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Ex-Gmail designer has simplified it because Google never would

The web interface for the Gmail web app is nothing if not cluttered, with folders and contacts and other Google-based apps filling the page. However, if you want to get back to the basics and simply focus just on the emails you’re sending and receiving, an ex-Googler has the solution.

With the Simplify extension for the Chrome browser, former Gmail lead designer Michael Leggett has stripped back the experience to create a much cleaner interface altogether. Leggett, who also co-founded the dearly departed Google Inbox app, has removed the Gmail logo, as well as all of those folders and functions you never really use.

Even the menu bars are hidden away and the compose button is dropped to the bottom right. And there’s white space. Lots and lots of it.

It’s proving to be a hit with Gmail users with 15,000 downloads already at the time of writing. You can download the extension for Chrome at It’s safe to use too. There are no ad trackers, and no ads at all. Leggett isn’t going to share your data with third-parties either.

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“You should always be super careful what extensions or apps you use with your email,” Leggett writes on the download page. “Simplify is mostly some CSS plus a little Javascript to apply the CSS. There are no trackers. No data is sent or shared. No ads ever. Promise. And all the code can be inspected on Github.”

As for the ex-Googler, the road doesn’t end here. He’s going to continue updating the Simplify extension to bring more fixes to the Gmail interface soon.

“It’s been fun, really fun, making something, being able to serve something directly to people,” Leggett told Fast Company. “To say, ‘I wish it did this,’ and then it does that, it’s fantastic. It’s so satisfying.”

Is Gmail too cluttered? Or fine just the way it is? Have you taken Simplify for a spin? Share your first impressions with us @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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