Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Google confirms Gmail's pending makeover

In a video deleted from YouTube, then reposted, a Gmail user experience designer explains some of the changes users can expect.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read
Gmail's new look is designed to be cleaner and more intuitive. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Google is about to give your Gmail inbox a makeover.

A YouTube video leaked on to the Web (subsequently deleted but since reposted) shows off the new interface for the Web giant's e-mail service. Jason Cornwell, a user experience designer for Gmail, walks viewers through the major changes ahead.

A Google representative confirmed the video's authenticity but declined to provide further details.

"Oops, you weren't supposed to see that," Google representative Andrea Freund told CNET. "Stay tuned, we'll be sharing more info on Gmail's new look soon."

The new look is designed to be cleaner, simpler, and more intuitive, he said. One of the biggest changes is that the Gmail window will automatically adapt to whatever size the user chooses.

Gmail is adding user's profile pictures "to make chats "feel more like a real conversation."

Conversations have been redesigned to "feel more like a real conversation," he said, noting that user profile pictures have been added next to their comments, similar to how many instant messaging and chat applications work.

Google is making the size of the label and chat areas on the left more flexible, he said. "Even if you do nothing, Gmail adapts to you," he said. Gmail has also overhauled search to make it more customizable.

The new Gmail will include hig-resolution themes that users can add to their window. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Google has also updated Gmail themes for user's windows with high-resolution images such as sunsets, grass, and stones.

The changes, which Google gave us a sneak peek of in June, will be rolled out incrementally over the next few months "to allow plenty of time to understand and incorporate your feedback into the evolving design," Cornwell said.

In addition to the Gmail changes coming soon, Google will be introducing a brand-new design for its Reader app that integrates Google+ social features.