Google appears to be working on a major redesign of Gmail that lets you collaborate with colleagues, work on Google Docs, and talk about Google Meet without leaving Gmail. Leaked images of the redesign were posted on the Google website for the Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir event by Twitter user Tahin Rahman (via Android police).
When redesigning, there are now tabs for mail, chat, rooms and meet. The Chat tab is designed to guide you to conversations with people, while rooms appear as areas for topic-based conversations, similar to Slack channels. The Meetings tab shows your upcoming Google Meet meetings and suggestions who you might want to contact. (The Meetings tab may be familiar. Google announced in June that Gmail’s iOS and Android apps would be available.)
Other slides published by Rahman show that you can put a conversation and a Google Doc side by side in Gmail so you can collaborate on the document and discuss it in real time. In addition, you can apparently even set up a Google Meet video chat window in picture-in-picture mode, where you can discuss projects during a call while still watching the chat and document in front of you:
In January, it was reported that Google wanted to combine its workplace tools and messaging apps under one mobile app, and it seems possible that these leaked slides are showing the fruits of this work. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has rapidly improved its collaboration tools, including renaming Hangouts Meet to Google Meet, adding new features to Meet (and making it free for everyone), and converting Hangouts Chat for Chat with business users in Google.