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Google is allegedly testing out some big UI changes for Gmail — the desktop browser-based version — and there’s nothing subtle or slight about Google’s modifications.

The goal, we presume, is twofold: To more closely unify Gmail (desktop) with proposed UI changes to Google’s mobile version of Gmail, and to make Gmail work friendlier with an expanded array of desktop sizes and resolutions without losing any functionality in the process.

Easy enough, right?

According to the report from, which we can only presume has fancy access to Google’s Gmail test, a brand-new menu system that flies in and out of the browser window replaces Google’s otherwise static sidebar of links — Inbox, Starred, Sent Mail, and all those.

Also gone: Google’s tabbed email system, which has now been transformed into a “grouped in the inbox” section that automatically sorts your email by topic: Travel, Purchases, Finance, Social, Updates, Forums, and Promos. It’s unclear if you can add to or modify these categories; we assumed they are locked.

Google Hangouts is integrated into the new Gmail interface; we believe that you need merely hit the chat-bubble-like icon in the design refresh’s upper-right corner in order to pop out a sidebar, similar to the aforementioned fly-out menu, that allows one to chit-chat and make video calls. A big “+” icon in Gmail’s lower-right corner presents a new pop-up menu for composing new messages and adding new reminders into Gmail.

A new “pinning” system, replacing Gmail’s older “Stars” system, will allow users to select important messages that they’d like to otherwise stick to the top of their Gmail inbox. A sorting button at the top of the Inbox will allow users to sort their messages and pull these pinned items to the top or, if they prefer, they can revert back to the more traditional chronological style of message display.

“There’s no expected release date for any of these features, or even a guarantee that Google will implement them in the way we see them in these images, but after spending a few minutes in this interface it is clear that Google is eager to shake things up in Gmail. With any luck most of these features will make the cut and we’ll see an all new Gmail any day now,” writes Geek’s Russell Holly.

For more, watch PCMag Live in the video below, which discusses the new Gmail look.


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