Gmail Redesign Is Nigh With Better Search, Cleaner UI

Google refreshed its Gmail application, cleaning up the inbox and making the app more elastic to fit different screen sizes. The app has better search and high-resolution themes.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Gmail redesign is ready for users who want to try it, the company said Nov. 1.

Unveiled in July as part of the company's effort to clean up its products user interfaces, Gmail offers an improved search option. Users may click the drop-down tab in the search box to see a new advanced search panel with more search options, including the ability to filter from any search.

The top menu bar has been stripped down to just a few, essential buttons such as refresh, views and other settings. The new Gmail also includes a stripped down conversation view. This includes profile pictures for contacts so users can easily see who said what in a conversation.

Spacing between elements, or the various buttons, links and tabs on the screen, is more flexible. For example, the screen appearance will change on the fly based on whether it's a 15-inch desktop display, a 12-inch netbook screen, or a tablet display, which range between 7 and 10 inches.

Users may also adjust the UI's density in the settings menu to provide the most comfortable look to their eyes. Comfortable, in fact, is one of the density options, along with cozy and compact.

Labels and chat contacts will be easily accessible at all times on the left-hand rail. It's also more customizable: you can resize the labels and chat areas if you want to see more, or hide the chat area entirely via the chat icon in the lower left. You can also use the arrow keys to navigate around the interface.

Finally, new high-resolution imagery comes from iStockphoto, though Google has updated some old favorites so that users' existing themes will be ported over to the new design.

While the changes are rolling out soon, Google said users can click the "switch" button in the bottom right of Gmail to try the new features.

Gmail joins Google Search, Maps, Docs, and Calendar as a handful of core Google search and messaging and collaboration products to be cleaned up.

The redesign will help the programs hew more closely to the new Google+ social network, which being threaded in varying degrees throughout Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Search and other Web services.

Gmail's overhaul comes one day after the company launched its revamped Reader RSS feed service. That refresh did not go over well with many users, including its ex-product manager, who called the new Reader a "disaster."