Google began rolling out its new look for Gmail Tuesday. According to an update on Gmail’s blog, it’s now available for everyone. For now, you can choose whether or not you want the new Gmail, but it’s likely to switch over for all eventually.

Here are nine things you should know about Gmail’s new features:

1. Resizing Options




Gmail users can now control the density of their inbox. Depending on your preference of white space, you choose manually between three sizes: comfortable, cozy or compact.

Click here to view this gallery.

Do the changes make navigating Gmail easier? We want to know your thoughts. Let us know whether you will be switching over or not in the comments.

More About: email, features, gmail, Google, Tech

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The new-look Gmail that Google accidentally told us about last week is now rolling out to all users.

The changes, officially announced in a blog post Tuesday, allow Gmail users much more control over the look of the service. You can drag sidebars around to your preferred size and width, choose from a wider selection of high-resolution background pictures, and decide whether you want lots of email on your screen or more white space between mails. (Your choice of email density is between “Comfortable,” “Cozy” and “Compact.”)

Heavy Gmail users will also be pleased to learn that there’s a new search function — that is, you can now access Advanced Search by clicking on the search bar. Conversations have been condensed, and profile pictures added.

These are more features than Google offered in its sneak peek of the new Gmail, which started in July. Here’s the video about the new features Google mistakenly made public last week:



For now, at least, the new features will be opt-in — and not all of us will be able to access them immediately. “If you like what you see, over the next few days you’ll be able to switch to the new look by clicking on Switch to the new look in the bottom-right of Gmail,” writes Google user experience designer Jason Cornwell.

So do you like what you see? Will you be switching? Or is Google messing around too much with a good thing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: gmail, Google, Top Stories, trending

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Using Google Cloud Print, Gmail users will soon be able to print documents from their iOS and Android devices.

Similar to Apple’s AirPrint and HP’s line of ePrint printers, Cloud Print is designed to help users print from multiple locations or devices without having to worry about setting up a printer or installing drivers.

Google Chrome gained Cloud Print support back in December. Right now, a computer running Windows is required for the initial setup; however, Google says that support for Mac and Linux is coming soon.

After connecting a printer to Google Cloud Print, users who access gmail.com from iOS or Android will be able to print messages or attachments directly from their device. Supported document types include *.PDF and *.DOC files.

The neat thing about Google Cloud Print is that you can send documents to a printer even if you are in another location or not directly connected to the local network. That means that if you want to print some files on your home printer but are at the office or in the car, you can still initialize the print job from your phone.

If your computer is online, the job will process through without your intervention. If the printer is unreachable, Google will add the item to your print queue and it will be printed as soon as the device comes back online.

On the Gmail blog, Google says that Google Cloud Print for mobile Gmail will be rolled out in U.S. English over the next few days.

We hope Google releases an API for Cloud Print so that third-party mobile apps and websites can add support for this cool service.

More About: AirPrint, android, cloud print, cloud printing, eprint, gmail, Google, Google Cloud Print, iOS

424-gmail-conversation

Even the most ardent Google basher has a GMail account. What’s not to like? It’s fast, free, offers several GB of storage, and has one of the best spam filters available. It’s great — even if you only use it for throw-away website registrations.

However, one of the more controversial features is “conversation view”. This groups related messages into threads and it’s been the only option since day 1. It’s a hotly-debated topic: the view works well, but takes a little mental re-configuration if you’re used to a traditional inbox such as (pre-2010) Outlook or other email clients.

According to Google’s blog:

We really hoped everyone would learn to love conversation view, but we came to realize that it’s just not right for some people.

Many people simply prefer a non-threaded inbox. If you’re in that group, you’ll be pleased to hear that Google has made conversation view optional. To change it:

  1. Click the “Settings” link at the top-right of the screen.
  2. On the General tab, select Conversation on or off (it’s the sixth option down).

GMail conversation view

(Note that the facility is being rolled out this week so you may have to wait another day or two before it appears. Business users should ensure “Enable pre-release features” is selected in the Google Apps control panel.)

It’s a welcome addition. I know several people who abandoned or struggle with GMail because conversation view is too different to their previous experiences. Automated threading has benefits — especially if you receive a lot of mail — but standard inboxes can be easier to understand and work well for many users.

But seriously Google, it’s taken 6 years implement this option! Better late than never, I suppose.

Do you love or hate threaded email views? Did you abandon GMail because of it? Does the new option encourage you retry the service?

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It’s been a busy week for Google’s GMail developers. They recently added free telephone voice calls and now they’ve introduced a new feature to save you from email overload.

A typical corporate user sends or receives an average of 110 messages per day and spends 8 hours per week dealing with their inbox. It’s a recognized cause of stress, can make people feel overwhelmed, and prevents them completing more important tasks. GMail’s new Priority Inbox could help you reduce the strain. It’s an experimental feature which is being rolled out to all users over the next few days. Look for a bright red “Priority Inbox” link at the top right of the page — you should see it soon.

Essentially, Priority Inbox is a junk mail filter in reverse. It recognizes important messages — such as those from your boss — and gives less priority to non-critical messages. Such as those from Bob in the Accounts who cc’s the whole company when the coffee machine’s empty.

As usual, Google has released a cheesy video to explain the concept:

Priority Inbox watches what you read and respond to. It learns over time and should become more efficient at sorting the critical from the trivial. The inbox is split into three sections — Important and unread, Starred and Everything else (you can configure them in GMail’s Settings):

GMail Priority Inbox

If the filter gets it wrong, you can mark a message as more or less important using the + and – buttons accordingly.

Google has tested Priority Inbox internally for 18 months. According to it’s own internal reports, employees now spend 13% less time reading irrelevant emails.

For more information, refer to The Priority Inbox page.

Will it save you from email overload?

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Do you have a GMail account (who doesn’t?) From today, you may be lucky enough to notice a new “Call Phone” option in your Chat box…

Google Voice

Unlike the existing GMail voice and video chat system, Call Phone allows you to call a standard land-line telephone — the recipient doesn’t need to be logged on or even have a PC. What’s more, calls to the US and Canada are totally free and international calling rates are very competitive (less than $0.02 per minute for the UK, France, Germany, China and Japan).

The Call Phone system uses the same browser plug-in as voice and video chat and it’s available for Windows XP+, Mac OS X 10.4+ and Linux.

Google has announced they’ll be rolling out the feature to US-based GMail users during the next few days. International users and those using Google Apps in their school or business won’t receive it just yet. However, I’m going to let you into a little secret — I’m in the UK and the feature has appeared in my account. It’s possibly because I have “English (US)” set as my default language and, although I’m charged for local UK numbers, calls I make to the US are free! I suspect it’s a technical loophole which Google will plug, but I’d be interested to hear if any other non-US residents have received the feature.

Call Phone looks good and, assuming call quality and low costs can be maintained, Skype has reason to be concerned.

Have you tried the Call Phone feature from your GMail account? How was your experience?