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GoogleApps_Apr09_CWe get used to a certain look or layout of a program, even come to love it, then the developer goes and changes it, and we are left wondering what was wrong with the old look. This has recently happened with Gmail. Users were given the option to stick with the old layout, and keep things looking the same. A vast amount of users gladly took this option, but change is coming whether they like it or not.

Google recently announced some bad news for those who decided to opt-out of the new look: starting March 27, 2012 users will be migrated to the new look, whether they like it or not. For those who are about to move over, or are confused by Gmail’s new look, you are not alone – here’s some information on Gmail’s new look.

The Layout
When you log into your Gmail account for the first time after the changes have been implemented, you will notice the layout has changed slightly. Across the top of the window is a black bar with a number of different Google apps, and your account name on the top right. Gone is the sign out button. Well, that’s a lie, if you click on your account name, a drop-down window will open, with sign out button at the bottom.

When you log into Gmail, on the left you will notice your mail folders, e.g., Inbox, and Google chat below your mail folders. If you press and hold the grey bar between the two you can shrink or expand the two areas, depending on your preference. Your emails will be in the centre of the screen with new emails in white, and opened emails in gray. Google has actually stopped calling emails, “emails”, and now calls them conversations. The people who are involved in each conversation are listed above the subject line. You’ll often see a (#) beside the participants, this means that there are multiple emails in the conversation.

When you click on a conversation, it’ll open with a preview of the first message, and the latest message at the bottom. If there are more than five emails in the conversation, you’ll see a number of lines between the oldest and newest. These are the other emails that have come between the first and newest conversation, and if you click on the lines, the other emails will open.

The Toolbar
Above your emails you will notice a number of icons:

  • A blank square: This is the Select Options button. If you click on the similar looking box beside an email you will notice the email has been selected. You can press this button to get a drop-down menu, with options regarding the conversation you have selected, and tell Gmail what you want to do with the selected conversations.
  • A file with an arrow: This is the Archive button. If you have conversations that are junk or unimportant you can select them by clicking on the blank square beside each one, and then clicking this button. It will archive the emails, cleaning up your inbox, but not deleting the conversations, more file them away to be forgotten about, much like a real filing cabinet.
  • A stop sign with an !: This is the Report Spam button. If you think a conversation is spam, select it and press this button. You will be presented with a number of options including getting Gmail to try to unsubscribe you from the sender’s email list.
  • A trash can: This isn’t Oscar’s home on Sesame Street, it’s the Delete button. Select conversations you’d like to get rid of, and press the button.
  • A black folder: This button is Move To. Select conversations you’d like to move out of your inbox, and like a good friend, Google will help you move them.
  • A Tag: This is the Tag button. You can select conversations, press tag and mark them for followup, or other options. This is useful for organizing your conversation to-do-list.
  • The Cog: The button that has a cog in it is Settings. If you press it, a drop-down menu will open with options to change the layout. Play around with it and pick the one that suits you best. You can also access your account settings from here.

A New Search Box
At first glance, the search box, located above the icons, is your standard Google search bar, much the same as But if you click the arrow beside it, you’ll get a drop-down menu filled with advanced search options that will help you wade through the tons of emails we all get. If that’s not enough, there’s an option to create a filter based on the search results.

The new changes can take a while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll find that the new Gmail is quite useful and maybe even better looking. If you have any questions regarding Gmail or other Google apps please let us know, we are here to help.

Published on 9th April 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.


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