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Google Makes Changes To Gmail

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Google has launched a number of improvements and a redesigned interface for Gmail

Google has updated the interface of Gmail, making a number of improvements and aesthetic changes to the email service.

The new design brings Gmail in line with Google’s social network Google+ and although switching to the new design is currently optional, it will become compulsory in the near future.

Clean and simple

Google’s user experience designer Jason Cornwell outlined the changes on the official Gmail blog, commenting “We’ve completely redesigned the look and feel of Gmail to make it as clean, simple and intuitive as possible.”

Conversation threads have been streamlined to make them easier to read, while the addition of profile pictures makes it easier to keep track of who said what. Spacing between screen elements adapts according to the size of the window, although you can choose to make the display denser by selecting one of three density options.

The chat and label areas can be resized in an effort to improve navigation, while a new search panel makes searching easier and faster and reinforces Cornwell’s claim that “searching is at the heart of Gmail.”

The change comes as part of the recent integration of Google Apps with Google+ and further validates promises made by Vic Goduntra at the Web 2.0 summit last month, to upgrade Google’s services.

However alterations made to services such as search, Google Maps and Google Reader have not been universally welcomed. Google Reader’s users were angered at the removal of sharing and social features such as friending, following, commenting and shared items. These were replaced by Google’s +1 sharing option, which allows items to be shared within Google+ social circles.