Google’s scheduled changes to the layout of Gmail, which will affect how Google Chat, Meet, and Spaces are integrated, will be rolled out to customers this week.
Announced at the tail end of January, Google says the move will make it much easier for users to move between “critical” applications such as Gmail, Chat, and the company’s web conferencing service for businesses, Google Meet.
By the end of Q2 2022, Google says the changes will become the standard experience for users, with no option of opting back.
Google’s Interface is Changing
Google is effectively changing the way Chat, Meet, and Spaces are accessed within Gmail. Right now, these other Google apps are simply windows that sit on the left-hand side of your Gmail inbox, like so (Image: Google):
But after the changes, these apps will be fully integrated into Gmail. Accessed with large buttons in the top left-hand corner, they will open as if they’re another screen inside Gmail rather than another app. Currently, this is called the “integrated view” (Image: Google):
Integration of these programs has a number of benefits – for example, if you’re searching for something in the Gmail search bar, the integrated view will also leaf through your Chat messages.
“We hope this new experience makes it easier for you to stay on top of what’s important and get work done faster in a single, focused location. Further, this will help reduce the need to switch between various applications, windows, or tabs” Google's Workspace team explained in a recent thread.
The company hopes the changes will make it easier for businesspeople to switch between conversations happening across various channels. It’s designed to be less distracting too, with notification bubbles to show which tools need your attention, rather than a long list of all your chats clogging up your screen.
When Will the Integrated Gmail Layout be Released?
Google says that by February 8, 2022, users will be able to opt-in to test out the new experience, so they can become accustomed to it before a permanent switch. The ‘classic’ view can easily be reverted back to by heading over to Gmail’s settings.
By April 2022, users who have not switched to the new interface will nonetheless see it by default, although the option to change back to the classic view will still be available via the settings menu.
By the end of Q2, 2022, the new user interface will be the permanent standard for Gmail and there will be no option to revert back – so it's time to get used to it.
Is Google the Best Application for Businesses?
This latest change from Google makes its suite of workspace products even more functional and easy-to-use – in essence, it's trying to give you fewer and fewer reasons to ever leave the window or tab you currently have open.
It's a sensible move from Google, considering its web conferencing service Google Meet is popular in its own right, as is Gmail and Google Chat. The integration will be helpful to those who use all three, and will encourage those who only use one or two of the apps to give the others a crack.
Further integration of Google's various workspace applications can only be good news for users, and keeps the company well ahead of other competitors that don't offer such all-encompassing, all-in-one programs to aid you with every facet of working life.