Friday, October 28, 2011

Redesigns for Gmail & Google Reader

Google is continuing its implementation of cleaner, crisper designs with a new Gmail look and a streamlined Google Reader. While Gmail is getting some added functionality, Reader is losing many of its social features in favor of Google+ integration.

Gmail's New Look and Capabilities

Gmail by Google logoWhile the general look and feel of the updated Gmail has been available in a preview format for several months, the actual update is just around the corner – and it goes well beyond the preview. As indicated by a leaked video (which has since been blocked by Google), Gmail will soon:
  • Allow users to resize different panes within Gmail (including the chat and label panes).
  • Automatically adjust to fit any screen or window size.
  • Choose between three levels of compactness for their layout.
  • Pick one of several high-resolution themes.
  • Use an all-new conversation structure.
  • Have a new search pane that allows for easier access to advanced search options.
As noted by PCWorld, the new look does also bring a new ad into the mix. That ad will appear directly below the "reply" field when you're looking at an email conversation.
Since this content was leaked, there's no sure way to know when we can expect an official release. However, given the current state of readiness and the three months since the preview's launch, speculation says we're looking at a November release.

Reader Sheds Some Weight, Gets Cleaner

Google Reader will soon look and act quite differently, according to a post on the Google Reader blog. While users can expect the same sort of clean look and feel that's been implemented elsewhere, Google's also sweeping out several functions.

Notably, Google will "be retiring things like friending, following and shared link blogs." Instead, users will be able to share Reader content easily through Google+ integration. To help those who want to migrate to alternative RSS services instead of getting started with Google+, Reader's subscription export will now allow this social data to be exported as well.

No specific date has been given on these changes, although Google Software Engineer Alan Green stated they would be coming "very soon."

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