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More cosmetic delights for Gmail: themes

Google lets people customize the Gmail's utilitarian appearance. If for no other reason, I'll use themes to rid myself of the ugly Gmail logo.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland

Google says it aims Gmail at the technological elite, knowing that the information overload problems they have today will be the problems mainstream users have tomorrow. But apparently the company isn't above appealing to those who are willing to judge a book by its cover as well as its content.

On Wednesday, Google launched themes for Gmail, a feature that lets people customize the appearance of the Webmail application with a variety of new looks. Google is gradually rolling out the new feature to Gmail members "over the next couple of days," said Gmail team member Annie Chen.

It's something of a departure for a site that prides itself on its utilitarian nature--even the addition of graphical smileys to Gmail can be justified as improving a message's emotional nuance. But given Google's move toward the mainstream, it's smart. People like to personalize their frequently-used computing tools.

Perhaps more interesting from a brand perspective, Google is even willing to give up the Gmail logo in some of the skins. That suits me fine--I find the logo an eye-trippingly ugly hodgepodge of the Google G, a graphical envelope for the "m", and three sans-serif letters for "ail."

Now showing: Gmail themes.
Now showing: Gmail themes. Google