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Ask HN: Anyone from Google here? The new Gmail UI is painful
329 points by lenova 75 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 273 comments
Looks like Google is rolling out the new Gmail UI to users, and removing the option to revert back to Classic UI.

The new UI is painful to look at, to be honest. Anyone from Google here want to mention to the Gmail team that the new UI is going to chase long-term users like myself off the platform?




I don't mind the look that much, but it's painfully slow. When an application gains a animated splash screen I know that it's time has come. I'm using a Chromebook, so in a way a Google blessed device and it's annoyingly slow. I'm switching to basic HTML view. If it will disappear I will get off gmail for good.


Painfully slow, that's how I describe it too. Right now I'm on a remote location, where internet is delivered by antennas, bandwidth is not much of a problem but latency is high. I've got used to it for most sites, but not with Gmail, Gmail is an exception, it makes me doubt if I lost connection or not, so I usually open HN to test it and 99% of the time it's Gmail's fault not my connection's. I prefer to use Inbox since it loads twice as fast, too bad Google is shooting it down soon.


I have a 2015 MBP with 16GB of RAM and a core i5. The experience using Firefox with the new Gmail UI with this laptop is nothing but sluggish. I have to switch back to the old UI. I am not sure what I would do after Google takes away the old UI. What the hell is going on at Google?


> What the hell is going on at Google?

Iterations are going on. There is a school of thought that believes any kind of movement is progress. May it movement into good or bad direction. Thats why companys regulary rehaul their apps, the design and corperate identity. It always end with some people becoming unhappy, but hopefully more people being happy.


Change for change’s sake. I feel like F/OSS has a potential advantage here in being able to take the time to build durable, long-lived, stable software.

The web-everything world we live in right now has led to a cambrian explosion in new UI metaphors and visual design. I can only hope at some point we all wake up and decide that GNUMail running on GNU Hurd has gotten really stable, and that maybe we should all just re-adopt open protocols and native apps.


Their culture seems to be based on rotating new product managers in every 2-3 years. It's logical that a new manger will want to make their mark and prove they "did something".


Firefox has severe performance issues on high dpi displays on macOS. It’s gotten better in the latest nightlies but still an issue. As an unfortunate (for your eyes) workaround you can do Get Info on Firefox.app and enable low resolution compatibility mode, then restart Firefox.


Agreed. It is extremely slow, esp. on older computers to the point of being unusable. Another app reinvents the wheel and becomes useless.


Yeah my Commodore has issues with Gmail as well.


Hey that's pretty funny, but I'm on a 2014 Thinkpad with an i7, and it's slow and stuttery for me as well.


Thanks for confirmation, I'm on DSL so wasn't sure if it was just my super slow connection.

Also, nice coincidence that those multiple ask hackernews questions about alternatives to gmail popping up before this release last week.


it's especially bad on Firefox. With that, and the fact that Google is killing Inbox, it feels like time to look for alternatives.


Sure, but where? There are not that much email providers that will live forever and won't change your UX and have mobile apps, and... and...


I’ve been using Zoho’s workplace for over a year now, no complaints. I use Thunderbird on Arch/Windows 10, Airmail on OSX, and Outlook on iOS.

I just got it for email hosting at $3/mo, but they provide a host of other tools aimed towards businesses.


Get a domain from Gandi. $15/year and includes email service. You can either use the email directly, or forward it somewhere else so you can keep using the same email address forever even if you change providers.


Wow, didn't know that. Seems like a pretty good deal considering they are known as one of the better registrars. I will keep it in mind in case I have to look for alternative of either name.com or mailbox.org.

Mailbox.org as of now seems to be good except that they have started to either reply to emails quite late or sometimes simply ignore it[0] and the general lack of non-German language pages across their portal [1].

[0] Maybe because they have officially stopped anything but community/forum support for paying customers in €1 and €2.5 per month plans -https://mailbox.org/en/fees-and-conditions/

[1] https://help.mailbox.org/servicedesk/customer/user/login?des... Yes, one can guess or use Google translate but there's no translated page for this.


