At Google I/O there was a session called "Structure in Android App Design," where they talked about various navigation techniques, including the new navigation drawer.

It's a cool talk; you'll learn a lot about the pro and cons of each navigation structure, but at about 23 minutes in, while they were talking about the new nav drawer design, they dropped this slide and completely blew my mind:



That is an entirely new Gmail design - a new design rocking the awesome new navigation drawer. Let's take a look at this versus the current Gmail interface:

2013-05-23_23-58-4262013-05-23 23.49.08

Ok, spot the differences! That's Leaked Gmail on the left and Current Gmail on the right.

First up is, of course, the navigation drawer. You can see the 3 line button in the top left (apparently called a "hamburger" by some Googlers) and the navigation drawer is currently open, which is covering (not pushing) most of the inbox. You can now easily switch between "Inbox" and "Priority Inbox;" in the current Gmail this requires a trip to the "All Labels" screen. The coolest part of this design is that you also now have top-level access to "All Labels," which is currently only accessible via a separate screen. The navigation bar will have to scroll, because this screenshot is missing core Gmail labels like Drafts, All Mail, Spam, and Trash.

It also looks like the bottom action bar is dead. If it was still around, you would see it in the bottom right, behind the navigation drawer, but the only thing there is more sweet vertical space for emails. The buttons that used to be there have found other places to call home: "Compose," "Search," and the overflow button are now in the top action bar, and the "All Labels" button isn't needed anymore, because everything is now in the navigation drawer. That only leaves "Refresh," which you could easily relegate to the overflow button, or pull-to-refresh, if Google wants to be really nice.

It's a shame we can't see more of the Inbox, but it looks like the stars are now much bigger. This screenshot has 24 hour time enabled, which is the cause of all the leading zeros on the timestamps. I don't see an easy way to switch accounts, but that could easily be added to the sidebar, which is what the freshly-redesigned Google Drive does.

I'm sure putting an I/O presentation together is a big rush, and this screenshot of the new Gmail accidentally ended up on there. The Googler giving the presentation, Jens Nagel, even accidentally included his @google.com email in the screenshot, which I have blurred out. (Dear Google, please be nice to him.)

Update: Why this is real

Some mockups are shown later in this talk, which has people questioning if this is real. So I'll give my reasoning:

  • The mockups weren't being shown at this point. Nothing is mentioned of Gmail being a mockup, and this slide is only used to generally talk about the navigation bar. Mockups are presented in sets, to talk about why they would or wouldn't chose that design. This "mockup" would have been completely wasted.
  • You wouldn't expose your personal information by having your real email address on a mockup.
  • If this was a mockup to demonstrate an alternative navigation format, you wouldn't arbitrarily change the size of the stars. You also wouldn't remove the bottom action bar.
  • Earlier in the talk, at around 12 minutes, they show a dogfood version of the Play Store (note the special icon). They just got sloppy with their screenshots.

This lines up nicely with pre-I/O rumors of Gmail redesign with a navigation bar. Which, if this actually comes out, would fix the only blemish on that rumor post.

So how awesome does this look? I can't wait to see the rest of this thing. We'll tell you all about it as soon as it comes out... any day now. Right, Google?

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • Kaushal

    Me too, especially the Tag button. But let's see, Google might have something even better :)

  • misterE33

    dang i do too! hopefully it doesn't go away. Matias, do not forsake us!

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    I'm still not a fan of the navigation drawer on the side - it looks too unpolished for my taste.

  • pepillo

    I would not be so sure that this is a real app screenshot. Later in the talk they show mockups of other google apps redesigned, and this might have been a similar asset that they preferred to show in an earlier part of the conference.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      "Later in the talk"

      Yep. Later.

      And what about the guy's email? Was that included on purpose, too?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      At Google I/O a few sessions were built with Android 4.3 having already launched, then quickly changed at the last minute. This is one change they decided not to revert or missed. I am with Ron on this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Emaw-Kennedy/504157652 Michael Emaw Kennedy

    I have a feeling that all the apps will be updated. Now that they have updated the design guidelines with the side bar. I wouldn't necessarily say that it will be completely redesigned though. Just small changes.

  • Angel Penabad

    I really like the new navigation drawer. Tapatalk Beta also updated with this feature, and now everything starts to make sense: before this drawer yo needed 2 taps to reach settings or another inbox/tab. Now it's just a swipe and tap, much faster and beautiful.

    In Gmail, it's a way to get closer to desktop UI, which is very appreciated. I always felt a bit lost in the android app because navigate between folders was different from desktop version.

  • Grammarian

    Who is your editor?! "let's look at this verse..."? Really?


    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Whoops, fixed, thanks.

    • Phil Oakley

      Just a typo...happens to everybody.

  • Justin Crowley

    Will they finally include a "select all" feature?

    • Justin Winker

      I'm still waiting for this in the Music app :(

  • Sean Lumly

    ... Your mind is blown way too easily, though I dig the enthusiasm... ;)

  • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

    I see you guys are following Matias' daily I/O videos.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Haha, yeah. Google I/O pumps out something like 200 hours of video in the span of 3 days. It's impossible to stay on top of it all.

      • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

        Oh definitely. I love that he's doing that.

  • Sean Lumly

    I still can't help but prefer the design aesthetic of the iPhone version of the Gmail app. Usability aside, the lighter, brighter colours, the increased spacing, etc, looks much more polished to me and still fits within the holo guidelines.

    • Spaniard85

      I'm with you. It looks gorgeous on my wife's iPhone. Gorgeous but tiny, lol. I have a Note 2. :-)

  • RitishOemraw

    So who else is guessing it will come around or with the release of 4.3?
    Didn't most android releases come with a Gmail update?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Right. That's when I would expect it.

    • PhineasJW


      4.3 isn't needed.

      Google's been updating all of their apps independent of the Android OS. This is great and removes one aspect of the "fragmentation" issue...

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        It's not necessary, but it is the pattern that has been established. I think this is usually done to show off a new feature of the platform through the GMail app. Think of it as a way of saying, "Look at GMail, this app does this new thing in the right way, everybody else should do this with their apps." That's sorta what happened with expandable notifications and notification controls.

  • S. Ali

    mockup = redesign?

  • GreatNews

    hope its coming sooner than later

  • Safwan Chowdhury

    it still doesnt look as nice as the IOS app :(

  • exa

    Hum.... the current Gmail app does the same on a hybrid rom while it's set on 600dpi

    • tony

      That's just the standard tablet interface. Google Talk and Google Hangouts did and do the same thing.

  • Niels Delporte

    I wish they'd bring this design to older versions of the OS as well. I'm still stuck on GB (and will be for a while due to the limitations of my device's hardware) and the app feels extremely outdated. Especially when I switch to my tablet or see an apk teardown here. It hurts just to use it.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    I don't see how it's redesigned... it's basically a new menu that is all. looks exactly the same in every other department.

  • Nicktrance

    They really need to update the gallery (e.g. add the ability to move things), especially the video player (it's almost unusable).

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.whitworth John Whitworth

    I hate how we can't swipe from the left edge to open the menu in some apps like Google+, which they just updated!

  • http://twitter.com/KharyTheCEO Cam Newton

    Still hideous compared to the iOS Gmail app

  • Crispin Swickard

    I would love to see them fold the regular email app into the Gmail app. Also to limit the amount of apps like the messaging issue. Especially since the standard email app you can't enable zoom..

  • niknetniko

    You do know Gmail for tablets (like Nexus 7) already have a sidebar?

  • Seth Merritt

    Not that this means anything, but I commented on Matias's post yesterday on the new drive app asking where the new gmail app was. He +1'd it. Kind of a big deal. #HOLO


  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    As the new sidebar is part of the Play Services API - which is backward compatible to Android 2.2 - there should be no reason it won't be released all the way back to Froyo - however the rich notifications might mean it will only be released for Jellybean. As for the idea that a new Gmail launches with each new version of Android - that's partially true - but usually the new Gmail (and Calendar) take advantage of new features implemented in the platform - however the whole point of I/O this year was to show that they can release new features to older Android platforms too - so I would expect that this trend will continue.

  • HebeGuess

    Ron. since you came out with this article sniffing android leaks through I/O, I'd like to ask do you have any plan covering on this session (goo.gl/V5Opc). Romain guy had reveals some magics which I would called it "Project Butter: Phase II". Android Team also acknowleging "why would project butter stop?" during fireside chat with android team.

  • http://twitter.com/karlovranjes Karlo

    I use PAndroid whit tablet UI no thanks Google

  • Shaques

    Is there a reason why I can attach videos and pictures in gmail but not docs or pdfs?

  • http://www.maverickcreative.ca/ Joshua Richards

    YESSSSSSSSSSS looks amazing.

  • ithehappy

    Thank you Google, but no. You just don't know how to make a good Gmail app for Android.
    Learn from Emoze, K9 and my current default and favourite Aqua Mail.
    Maybe in next 3 years....let's see.

  • IncCo

    I like it

  • http://thomashunsaker.com Thomas Hunsaker

    Also of note, they showed a redesigned mockup of what Google Drive "could" look like with a Navigation Drawer, that screenshot doesn't match up with what they actually released, which leads more credence to this GMail "mockup" being the real deal.

    • Angel Penabad

      Wow I can't wait to see that change happening. Right now drive app is getting more useful every update, but it's kind of a mess right now.

      • manlisten

        They added that in the most recent update.

  • disqus_kCPMN1BEYg

    If it gets leaked AP will be the first to get it so I'm not really waiting for the official release

  • TARDIS75

    That would make sense why it would look that way. GMail is finally taking over the look of Sparrow! Very smart! Can't wait for it to hit my iPhone!

  • TrimmZimm

    That dude seems to know exactly what is going on. WOw.


  • Michael DuFort

    For anyone questioning if this is real or not ... Simply open up the just updated Google docs android app. All Google Android apps will look like this in the coming months if not weeks.

  • kstagg

    Thinking that SMS integration with Hangouts (or more likely a Voice makeover since they wouldn't release a half - baked Hangouts at I/O), will be released at same time as Gmail facelift.