23 February 2021
Google has started rolling out a new Gmail UI that will help improve users' efficiency and make it their new "home for work". It is about to be a year since the platform got dedicated tabs for Mail and Meet. The latest visual change adds two more tabs called Chat and Rooms. This new UI is available across all major platforms including the Gmail web version and Android/iOS applications.
The main aim behind the new UI design is to save Gmail users from the trouble of switching among different tabs. It brings all sections to a single place for quick switching. All four tabs are available in the bottom navigation bar within smartphone applications and on the left sidebar in the web version. The Meet tab is for video call purposes, Chat is for having individual or small group conversations, and Rooms is a Slack-like section for large groups and file transfer needs.
This visual change was available for Google's Enterprise customers for quite some time but the latest release brings it to free users as well. It is an early access feature and as a result, it is not enabled by default. If you wish to use all four tabs through the new interface, you will have to enable it manually.
On smartphone apps, you will need to visit Settings -> Your Personal Gmail account -> General -> Chat (Early Access) -> Try It. The steps for the web version are Settings -> All settings -> Chat and Meet -> Google Chat (Early Access) -> Save changes. It is worth noting that if you have multiple Gmail accounts, you will have to enable it manually for each of them.