We got an official early peek at it this summer, an accidentally leaked (or was it?) demo video less than two weeks ago, and today, official word from Google that the newly redesigned Gmail will begin rolling out shortly.
Among the highlights, there will be a simpler conversation view—it looks sort of like a text messaging thread—with pictures of your contacts “so it’s easier to keep track of who said what,” according to Google.
Notice that in the above conversation, Meredith Blackwell called shotgun in Peter’s car via e-mail. That’s not how shotgun works, Meredith. Is this your first time in a car? You have to be within LINE OF SIGHT to call shotgun.
Gmail will also get “elastic density” which is a fancy way of saying that if you have a narrow monitor, things will automatically rejigger themselves to fit without you having to resort to horizontal scrolling. I have my e-mail up on a vertically-oriented monitor with a paltry 1280×720 resolution all day, so I like this. (I keep my e-mail up on my worst monitor because I can’t stand e-mail.)
Also new to Gmail: “completely rebuilt” high-definition themes, a resizable left navigation panel, and an optional drop-down advanced search box for finding old messages based on an array of criteria.
If you fear change, you’ll be able to stave off these new features for at least a little while. For the rest of you, a “Switch to the new look” link in the bottom right-hand corner of Gmail will appear over the next few days. Click that, and you’ll be able to access the new features early.