It was rumored that at Google I/O, there would be an announcement for a new Gmail app for Android. Unfortunately, Google had no such announcement in store for us. But they did sneak in a screenshot of the new Gmail upp during their session “Structure in Android App Design.” How kind of them! Looking about 23 minutes in, it shows an example of the navigation drawer, using Gmail as a screenshot.
As you can tell, the bottom bar is completely gone, with three of its five buttons now residing at the top (compose, search, and the action overflow button). The refresh button is absent, and the “all labels” button is now defunct, because its function is now in the navigation drawer. Opening this drawer provides similar function to pressing the account name in the old app, showing all your labels. But the full list is no longer a button press away; it’s just available.
Now to be fair, it’s possible that this is a mockup. However, it’s an extremely convincing one. It includes more function than the old app, and even includes a Google employee’s @google.com email address. If it was a mockup, we doubt it’d use that address. Plus, even the stars in the background of the drawer are bigger, which is a detail unlikely to make it into a mockup.
We think it looks great. Unlike some of Google’s efforts, it simplifies the user interface without hurting usability. It’s a great design evolution, even if it isn’t a full redesign. Hopefully it’s legit and we’ll see it very soon, because Google’s direction with their apps has been amazing for the last few months. Continue on, Google! What do you guys think of this Gmail app?