The winds of change are a-blowin in Gmail’s direction. According to Engadget, Google sent out an email to G Suite Administrators, the people who manage and control corporate or group email accounts running on Google’s webmail platform. The email is a pre-brief for those administrators before new changes roll out to G Suite users, and you know that if the changes warrant notifying administrators in advance, they’re going to be big.
According to Engadget, the changes include bringing Google’s Smart Replies feature to the web, email snooze functions, and native support for offline emails. Most controversially, it also sounds like a “new look” is coming to Gmail on the web, which is sure to confuse just about everybody.
Google has been working to slowly overhaul the look of its iconic web apps over the past year. Google Calendar got an update last October, and Google lost no time forcing users to migrate. Gmail is likely to be the same; the new version will probably roll out to beta users in the next few weeks, it’ll hit the mainstream as an option a month or two later, and within six months, all users will likely be forced to migrate.
If you look at the visual changes Google made to Calendar on the web, it’s easy to guess at some of the changes coming to Gmail. Google has been pushing a flatter, cleaner design with less clutter, clearer fonts, and a more card-based interface. Gmail still uses a look that’s a throwback to the earlier days of online email, and while it’s not visually cluttered, it can be unintuitive to use.
The redesign won’t just be about looks, however. Google has had its Smart Replies function active in the Gmail apps for some time now, and the same AI-based quick replies will be available online. They’re good for hammering out short replies to a ton of emails, but the utility of not having to type a short email is lessened when you’re doing it on a real computer with a real keyboard.