I am definitely a Gmail power user. Not only do I use it for much of my personal email, but business communications too. Does it bother me that the search-giant scans the contents of my messages for advertising? Yes, a bit, but I realize there is no such thing as a free lunch.
What does really bother me, however, is how archaic Gmail looks nowadays. The appearance is boring and drab. To make matters worse, I know Google is capable of a beautiful redesign -- it is frustrating that the company just doesn't. Today, Gmail gets a little lipstick by way of new hi-res themes and new emojis.
"Themes can help you dress up your inbox, as well as distinguish between your home and work accounts, so they've been an important part of Gmail since they first appeared in 2008. Starting today there are hundreds more high-res options available (photographed by some fellow Googlers!). And of course, you can always upload your own. Once you've found the right photo, you can now use editing tools like blur, vignette, and text background to make your image and messages look great together", says Gaurav Vijay, Software Engineer, Google.
Vijay, using emoji, also says, "sometimes you just can't find the words to express how you’re feeling over email. But fret no more, because today’s Gmail update includes emoji for just about every occasion. Excited about this weekend’s barbecue? Finalize the menu, dress code and after-dinner plans with just a few characters:. Running a few minutes late? Let your friend know you’ll be there at . Whatever the situation, sending emoji is now a piece of ".
While I could be considered a borderline millennial, I recognize the value in emojis beyond a passing fad. The symbols can truly enhance communications and they are certainly here to stay. Heck, as people grow up with emojis, and we see the symbols becoming more and more accepted, dare I say it -- they could be embraced in the business world one day too.
If you aren't familiar with emojis, I highly recommend reading this story from the Wall Street Journal by Joanna Stern, but I digress.
The new themes are actually pretty nice, and Google is promising literally hundreds of new additions. I managed to find the cranberry theme seen above and it looks wonderful on my big wide monitor. I am still hoping for a full-fledged redesign, though.
What theme will you select? Tell me in the comments.