Gmail's new 'integrated view' layout will become default in April
Chat and Meet apps will have dedicated buttons and spaces alongside users' emails
Google has announced a new Gmail layout that changes how Chat, Meet and Spaces are integrated with the service.
The new 'integrated view' makes it so that the messaging apps are no longer little windows floating alongside emails by giving each one its own screen, accessed via larger buttons on the left-hand side.
All Google Workspace users - except those on Workspace Essentials - will be moved to the new interface. Users can choose to switch to this new look on 8 February, with an option to switch back still available.
However, the new layout will become the default option by April and, eventually, the only option by the end of the second quarter of 2022.
With the application buttons tucked away to the left, the changes give Gmail a similar look to Microsoft's Outlook. The new app position removes the need for users to switch between tabs or windows in order to use Chat or Meets because they can now use them directly in the same browser window.
There will also be notification bubbles for each app and, soon, Google will also offer a 'unified' search function so that it shows results from all integrated applications.
The refreshed interface is a win for those that like data density and having all their work apps in one place. However, it could be a little confusing having multiple app notifications all going off in one window, potentially adding more stress to those looking to focus on one task at a time.
Whether the changes are agreeable or not, users may have suspected they were coming, given the changes Google has made to Workspace (formally G Suite) during the pandemic. The company has sought to make its platform more conducive to hybrid and remote working by tweaking the way various elements work with one another, with the rebrand to Workspace, itself, also a nod to greater integration and ease of use.
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