Google released a significant update to Gmail on November 7th. The update comes with a fresh new look, sleeker transitions, better search, and the ability to unsend. The app itself and search within messages should be a lot faster. Overall, the UI is totally transformed, bringing it in line with the Android look and feel. For an update nearly four years in the making, I’d rate this one “G-meh!”

I am looking for updates that make Google tools leaner and “learnier”–a highly technical term I just invented to mean intuitively intelligent.

I’m kind of obsessive about my inbox. I’m pretty efficient, but like many, I spend an inordinate amount of time in this “time-off-task” task. As a Google Apps for Education–curses!–G Suite for Education user, I’m there pretty much all day–email, shared Docs, calendar invites and updates. I am looking for updates that make Google tools leaner and “learnier”–a highly technical term I just invented to mean intuitively intelligent. I don’t this this update does it.

I should be excited, but I’m not, at least on my first pass through.

Here are four reasons why.


Reason #1: I like the swipe left and right function, but it should not be limited to one single function. Why not swipe left to archive, right to delete. Or toggle left to delete, right to archive. This can’t be hard for the gurus at Google, right?

Reason #2: As a G Suite for Education user, I know who my colleagues are, I don’t need avatars or identifying letters. Like everyone else I get email from countless colleagues and contacts outside the domain; even in these cases I don’t need the avatar. I’d rather have more lines per page than identifiers. To that end, why are there no ways to toggle among comfortable, compact and cozy in the Gmail app?

Reason #3: Should an updated Gmail app require a force touch to select multiple messages? I’ll grant that this was a two touch process before too, but it seems like two plus now.

Reason #4: The update has me deleting labels on day one, something I’ve never felt compelled to do. The way labels render plus the way I have them ordered makes it a long scroll to get to what I need. Incidentally, why can’t you move labels up and down the list Also, shouldn’t there be a way to collapse labels in the app as you can in the browser version.


Will I adapt? Yes. Might I grow to like the UI? Perhaps. Even if I can’t fully fall in love, will I deal, or just drop it? Probably.

We’re are you on the changes? What are you most excited about? What’s still missing? Where might the Gmail team take a step back? Vote and/or leave a reply below. 

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