Gmail's new redesign is a lot more than just really really grey—it's pared down, functionally superior, and will probably spark a lot of shocked whining. But don't worry—this is actually a better version. Here's why.

The New Gmail looks like less than before—but it's just because the older version was, by comparison, super busy. It's less colorful. There are fewer lines and boxes. There's a lot of... grey. But get over the new face. Soon, you'll love it—it's clean, soft, and friendly. But there are immediate benefits.

The new search is super smart—instead of having to learn and enter custom strings to filter our certain subjects or attachments, it's all dropped down from the search bar itself. And if you find yourself searching this way often, you can turn a query into a filter with a click.

Email threads themselves are supremely legible, looking, as Google notes, a lot more IM-like than an actual chain of emails. That's a great thing. Embedded profile pictures are a cute touch.

You can adjust your "information density"—how close stuff on Gmail is packed together—to fit your eyeball preference. This seems minor, but makes it easier to read your email throughout the day, sans headache.

Sidebar action, like chat and labels, are adjustable—meaning you can make one dominate the other if you so please.

This will all take some getting used to, sure, but unlike Facebook's many arbitrary redesigns, I think you'll take to this one quickly, and for good reason. You should have the option to switch any day now. [Gmail Blog]


You can keep up with Sam Biddle, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.