Leaked screenshots of what could be a test version of Gmail show a brand new interface and new features including the ability to mark a message as unread for a certain time.
The screenshots, uncovered by Geek.com, suggest that Google is working to add more organization options to Gmail, while playing with a new design language in the user interface.
Starting with the new features hinted at in the screenshots, Google is apparently preparing more types of email categories, besides the current Promotions, Social, Forums and Updates. These new categories are Finance, Travel, and Purchases, according to Geek, and they seem very useful for auto-sorting mail coming from online retailers, your bank, or your airline. These new categories will show up both in the side menu and at the top of the inbox.
A snooze mode for email will presumably let you mark a message as read for a predetermined period, ranging from a few minutes to a few weeks. Have a message from Grandma that you can’t answer right now? Just snooze if off for the rest of the workday, and when you get home it will show up as an unread in your timeline.
Another new organization feature is the ability to pin an email at the top of the inbox. You could use it to set a reminder or to keep your boarding pass handy until you get on the plane. When you unpin the message, it will slide back to its normal place in the message list. The app features a toggle at the top of the inbox, which presumably will let you quickly switch between pin mode and normal mode.
These are all very plausible features, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them coming to Gmail. However, things are a bit murkier when it comes to the design of the app, which is a major departure from its current design guidelines. Everything’s flat, there are many color accents, and the “hamburger” menu button looks totally out of place. Google has worked very hard to unify its apps and get app developers to adopt its guidelines, so it seems unlikely that it will abandon them so quickly.
There are several possibilities. This could be an early peek at Google’s UI redesign coming with a future version of Android. The design could be a prototype or experiment that Google plays with in-house, and may not ever make it to a shipping product. Or this could be something else altogether, like a web app or even an entirely different app.
To conclude, while the addition of these new features seems plausible, the design in these screenshots is questionable. Don’t put too much weight on it until further proof supports it.