SiliconFilter

Major Gmail Update Coming Soon: New Look With Better Search and Updated Conversation View

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A few months ago, Google launched a preview of a new look for Gmail that is more in line with the general redesign of all of Google’s products. Today, a Google employee mistakenly made a video demo of the other changes that are coming to Gmail available on YouTube (sounds like a familiar story?).  That video has been set to private again now, but you can find a copy here and at the end of this post. Chances are, Google will make this update official very soon.

So what’s coming for Gmail? Besides making the current preview theme the default, Google will also roll out updates to its other themes. According to Google, the idea behind the new look is to “make it as clean, simple and intuitive” as possible.

new_gmail_1

The conversation view now also looks a bit more like the “preview pane” Gmail labs experiment the company introduced earlier this year. Among other things, the conversations view now features profile picture to, as Google says, to make your message threads more “like a conversation.”

Other updates include a redesigned advanced search menu. Instead of having to type in relatively arcane commands like “subject: Google,” the new search box gives you separate fields for searching for specific subjects and for emails from specific contacts  and with certain keywords. You can also now create new filters right from the search box.

The whole site has been redesigned to fit better on any size of screen, too. The new default theme features a lot of white space that brings the information density of the default view down by quite a bit. For those who prefer to see more messages by default, Gmail will allow users to tweak these settings.

 



5:58 pm


Google Reader: It’s Still Alive and Getting a Facelift, But Will Lose its Social Features

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Google Reader, the company’s popular feed reader, long looked like the forgotten stepchild of Google+ and other more recent products at Google. As the company continued to update the look and feel of many of its products in the last few months, Reader looked like it would be left behind. Today, however, Google announced that Reader will soon get a facelift as well. At the same time, though, it looks as if Reader will also lose some features, as Google is moving all of its social efforts to Google+.

Among those features that will soon be retired are “friending, following and shared link blog inside of Reader.” According to Alan Green, a software engineer on the Google Reader team who wrote today’s announcement, Google thinks “he end result is better than what’s available today, and you can sign up for Google+ right now to start prepping Reader-specific circles.” Google Reader will, however, get support for Google+ sharing and Google notes that “many of Reader’s social features will soon be available via Google+.”

Alive, But on Life Support?

It’s worth noting that for a long time now, the development of Google Reader looked like it had come to a halt. There haven’t really been any major updates to Reader in more than a year and according to some of the people I have talked to at Google, most of the original team has been disbanded and was working on other products. Google+ itself offers a feed reader-like feature with Sparks, though this currently remains one of the least developed parts of the service.

It’s not clear if today’s announcement heralds the beginning of renewed development of Google Reader, or if the new design is simply meant to bring the product’s look up to date but won’t extend beyond that.



5:20 pm