followed by "All Inboxes" and "Inbox". There is a Recent Captions section that displays the last three open folders, including All Captions. Shortcuts for Calendar and Contacts remain below, Settings and Help and Feedback complete the menu.
The core navigation of Gmail for Android is unchanged. All icons have been updated with the material design style of bold contours and hollow interiors, while Smart Reply chips at the bottom of emails have faint gray contours. Another redesigned element is the floating snack bar, which can be used to undo various actions.
There are some nice animations – look at how the main menu loads when you select large numbers of messages – and the multicolored FAB file is available in the lower right corner for composing. Gmail for mobile phones now better warn against dangerous messages with a larger red banner, while features like answering and tracking nudges were already being applied to the phone last year.
Overall, the redesigned Gmail for Android is not too radical a design departure. Google could have opted for a bottom bar, but the navigation bar would have been painfully missed for quick access to labels. Of course, the stark white background is the immediate complaint of today, but it helps colorful labels stand out by quickly browsing unread messages.
While the basic experience of using Gmail for mobile remains unchanged, the new density options should not be ignored. As a productivity app, it's important to be able to browse tons of messages on a restricted screen. The compact view helps to achieve this and a large carryover from the internet.
Gmail for Android version 9.1 is now deployed through the Play Store.
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