The Oracle

New year, new interface

Gmail releases updated interface with a wide array of new features.

Audra Grigus, reporter

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Beginning on Sept. 18, Gmail revealed a new and improved interface for users. With safety and productivity being the main influencers of this update, features such as confidential mode, email snoozing, nudging and an overall security redesign have been introduced.

ITS Agent, junior KT Cahow, had to become familiar with the new interface as a way of preparing themselves for any questions students or faculty may have about the update.

“Google chrome, same with Gmail, hadn’t changed any of its design functions for basically ten years,” Cahow said. “The big design changes are just to make it more fluid, more compact, things have more rounded edges from a design standpoint. It’s supposed to increase productivity.”

To become more productive, Google increased their security measures. Spam emails trying to obtain usernames, passwords and credit card numbers or any access to money are more likely to be blocked with the new update, which is focused largely around preventing phishing scams.

Their new detection system will be running safety checks on all emails and broadcast brightly colored warnings for any that are found to be suspicious.

Google is planning to include two-factor authentication into their new security system as well. This will require the recipients of emails to enter a passcode that they will receive through text in order to gain access to sensitive emails, should the sender choose. Two-factor authentication will not be enabled right away but will be coming soon.

In order to further the protection on those top-secret correspondences, confidential mode has also been added to the list of available security features. Users will have the opportunity to put an expiration date on sensitive emails or even cancel them completely.

Along with productivity and security, there are also multiple changes to the way emails look. If an email contains a document it now takes up about two times the space in the inbox to allow users to be able to directly click on documents without opening up the email.

While the redesign of Gmail brings features that are supposed to increase safety and productivity, not everyone at Hamline University is pleased with the aesthetic or layout of their email accounts.

“The emails are really irritating. Why are they all so big? I want all my emails to be the same size,” junior Aaron Buergi said.

While some are upset with the new look of their inbox, others are experiencing new technical troubles.

“It’s frustrating because I can’t log into any computer other than my laptop without needing a code from Google,” sophomore Myra Stauber said.

Whether or not these technical errors will continue is unclear. Even with the update experiencing some initial negative reviews, Cahow is confident that the upgrade will have benefits long-term.

“On the whole, Chrome going through updates will bring it into being a fresher browser. It already is the best for speed, but it is becoming more secure and adding more features. For Gmail, specifically, having a more well designed space that gets updated is a good thing. Bringing in little updates, I think, will help students to be more together, more on top and organized with their obligations,” Cahow said.

Users will have until Oct. 16 to utilize the option to opt out of the update by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner of their inbox. Soon after that date, all interfaces will be automatically transitioned to the new design.

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New year, new interface