As new Hotmail rolls out, Google updates Gmail look

Microsoft has just finished rolling out its Hotmail refresh to 350 million users but its main rival, Gmail, is hot on its heels.

Google announced on Tuesday that it had updated the look and feel of the contacts view inside Gmail. "We're constantly reviewing user feedback about Gmail, and for a while now the number one request has been for a better contacts experience. You’ve asked us to generally make Contacts easier to use, as well as for specific improvements like sorting by last name, keyboard shortcuts, and custom labels for phone numbers," wrote Benjamin Grol, Product Manager, in a company blog posting.

The contacts view now works more like the rest of Gmail. There's keyboard shortcuts, sorting my last name, custom labels, automatic saving and the ability to undo any changes you've just made. The web giant also took the opportunity to improve the main layout of gmail and make it easier to get to Contacts and Tasks. If you're a Google Apps user then the updates won't be available just yet. Google are planning on making domain-specific features work well in the new interface and plan to have the new version available to Google Apps customers soon.

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The new Gmail layout isn't that bad. The Compose button seems a little out of place, but other than that it's not all that bad. I don't see much other changes than just some left nav rearrangements

I have always been a strong supporter of gmail since it first released the beta, but even I have issues with the layout. The layout of the left side is pretty bad but everything else looks ok. Hotmail has always looked crappy to me and this update doesn't exactly change that fact.

For the life of me, I have never understood when you are ready to send an email to a few people, you can not click on TO: and a drop down menu appears with a list of your contacts you would like to put a check next to and send emails? Instead you get another window tab with most contacted or you have to start of by pecking every alphabet letter to get your contacts that you want to email. I have always found that to be a flaw with G-mail which is why I really have not used it as my main email box. The new update makes it a little easier to send email to contacts right away without going through that stone age process. I still wish they would change the situtation with clicking on TO:,BBC:, and CC: to having a drop down menu where you can see all your contacts that you may want to check and send emails instead of that most contated window.

zerokool316 said,
all i have to say about google is clean i like it

that is exactly what i like about gmail. i have the old fashioned retro style on it - simple is beautiful. i used to like hotmail back in the 1990s but after their crappy updates i bailed out.

Google just wants to try and catch up with Microsoft. But it won't work, Microsoft have the advantage... Still do.

One reason I won't likely use Gmail much is because of the issues creating a new account. Here in the UK now you have to provide a Mobile Phone Number to create a new account. Even for YouTube. Google took it to far then. That's why Hotmail has been my mail provider for years, and still is.

My ActiveSync is working on my Live account now.....buh...bye Gmail.

This update does nothing to really enhance the "Craigs List" user interface that Gmail has. Sure its fast, but it looks like crap compared to the latest Live mail.

Are any of you talking about the fact Gmail now bugs you with a reminder to update your personal backup, or some crap like that.

I got that once yesterday.

Don't use Hotmail at all and never will, and only use Gmail for personal storage of stuff, but BOTH of those e-mail services have to be the 2 worst one's in existence for getting spam!!

I noticed the Gmail changes last night, and I think that they're very well done. Contacts prior to this upgrade were an absolute mess. I guess I still don't get the whole "arms race" when it comes to these email sites because I hardly ever use the web interface for email anymore. 99% of the time, I'm using a third-party client like Apple Mail or Outlook, or my iPhone.

Mad_Griffith said,
great, now it's iGOOGLE time!

Seriously. When I logged into Gmail for the first time after the update I got a message to the point of "we've shaved our pixels", and the first thing that came to mind was dear god please update iGoogle too.

thornz0 said,

Seriously. When I logged into Gmail for the first time after the update I got a message to the point of "we've shaved our pixels", and the first thing that came to mind was dear god please update iGoogle too.

the amusing thing about this is that igoogle and orkut have been getting faster and more timely google chat updates than gmail. gmail still slightly lags behind igoogle in that area, and really lagged behind until recently. igoogle and orku i believe have file transfer and resizeable chat windows, neither of which have made it to the gmail version. since i use gchat a lot its kind of annoying.

another thing google could do is hire a ****ing designer.

I do not like this new look at all. Hotmail has improved immensely putting aside the reply button and some glitches that may occur at some times in Firefox. Sadly, Gmail has gone backwards. Looks like they may need to consider getting a new UI team in.

really ? hotmail changed the whole layout and add more features and gamil all it did some changes to contact i feel sad for gmail users lol

darkfanar said,
really ? hotmail changed the whole layout and add more features and gamil all it did some changes to contact i feel sad for gmail users lol

Yeah, seems like a "uh oh, Microsoft made Hotmail look nicer... quick boys, find something, anything that we can change so we can make the headlines today too!"

I know there are many Google fans, but the new Hotmail blows Gmail out of the water. I don't think anybody has covered all Hotmail features completely because you have to really use it to find out,create a new email and look at the new options: attaches office docs directly into skydrive for online collaboration and fast email transfers, attach photos into an online album, or click on web images to quickly search an attach images or clip art. Insert from Bing videos, maps, movies with theater and showtime info into the email in one quick step. In the quickviews, filter by shipping updates to see when your Amazon order will arrive or all emails that have documents attached. Quicky filter email from your contacts, from groups, from social updates. There is no comparison.

All of this sounds great if you're either heavily integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem or use the web to compose email a lot. Unfortunately, I fall into neither of those categories. Maybe with Hotmail finally getting into the 21st century and having widespread Exchange ActiveSync access, I will revive my Hotmail account (which is currently a cesspool of junk) and explore the new features.

