New Gmail default look available to all, new theme support

Google is currently rolling out the new Gmail look to users across the world, after previously saying we'd see it "over the next few days." Google announced today on their official blog (which also got a visual refresh today) that the Gmail visual refresh is now available for all users, even if your administrator is one that holds back these things. 

According to Google, pressing Control + F5 in your inbox will trigger a message. We received a (tiny) prompt here at Neowin when we logged in to "activate the new Gmail" and we were away!

​The new look is simplistic, and is similar to the "preview" theme that was available a few weeks back. However, Google has made some changes to the theme since we saw it, finishing off the rough edges. Most buttons that contained text have now been replaced by a icon based button that shows a tool-tip when you hover over it.

​The inbox dynamically adjusts to your display size, however, it's possible to adjust how "cozy" the inbox is, too by a handy control on the top right.

The Gmail update also comes with brand new theme support, with normal "color" themes and "HD" themes as seen below. The old themes are still around, too, albeit with a slightly different look (pictured below). The photos are now provided by iStockPhoto, and this is advertised in the theme settings.


Remember the terminal theme? Now it flashes!

There are subtle changes across the board, even in email previews with a big focus on the "people" who send you emails. Showing pictures and more details about the user, and, if you live in the US you'll be able to use Google Voice features from inside an email. Conversations are now beautiful, and show off avatars that users have selected for themselves.

Search has also been greatly improved over previous iterations, making power user commands easier to find. Pressing a subtle down arrow in the search box reveals the advanced search panel.

 

It appears the new look is available to all, even if their Google Apps domain (like ours) doesn't automatically provision new services, which is a bit strange.  Despite this, the change is an extremely welcomed one. Our inboxes were getting tired and dusty, and this visual overhaul makes Gmail much more enjoyable to use.

While the change is not compulsory right now, and you can revert to the old interface, the update will be forced upon all Gmail (and Google Apps) users in the coming weeks, so it's best to start getting used to it now.

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36 Comments

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honestly not my favorite update, conversations seem harder to deal with now, the tabbed kind of conversations were easier to visualize

I love the black theme, I think I can get settled in on this new look, really gives it more of a feel with the rest of Google websites, now for YouTube, I wonder if they're gonna improve the cosmicpanda look more, with more compact futures, anyway enough talking.. good job Google, can't wait to see what else you have in store.

I like the new feature where you hover over the labels and it expands. Also the mail list/preview pane is much improved as well. I haven't even tried all the other goodies yet.

excessive whitespace and monochrome icons
It's just a matter of time before Google force us to upgrade to the new interface just like they did it yesterday with Reader.

Does the news version make your browser run a little bit slower or is it just me? I was using the (dense) Preview theme before and did not notice anything.

CTRL-F5 is not a google shortcut, what this does is it refreshes the page, but it forces the page to be redownloaded, rather than going through your cache.

It's basically a more hardcore refresh Very helpful for testing things

Holey said,
CTRL-F5 is not a google shortcut, what this does is it refreshes the page, but it forces the page to be redownloaded, rather than going through your cache.

It's basically a more hardcore refresh Very helpful for testing things

So Google are simply telling you to redownload the site, because if the page is cached, it won't show up!

WHY are these 'upgrades' having such FAT buttons so spread out from one another. Google reader updated today and theres this HUGE fat bar above it lowering my screen space by a significant amount...like holy crap these are hideous.

I've been using the preview since it was available and liked it, so I switched to the new look as soon as I got it. Looks good. Haven't really checked out the themes - feels like I don't need to bother with those anymore.

Its not bad, needs some better themes for the HD stuff. The "Comfortable" look though wastes too much space, though guess if you have a high resolution it isn't too bad that way.

Tried; it looks ugly to me. But I don't care.
Last time I logged into g-mail, was about 7 months ago. I use Thunderbird for my e-mail reading/writing.

The new look is amazing, I have been using the preview theme but this is so much better.

+1 GMail

dvb2000 said,
this look is useless - half the inbox is just whitespace with everything double spaced.

Change your Display Density to Cozy or Compact... that should fix it for you

I guess this is the downside of using "cloud" apps, like gmail or facebook. The provider can change them whenever they like and you have no say in the matter. Its like it or lump it

It is OK... one thing I noticed with the new search features is it is not entirely clear how you clear a search... I entered a name in the From: field in the extended search dialog and all of their emails came up. To remove this search and "go back" the best way I found was to click on "Inbox" from the left hand side. I suppose this is OK... I would prefer it to revert back once I cleared the search box.

Anthonyd said,
Does it still look inside emails?

If it is hosted by Google, yes...

This sounds a bit tin foil hat, but Google doesn't restrict information stored on their servers from their own internal use. They don't encrypt the data from their employees or themselves either.

All content, including your email is accessible by Google employees and is also used for trend forecasting.

(This is how Google is able to make 'smart' investments, as they know what products are on the rise and what companies are vulnerable.) *Reference: Motorola

So a Google 'engineer' can write an query to see all email information that contains keywords, bring back the account holder information, etc.

This is what true power over people is, and sadly people choose ignorance and give up this power readily to Google.