Gmail redesign goes live along with new Google Reader

The design team over in Mountain View must have been busy over the last few months; not only is there a brand spanking new Google Reader doing the rounds, Gmail has had a redesign as well.

Starting with the Big G's mail client and the redesign looks pretty minimal. But that's the idea you see. "We stripped out as much as possible so you can focus on communicating with your friends and colleagues," said Jason Cornwell, a Google user experience designer.

The Gmail page is now size customisable, meaning that if you're working on a big screen and only want Gmail in one corner the page will resize with your specific dimensions. There are also new density options so as you can dictate how much white space you want on the page.

Conversations have been streamlined and look much more smartphone or tablet-like and you'll also have access to profile pics should your contacts upload one.

If you're a fan of the themes, then there's good news here as well. Google has introduced a number of new HD flavoured backgrounds and designs. Finally, the search function has had some tweaking and it should be much easier to find that elusive mail that you're after.

The changes are rolling out gradually, but if you're too impatient to wait look out for a "Switch to the new look" link at the bottom-right of Gmail over the next few days.

Google has also applied the "less is more" feel to the new Google Reader which began rolling out on Monday.

The new look RSS tool also throws in some Google+ action too with the ability to +1 things. The old sharing function is no more however.

"Integrating with Google+ also helps us streamline Reader overall," said Alan Green, Google software engineer. "So starting today we'll be turning off friending, following, shared items and comments in favor of similar Google+ functionality.

"We hope you'll like the new Reader (and Google+) as much as we do, but we understand that some of you may not. Retiring Reader's sharing features wasn't a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas, and build an even better experience across all of Google."



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