Charles Keledjian said,
I know there are many Google fans, but the new Hotmail blows Gmail out of the water. I don't think anybody has covered all Hotmail features completely because you have to really use it to find out,create a new email and look at the new options: attaches office docs directly into skydrive for online collaboration and fast email transfers, attach photos into an online album, or click on web images to quickly search an attach images or clip art. Insert from Bing videos, maps, movies with theater and showtime info into the email in one quick step. In the quickviews, filter by shipping updates to see when your Amazon order will arrive or all emails that have documents attached. Quicky filter email from your contacts, from groups, from social updates. There is no comparison.

I agree. I find hotmail to be many times more useful than it used to be and I've been using the service for many years. Its only gotten better for me. Never quite understood why so many people complained about spam when they had the tools to control it. Personally, I had my filters set to Exclusive which only allowed people/organizations in my contacts list to pop-up in my inbox. Anything else went straight to junk.

Really enjoying the changes to the service.

Google ruined my Stylish theme!

I got the update last night, and its really... funny looking. The "compose mail" button sits between the "Tasks" link and the "Inbox" link, and looks really out of place.

The one thing GMail is missing now is Calendar integration (i.e. a link to my calendar with my "Contacts" and "Tasks" links), and I will never have to bother with anything other than Gmail for my organisation needs

Majesticmerc said,
Google ruined my Stylish theme!

I got the update last night, and its really... funny looking. The "compose mail" button sits between the "Tasks" link and the "Inbox" link, and looks really out of place.

The one thing GMail is missing now is Calendar integration (i.e. a link to my calendar with my "Contacts" and "Tasks" links), and I will never have to bother with anything other than Gmail for my organisation needs

this isnt really "integration" but you can stick a google calendar (and docs) widget inside gmail.

Shame they have removed the preview pane style that the contacts used to use, really thought it made it much better than Hotmail. Still being able to edit the contact while viewing it is much faster than Hotmail and the autosave just shows the level of design detail they have gone to.

GeeQ said,
the compose (write) new mail button just doesn't fit there...

+1

Everything else looks good to me, just that button looks out of place... either move it, or change it back!

Hmmm... The new contact display in GMail is a lot better than the previous. But I do not like that they changed the Compose menu choice into a grey button.

I hate they added more stuff to the left side.

I hate that they changed the select options to a drop down menu. The text underneath worked just fine.

Gmail is still the best but hotmail has improved a little bit.


Hmm, not too fond of it at the moment. Seems rather messed up, perhaps because it's new. Will see how it goes.

As for Hotmail, not too bad these days, very fast now, decent set of features. I would kill for full page themes though, Gmail has them on that. Too much white, need something easier on the eyes with Hotmail. I think the services are quite close, hard to do wrong with either.

I do like how Gmail has firstname.lastname mean firstnamelastname and any dot variation whereas Hotmail does differ between dot variations. Good for seeing who the spammers are.

Mazhar said,
Google is desperate! And unfortunately, it does not work!

And how is Google desperate exactly, in the internet business as a whole their probably one of the strongest in the market.

thealexweb said,

And how is Google desperate exactly, in the internet business as a whole their probably one of the strongest in the market.

Yes they are strongest but they also have a strong competitor: Microsoft.

Mazhar said,
Yes they are strongest but they also have a strong competitor: Microsoft.

But that doesn't explain why this is a desperate move...

what said,

But that doesn't explain why this is a desperate move...

It looks though...just look at the timings of Google's update: Just after Hotmail's upgrade. May be a co-incident.

Mazhar said,

It looks though...just look at the timings of Google's update: Just after Hotmail's upgrade. May be a co-incident.


That doesn't show it is desperate, it shows smart strategic sense as it grabs some headlines while the rival have its biggest upgrade for years. On the contrary, I think they are more methodic and had planned to spoil the party, I believe that before I believe the desperatr assumption

Mazhar said,

It looks though...just look at the timings of Google's update: Just after Hotmail's upgrade. May be a co-incident.

Microsoft tends to update all their online services yearly, Google makes improvements all the time. Blame this on Microsoft's poor planning.

Mazhar said,

It looks though...just look at the timings of Google's update: Just after Hotmail's upgrade. May be a co-incident.


It's probably not a coincident, but also not desperate. It's called competition.

No need to dramatize everything companies do and search for capitalized headline scoops everywhere. This is a minor layout polish with a contact book update, and that's that.

Mazhar said,
Google is desperate! And unfortunately, it does not work!

As per this article do your really think Google changed the look of one small item within their webmail client all because of Hotmail? Google change GMail constantly. Have a read of the blog to see just how much they put into GMail. http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/

If Gmail was updated first, before Hotmail, everybody would say "MICROSOFT COPIES EVERYTINGG!!!11111", I really hate that.

Wietze said,
If Gmail was updated first, before Hotmail, everybody would say "MICROSOFT COPIES EVERYTINGG!!!11111", I really hate that.

Yeah, but as Google is obviously the good guy here it's totally ok.
[/ironie]

Wietze said,
If Gmail was updated first, before Hotmail, everybody would say "MICROSOFT COPIES EVERYTINGG!!!11111", I really hate that.

And of course you're doing the same thing . . .

Wietze said,
If Gmail was updated first, before Hotmail, everybody would say "MICROSOFT COPIES EVERYTINGG!!!11111", I really hate that.

What exactly did Google copy from Microsoft? Unless you are implying that updating ones interface is exclusively the concept of Microsoft.

MindTrickz said,
What exactly did Google copy from Microsoft? Unless you are implying that updating ones interface is exclusively the concept of Microsoft.
I don't think he's saying that Google "copied" Microsoft, just that there are not many Google haters relative to Microsoft haters.

sonnu said,
I liked the old look more.

I liked the old look at first too, but after playing with the new interface for an hour I now enjoy the new look more.