New Gmail Inbox: Google Unveils Email Changes, Customizable Tabs [Video]

Google has revamped Gmail for desktop and mobile, redesigning the inbox to sort items into groups.

Google continues to revamp the appearance of many of its services, this time turning its redecorating eye on Gmail.

The company unveiled on Wednesday the new look and automatic labels for Gmail on the Web, as well as in Gmail’s  Android and iOS apps.

Gmail recently came under fire by some for changes to their compose window. Instead of having a new email take up the entire view, a chat style window would pop up from the bottom and allow Gmail users to compose an email.

While some liked the new Gmail compose window, others wanted it the way things were originally. As with any change, there were users who weren’t picking up what Google was throwing down.

The new inbox groups are meant to help users better manage their disparate incoming mail, putting them “back in control using simple, easy organization.”

The revised Gmail now includes no less than five inboxes, accessible from a horizontal line of tabs atop the inbox message list.

The new inbox is designed around five tabs: primary (for your human-to-human contacts), social (notices from Google+, which you knew they’d work in somehow, YouTube, and Picasa), promotions (retailers), updates (did your flight get changed? has your package shipped?), and forum (for message boards and group discussions).

They appear as large tabs on the Gmail site, easy to use for touch screens and fully customizable. You can also drag-and-drop messages between them, and Google will automatically “learn” how you want them filtered, says CNet.

The new Gmail inbox automatically sorts mails into the various tabs, similar to the Smart Labels feature first unveiled a few years back. In case you feel a certain message was incorrectly assigned to a tab, you can drag and drop it into the correct tab, or right-click and select ‘Move to tab’.

The ‘+’ tab on the right will send you to the ‘Configure inbox’ menu, from where users can disable all tabs to simply revert to a more classic view, with all mail then showing in the primary tab.

The changes to Gmail’s Inbox will be rolling out over the next few weeks, though users on the desktop will be able to manually choose the new design (selecting ‘Configure inbox’ in Settings), soon.

The new version will be just another inbox type, like Classic or Priority Inbox, and users will be able to switch whenever they want.

Much of what the new Gmail accomplishes could be done with Gmail filters. But Google’s goal is to make email management easier for those who don’t usually bother with the knobs and dials that customize applications. Filters also don’t have an interface component, even though they can affect message presentation, says Information Week.

In a move that recognizes users’ repeated distaste for a switch-up, there is no forced march over to its clean, white shores: Google is leaving users the options of switching back to their preferred style, at least for the time being

The updated app for Android is expected soon. The iOS app will be available as soon as it is approved by Apple’s App Store, Google said, and the Web-based update will be rolled out over the next few weeks.

If you can’t wait for the Web update, the Settings menu behind your Gear icon will soon have an option to “Configure Inbox.” Choose “Default” and refresh the page to see the new look.

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