Google has announced (and begun to roll out) aesthetic changes to its email and calendar offerings, stripping back the design to give users a cleaner and more minimal look.
Starting with Gmail, Google has made available two new Themes via the settings menu, called Preview and Preview (Dense). The reason for two new themes is that the new interface will eventually expand dynamically to accommodate different screen sizes and user preferences, but until then you can pick the information density that you prefer. One of the most immediately obvious changes we spotted with the new-look design is that ads are now placed along the bottom of the screen in the landing pge rather than on a side panel – with the ads moving with you as you scroll down the page.
Google says it is “embarking on a series of interface updates to help strip out unnecessary clutter and make Gmail as beautiful as it is powerful.” The look is a lot cleaner and more clinical than the previous look which could certainly become very cluttered. Google is planning a number of other changes over the coming months and we can expect some updated themes, better suited to working in a dark environment, using a different colour palette, or including the illustrations you like to see around your inbox
Google Calendar has also been revamped with a similar “simple and clean” design, but the functionality of the Calendar remains the same. However a number of small changes have been made, including putting the Quick Add function under the down arrow next to the Create button. The reason behind the new look? Well it seems as if the explosion of mobile devices is one of the major factors: “The new design will soon allow you to seamlessly transition from your desktop computer to your mobile phone to your tablet, while keeping a consistent visual experience. We aim to bring you this flexibility without sacrificing style or usefulness.”
These changes follow a similarly Spartan-like makeover of Google’s home and search pages announced earlier this week – in what seems like an attempt to make all of Google's products consistent, across all platforms.