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Upcoming Gmail redesign turns it into a one-stop productivity suite

It looks like big changes are coming to Gmail soon. Twitter user Tahin Rahman posted leaked slides (first spotted by 9to5Google) detailing a merger between Gmail, Google Docs, Google Chat, and Google Meet that looks to be coming to the Web and mobile soon. Google’s “Cloud Next 2020” conference kicked off yesterday and will be ongoing for the next three weeks, and we’ve heard rumors in the past detailing this exact thing, so the slides appear to have just gotten leaked early.

The goal of all this looks to be turning Gmail into a one-stop-shop productivity site, where you can do Slack-style room-based chat or single chats, make video calls, edit documents, and send emails. The desktop site is getting extra controls in the top header and sidebar, while the main panel—which normally shows the inbox or a message—looks like it can be swapped out for other content, like a Google Doc. Meet video calls can be full-screened or float around in a picture-in-picture-style window. Don’t forget, this is all in addition to the right-side panel that was introduced in the 2018 redesign, which also lets you open Google Calendar, Keep, and Tasks inside Gmail. With this design, it’s like having every Google productivity app—Gmail, Chat, Meet, Calendar, Keep, and Tasks—crammed into a single page that makes you wonder why it’s even called “Gmail” anymore.

Gmail has had a side-by-side two-panel view for a while, showing an Outlook-style inbox on the left and a message on the right. With this redesign, it looks like there’s more of a focus on the two-panel view. The “Chats” page uses this two-panel view by default, and you can show “Chat,” “Files,” or “Tasks” in the left panel, with a document or something else living in the right panel. Google appears to be taking the layout of Gmail and using it for all sorts of other functionality.

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