Leaked Screenshots Suggest Extensive Gmail Overhaul

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A decade after it was first launched, Gmail is getting a facelift, it seems

Screenshots of what looks to be a new version of Gmail, leaked by Geek.com, suggest that the free cloud-based email service is about to go through the most radical changes since it was launched in 2004.

The images show a simpler, cleaner design, hidden menus and several new features, including the ability to ‘snooze’ read emails, which will automatically return to the top of the inbox after a set period of time.

The leak hasn’t been aknowledged by Google.

Ten years on

When Google launched Gmail, most of the Internet users were still relying on client-side software (like Microsoft Outlook) to check their emails. Gmail attracted customers with simplified access and email management, while offering generous inbox sizes which meant they never had to delete any messages.

Over the years, the company gradually added new features, like encryption, voice search and the ability to send up to $10,000 in an email thanks to integration with Google Wallet.

There were also plenty of things Google got wrong: it was widely criticised for opening inboxes to private messages from Google+, and a recent lawsuit finally made it stop scanning email contents of its customers in the education sector.

Screen4

According to the leaked screenshots, the new design really does bring about big changes. It starts with giving more prominence to search as the main way of finding useful messages. The left sidebar has disappeared completely, replaced by a slide-out menu that looks like something straight out of Android

The menu for creating and editing emails is now sitting at the bottom right part of the screen, along with ‘bubbles’ that can store your unfinished messages or reminders. There’s also a new ‘hangouts’ button in the top right corner.

‘Starred’ emails – a convenient way to highlight  important messages – have been replaced by ‘pins’, and read emails can now be ‘snoozed’ – which means they will return to the top of the inbox after a set period of time.

Many observers have pointed out that overall, the new Gmail looks more like Google+ or Google Now than the grey spreadsheet we all know.

Google hasn’t officially commented on the images, and even if the leak did indeed originate from the company, all of the features could change before the release.

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