back to article Google whips the sheet off new Gmail interface

You've got mail … and Google+ notifications, Android updates and group buying offers. That's not quite a line romcom writers can work into the title of 90 minutes of fluff starring Meg Ryan, but is the reality of a Gmail inbox design revealed by the Chocolate Factory today. The design seems to owe a lot to the interface of …


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  1. Shannon Jacobs

    Cosmetic garbage is useless against spam

    Are you tired of the arms race between the spammers and the email providers? Have you noticed that "Live and let spam" is fine with the spammers?

    How about an arms race among the major email providers to create weapons we can use to break the spammers' business models? Can you think of anything that would increase the value of email more than reducing the spam?

    I'm not saying you have to participate. You can be a free rider, for all I care, but I really want the tools to help disrupt ALL of the spammers' infrastructure and to pursue ALL of the spammers' accomplices. No, I'm not saying that they should give me direct access to the nuclear button. My hatred of spammers is such that mayhem would surely ensue, but wouldn't you feel better if you could at least help in the categorization, prioritization, and especially in the targeting?

    There are lots of victims to help, too. I'm not too worried about the corporations whose precious reputations are abused. I'm a little concerned about the fools who feed the spammers, though protecting fools from themselves is not too important. I'm much more concerned about the really innocent victims--like YOUR children or YOUR parents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cosmetic garbage is useless against spam

      It's not just spam though. There's plenty of legit sites that think sending you lots of email that you have to unsubscribe from is acceptable.

      One of the worst offenders in recent memory was the site The Code Project. I wanted to download a file on there and signed up, big mistake. Every flippin day they sent me some crap that I had absolutely no interest in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why are you getting so much spam?

        This is not meant to sound smug, it's a serious question. Why are you getting all that spam? I have 4 or 5 email addresses. My oldest one gets maybe 1 or 2 spam messages a day that go straight to my junk folder and can be safely ignored. 3 or 4 years ago it got maybe 10 times that. The other addresses get no unwaned messages - and I mean literally none.

        The thing is, I sign up to basically any website, forum, social network or shop that catches my eye without a second thought, but still I get no spam. I'm careful to always 'check' or 'un-check' the mail preference boxes as required, and if I do get an email from a legit site I just hit unsubscribe and that's the last I hear of it.

        Why am I not getting spam, but you're plagued with it? Is it just good/bad luck - once you get on a spammers list that's it? Or is spam filtering much improved, and I am getting spammed, but none is getting through?

        Just curious, as I genuinely thought that spam volumes had massively declined.

  2. ThomH

    They've reinvented the portal!

    Remember how one of the reasons to abandon Altavista/etc and start using Google was the minimal page design that helped to keep the information you're actually interested in more prominent? Google doesn't.

    1. frank ly
      Thumb Up

      Re: They've reinvented the portal!

      I remember it well :( At least they've stopped putting e-mails in the Priority Inbox, which meant I had to look in the Inbox, then the Priority Inbox to see if I had any new e-mails.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Craigness

      Re: They've reinvented the portal!

      Keeping the information you're interested in more prominent is exactly what they're doing here. Remember the days of Alta Vista when you had to scroll through a load of old items or mailing list emails before finding the one you want. Now you can archive the old stuff. And star that email to have it always to hand. Or you can search. Or you can let google identify important emails (which it does very well). But there is always the All Mail section if you want to go last-millennium, and you can turn off Priority Inbox. These tabs are just another way to help you see the information you want, and you don't have to use them.

    3. NB

      Re: They've reinvented the portal!

      Pepperidge Farm remembers...

    4. xperroni
      Paris Hilton

      Re: They've reinvented the portal!

      Remember how one of the reasons to abandon Altavista/etc and start using Google was the minimal page design that helped to keep the information you're actually interested in more prominent? Google doesn't.

      I bet they don't remember why everyone dropped the likes of Yahoo! Mail to hang with Gmail, either. The more Google "improves" Gmail, the more broken it feels...

      Alas, have you noticed how far to the right have Gmail's link on Google's top bar moved? Eerie sign, if Reader's history is anything to go by.

