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Google whips the sheet off new Gmail interface

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You've got mail … and Google+ notifications, Android updates and group buying offers.

That's not quite a line romcom writers can work into the title of 90 minutes of fluff starring Meg Ryan, but is the reality of a Gmail inbox design revealed by the Chocolate Factory today.

The design seems to owe a lot to the interface of professional-grade social media apps like HootSuite or TweetDeck, both of which group different types of messages into their own columns. Gmail now does the same, offering the chance to set up five tabs each dedicated to one type of communication.

The screen shots of the web interface emitted by the ad giant show four tabs, one each for email (which earns the label “Primary”, another for Google+ updates and a third for “Promotions” from Google offers. A fourth tab seems to offer a link to one's collection of Android apps, complete with notifications if any need updating.

The new Gmail inbox interface

The new Gmail interface

Gmail's mobile apps get the same treatment, but of course with a different look.

Google's saying the new design will allow users to escape the crushing pressure of Mount Email, by allowing finer control over where messages land. Shunting a mail into one tab won't mean it disappears from view forever: starring a message will ensure it also appears in the Primary tab.

It's hard to know if this an improvement on using Filters and tags, because the web version of the new interface “will become available within the next few weeks”, says the announcement-as-blog-post. ®

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