Google Renovates Gmail

Google continued its makeover of its products, from Gmail to Google Calendar, offering its now-signature spartan and simple decor in an effort to "help strip out unnecessary clutter and make Gmail as beautiful as it is powerful."

That's an interesting thought, mainly because we've never thought of Google as beautiful, or turned to the Google homepage instead of a field of flowers or an ocean view. The new changes, which rely heavily on tri-color black, white and red, seem more functional and simple than anything approaching beauty. The big deal in Gmail is Google now has two new themes, Preview and  Preview (Dense), which "will eventually expand dynamically to accommodate different screen sizes and user preferences," Jason Cornwell, a user experience designer, wrote on the Official Gmail Blog.

Google Calendar's changes are mostly cosmetic and seem to be based on color -- lots of it, including in hot pink and moss green.

Through it all, the same phrases keep coming up: Focus, Elasticity and Effortlessness. So kudos for the marketing department for getting that message across loud and clear -- but we're still not sure what they mean (or that anyone should use the word "effortlessness" in a catchphrase.) What we do know is that the simple design will work well across both Web and mobile screens, and it's likely that this all has to do with Google+ integration.

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