  3. kevin biswas

    I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

    When I last tried it it was still very, very broken.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

      I love it, and have never had any problems with it. Worth far more than the $0 I paid for it.

      1. kevin biswas

        Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

        Well, YMMV but when I tried it it left yellow spell-check highlighting in a sent mail and TOTALLY borked the formatting on a mail that was composed bit by bit on a couple of different computers (This borking was not visible in the sent items, only the recipients reply). Both these embarrassingly crapped up emails were to important clients where making a good impression was important. I have never has any similar problems with the classic compose. So I really hope it is fixed before we are forced to use it.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

          um.. don't use gmail for important clients?

          ...especially when you could use hotmail/outlook or yahoo instead? !!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

          If it's only visible in the response, is it perhaps because the other end used Outlook and that funked up the formatting? It's something I've seen happen many times.

          1. kevin biswas

            Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

            No, I forwarded it to myself in gmail and it was borked. But it looked fine in the sent items.Screwey.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

              Have you filed a bug report or do you just expect all software to be perfect all the time? I admit it's easy to get this expectation when you are used to Google services but alas they are all just human.


    2. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck ?

      You mean teh current "you can compose multiple messages at once in an annoying JS window" isn't enough for you?

      There are better alternatives but sometimes you are stuck with stuff.

    3. Craigness

      Re: I wonder when we will all be forced to suffer the New Compose clusterfuck?

      The Compose feature is broken? So that's why I never receive Gmail emails any more!

  4. jake Silver badge

    Shurley your spell checkeur all owed you to typeo ...

    "wiped more shit on the gmail interface"?

  5. Buzzword

    If You Have Gmail You Must Have This!

    Looks like these new features eliminate the need for that heavily-advertised insane $5-a-month email filtering service.

  6. paulc

    well some of those tabs will never be visited by me...

    I shall be very annoyed if I can't re-arrange the tab order to allow new tabs to push the "Social" and "Promotions" off the default view.

    1. DuncanL

      Re: well some of those tabs will never be visited by me...

      You can't re-arrange them but you can select which ones you want to use (including none, to keep the display the same as it currently is).

      And they're just a set of auto sorting "folders" with some default rules based on your mail usage - there's no social or advertising tie ins linked to them and nothing to do with Google Play.

  7. The Vociferous Time Waster


    Since I installed Mailbox on my jesusphone I don't think I have logged in to gmail on another device.

  8. El Andy

    Thankfully I've mostly avoided having to use the endless"improvements" to gmail, as I mostly get mail on my phone these days. Although given I occasionally do have to go via the web, maybe I should get round to migrating elsewhere. Anything with Google+ integration is something I'd rather not encourage.

    1. Craigness

      You don't have to sign up to google plus. If you don't sign up then the integration stuff won't do anything.

      1. El Andy

        You don't have to sign up for Google+ today but how long before they do it automatically based on your email contact list, for your "convenience". They already tried something similar by offering to give YouTube user's a better username while accidentaly forgetting to mention that changing it autoconverted a bunch of your information into a Google+ account you otherwise might never have known about.

        1. Craigness

          Do you know what a google+ account is? Why would you oppose having stuff integrated with it? Do you know what this integration is? How does having a google+ account affect any user who has chosen to use their real name on Youtube? They don't have to post, they don't have to read, they don't have to comment, they don't have to upload photos, they don't have to circle, they don't have to hang out, they don't have to +1, they don't have to install the app, they don't have to visit the website or use wallet or google play and they don't have to buy an android phone, google doesn't have any more information about them simply because they have a g+ account. If you don't do any of the things you don't have to do with a G+ account then what exactly would be integrated? It's just a different logon mechanism.

          If you don't want to use google stuff, don't use it. If you don't want google to know your name don't tell them. Commentards so often cannot understand how not to use things but for me it's easy. I don't have a reddit account, for example, and Yahoo doesn't know my name. Simple.

          Did you know I created a account for you? It's got your username in it and you don't have to use it. I'm going to integrate stuff with it against your wishes...

