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Gmail's upcoming redesign focuses on work chat, rolling out later this year

The new version of Gmail is rolling out in an early access preview for G Suite users next week.

Published onJuly 15, 2020

  • Gmail is getting a redesign focused on work, confirmed Google.
  • Google’s email app will include quick access to Chat, Meet, and Rooms.
  • The update is rolling out to G Suite users later this year.

Update: July 15, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET: Just a few hours after news broke about the new Gmail redesign, Google confirmed the news on its Google Cloud blog. The new version of Gmail is rolling out in an early access preview for G Suite users next week, while all G Suite users will get the redesign later this year.

The Verge reports that little will change for non-G Suite users, though Google says it is “actively thinking through how and when to bring this experience to the consumers who might want it.”

Original article: July 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM ET: Gmail could soon be a hub for all your work conversations — at least, if Google has its way.

Software engineer Tahin Rahman says he has discovered (via 9to5Google) upcoming slides from Google’s Cloud Next event that reveal a significant, work-focused redesign of Gmail on mobile and the web.

While Chat and Meet have already had some integration, such as a rollout for Meet for some iOS users, the new interface would weave Chat, Meet, and Rooms directly into the interface. You would see tabs for each service at the bottom of the screen on Android and iOS, while the web version would display relevant details from each in the side column.

The new Gmail would be smarter about conversations, too. It would “nudge” you on chats you’ve neglected for a while, and surface your most important rooms. On the web, you could edit documents alongside chats and participate in picture-in-picture video meetings that let you see more of what you’re discussing. Tabs could help you see shared files and tasks.

The slides also reference already-announced plans to upgrade Meet itself, including attendance checks, hand raising, custom backgrounds and Q&A sessions.

Google is expected to announce the Gmail overhaul next week during productivity sessions at Cloud Next, although it’s not certain when the new features would be widely available.

This wouldn’t be a completely surprising move for Google. It’s competing not just with multi-talented email apps like Microsoft’s Outlook, but a host of modern work tools and services like Slack and Microsoft Teams. An all-in-one app could give companies an incentive to rally around Google products instead of splitting their attention between multiple apps.

This also reflects the changing reality of the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to require working from home, with some switching to permanent remote work. A more powerful Gmail app could be better-suited to staff who may never meet in person.

Next: The best email apps for Android

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