          1. El Andy

            The thing is, it's starts providing information to other people through Google+ that you may not have consented too. It goes down the road towards a point where people who you just happen to have in our email list, because you contacted them about something innocuous, suddenly start getting information on what YouTube videos you've been watching lately. Now you might not mind, but equally you just might.

            As I said, they already pulled this stunt recently by offering to let you get a better YouTube commenting name, whilst not mentioning anywhere that doing so signed you up for Google+ at the same time. It's not hard to imagine them doing similar with GMail, harvesting the contact list there to connect you to people (as mentioned by someone else, they already tried this once with Buzz) and suddenly sharing information about you with people you never wanted too. I don't know about you, but there are plenty of people I've contacted via email who I'd never in a million years want on my Facebook page, for example.

            If I wanted a Google+ account, I'd sign up for one. I'd choose who and what I shared things with as well. It's all well and good saying "Just don't use it", but if Google choose to start auto-populating it for you, merely as a consequence of using their other services, then suddenly you don't get that choice any more.

            1. Craigness

              I'm on Google plus and youtube; I made my favourites and likes private, and I never send out a "i watched this video" status. If you don't want to use stuff don't use it.

              They didn't harvest contact lists with buzz, they gave people the option to connect with people they already had in their contact lists, and gave people the option to make their connections public, as per facebook and twitter and linked in and everything else. I opted to do neither and therefore have not had to complain about privacy invasions. Other people opted in and still complain that they opted in.

          2. Obvious Robert

            "If you don't want to use google stuff, don't use it."

            I do want to use some Google stuff, but I don't want to use G+. I signed up for it right when it was starting off to see what it was all about and now I can't work out how to switch it off without losing the useful services like Gmail and Calendar.

            Lots of people are concerned that Google knows everything about them but I wouldn't worry about it. In my experience they don't actually know everything, they just have a collection of harvested data but don't really understand how it fits together or what to do with it. Regarding Google+, a prominent example involved it suggesting my ex-girlfriend as a potential G+ friend to my fiancee... oh how I laughed at that one. In my case their legendary profiling decided I was a 65+ singleton (I'm in my 30's) in the market for a bit of mature lady action, and started showing me adverts all over the internet for nothing but granny dating... and that's when I found out Chrome supported Adblock.

            Google aren't the omniscient evil gods we fear them to be, they're actually pretty incompetent at this stuff. When the advertisers finally discover just how useless their legendary data harvesting and profiling is, they're fucked :)

        2. Anonymous Coward

          "You don't have to sign up for Google+ today but how long before they do it automatically based on your email contact list, for your "convenience". "

          You forgot about Buzz then? Google's earlier, ill-conceived and pointless social network tool that automatically added anyone on Gmail to it, and stuck all your contacts on your Buzz profile so they were visible to everyone.

          1. Craigness

            Buzz only did that if you selected the option. I joined buzz on the first day, before all the fuss about privacy, I followed the instructions for setting it up, and my privacy settings were fine. Others chose to make everything public and whine about it...for the next few years.

  9. earth2la

    guess you didn't get the memo

    Ms. Ephron passed away last June.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Had my Gmail since 2005....

    ...when it was by invitation, no less. Looks like with all these "improvements" I'll be needing a new email provider in order to avoid all the portalitis / Google Minus "integration" features...

    I would go over to but I've tried that and it feels like being repeatedly having "you're stupid" shouted at you by Steven Sinofsky to me...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if this is from the team of Sparrow that google kindly gobbled up :(

  13. Flywheel

    The answer is

    MUTT. Or (Al)pine if you want. Gotta love that interface.

    1. h3

      Re: The answer is

      If people sent email as plain text as anyone with any reasonable amount of courtesy should then it might be good.

      I know you can use a text browser to convert them but it is just annoying.

      I don't like fighting constantly against stuff like this.

  14. Andrew Jones 2

    Sigh El Reg did you even bother to do the research?

    Social as it's name implies is NOT just emails from G+ but also Facebook, Twitter and forums (just like the smart label system currently in use)

    Updates - as it's name suggests is just that. Shopping receipts, travel reservations, flight details, dispatch emails, the sort of emails that you want to keep an eye on instead of them getting buried in your inbox. Where you got the idea that you would be notified about Android updates from - I don't know (what would be the point as this new GMail is coming to Android in a few weeks)

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      @Andrew Jones 2 Re. Updates

      "Where you got the idea that you would be notified about Android updates from - I don't know "

      Maybe because in the screenshot the Updates tab has "Google Play" as a less-emboldened subtitle. Looks very much like it's going to be telling me about updates to Android apps obtained from the Google Play store.

      1. Andrew Jones 2

        Re: @Andrew Jones 2 Re. Updates


        when you buy an app on Google Play you get emailed a receipt

        This is just a tabbed version of the existing smart labels - there is nothing new as such - just a new layout to make it faster to access your existing smart labels.

        Additionally you get to decide which tabs if any you want to have access to.

  15. davidp231

    And that... the reason I don't bother with web based email. IMAP/POP3 access is clearly the way forward.

    1. Craigness

      Re: And that...

      Yeah, it's awful when you get stuff for free which you don't have to use.

      1. h3

        Re: And that...

        That might be changed or taken away at a moments notice.

        gmail works really well from Googles Apps (Other than the interface which is deliberately opaque) and it also worked great over Exchange Activesync.

        It has always been deliberately gimped over imap.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Craigness - Re: And that...

        Trying to convince us you are naive ? Getting stuff for free it's not like you don't have to give something in exchange. Or something to be taken away from with a justification that you got some stuff for free.

        Sorry but you can't fake a low IQ with us.

        1. Craigness

          Re: @Craigness - And that...

          AC, having it removed seems to be what a lot of commentards want. Free means you don't have to pay for it. Do you need a lesson from a genius in how to know stuff is free? Viewing an advert doesn't make it not free. And they don't sell your data.

    2. joejack
      Thumb Up

      Re: And that...

      Yep. You can access gmail via IMAP, but Fastmail is far, far superior if you care about managing your email.

  16. DuncanL

    Available now

    Try turning it on...

    Go to the Gear menu in GMail, select Configure Inbox and hit Save.

    It seems to work pretty well - it's just a way of automatically categorising your mails - there's no magic linkage to Play, Plus or anything else. The Reg has come to conclusions nor borne out by the reality - it just means that the example image has had an email for Google Play and it's sorted into the Updates "bucket".

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Available now

      If they were going to leave it as opt in I probably wouldn't care. But they won't LMTFA. At some point they'll insist that they know better than I do how best to organize my email. THEY DON'T!

      1. Craigness

        Re: Available now

        They keep giving you options for how to organise your mail when all you want is "all mail". They gave you labels instead of LYTFA, gave you filters instead of LYTFA, gave you a search box when all you wanted was for them to LYTFA, and you don't have to use any of it but you do have to whine about it.

        Just type GA and you get the All Mail list.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Craigness - Re: Available now

          Chill out, my friend! You act and speak like a marketing and sales drone losing his patience. What would you like, to give our lives to Google as an eternal appreciation for their role in advancing the humanity ?

          1. Craigness

            Re: @Craigness - Available now

            You don't have to give praise, but when you complain about having free stuff you just sound like a loser.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Gmail webpage hasnt worked properly for me since the LAST big update

    Blue boxes with no text telling you what they are is the main bug bear - but then I have privacy software that Google doesnt like, so I suppose if I refuse to hand over my browsing habits, they feel justified in refusing to tell me what all those little blue boxes are for.

    Luckily I use ThunderBird to read all my mail, so I rarely have to visit the Gmail site directly.

  18. bazza Silver badge

    Web Apps Suck

    'Nuff said.

    Actually no, not enough said. Not all web apps are completely broken and rubbish. But none of them are as good to use as a decent native app for any platform, mobile or desktop. Writing a Web App because it's "Write once run anywhere" still seems ludicrously optimistic... Plugins may or may not help Web Apps work better, but using one sort of defeats the point doesn't it? And as for Google's NaCl, that's just a bad joke isn't it?

  19. Dave 62






  20. TheOldFellow

    the best thing about this..... you can turn it all off.

    Title says it all. Useless verbage. Don't waste your time G.

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