This is no different than just using Gmail. Eventually yet another service is gone and you have to adjust your workflow to another email app.


I have no idea how you can compare Gmail to Thunderbird + your own domain + any decently sized email provider. It's absolutely trivial to move domains and email providers and using a client like Thunderbird means your experience remains consistent (and performant) over time.


First, if you use your own mail clients rather than the vendor's interface, you don't need to change apps when you change email providers.

Second, even if you do need to change apps, you don't need to change addresses if you have your own domain.


Well, if you don't want to switch providers, you can just use Thunderbird or your client of choice to access your inbox with a UI that you can trust won't change drastically.


fastmail.com - I used gmail since the good old days when I bought an invite on ebay. Yesterday, I switched to fastmail with my own domain. I'm not looking back.


> fastmail

You are aware they're an Australian company that will be forced to provide Oz government access to your account?


How is that relevant to UI performance or stability?


It's indirectly relevant, because apart from UX issues, especially here on HN, I believe that people should also be aware of security and privacy issues.

I wrote the comment especially in the light of people tripping across parent's recommendation. (There are lots of other threads here on HN indicating how people wish to migrate from gmail to something else, due to other Google/Alphabet Inc issues.)

"Where requests for access are issued legally, we comply." [0]

[0] https://fastmail.blog/2018/09/10/access-and-assistance-bill/


Nearly every service provider complies with legally issued requests. The ones that don't are either lying to you or fly by night operations that I wouldn't trust my business with.


Posteo works quite nice and they are very privacy-focussed, e.g. they release yearly transparency reports about requests from authorities.

https://posteo.de/en https://posteo.de/en/site/transparency_report


Mailspring is nice.


[flagged]


Hey op, I found the googler ;)


I must have a super computer because it is blazing fast for me after an initial 1-2s load time.


Hmm. I haven't perceived any slow down. Especially not like others here are saying. Gmail still seems pretty quick to me.


Are you using a computer from the last 4 years and sitting one mile away from where the app was created? Conditions aren't the same everywhere, and you can look to see how much memory it's using, which is a lot, and it's unconcerned with reliability and redundancy in communication with the server.


It's fast for me too, apart from the one to two second load time for opening an email, inbox, filter, spam boxes etc.


What kind of connection do you have? Because I live in a rural area, have slow internet connection and the only site I’m having difficulties navigating is Gmail.

Also, the new UI is a complete UX disaster.


100% agree, infact I now use it as an example to our CTO who is absolutely deadset on actively spending time on replacing our inhouse expert UI frontends (currently written in native UIs, blazing fast etc) with web frontends. Yes they can be effective + fast, but telling a room of native devs to convert everything to web will end badly if not given the proper support.


That splash screen is pretty noisy if you have a touch of synesthesia.


It's the final straw for me. I mean, for me Gmail was an important tool for daily business. I choose this tool for certain reasons, but now that most of them are gone, why stick to it? I'm migrating my accounts right now and it's actually fun.

One thing I still don't understand is why they wouldn't let people to use the old interface. Come on, it's just the UI, why force your taste on everyone?


This seems to be the case for most Google services. I use Google DoubleClick, AdSense, and Analytics, and they seem to get slower, and more clunky with every update. I was using DoubleClick yesterday, and I was waiting about 10 seconds for every page to load. Then I searched for help on a topic and I was sent to the Google product forums, which nearly offered an equally poor experience. The frustration reminded me of my years with dial-up, even though it's 20 years in the future, and I have an 80 Mb/s internet connection. And of course the most basic features don't always work correctly with Google services now, such as being able to open a link in a new window, or being able to navigate without the back button breaking in some way.

Without question, Google services are the worst I currently use in my daily life. I would honestly be embarrassed to have my name attached to many of their products.


To me it is annoying slow to open gmail, but the navigation is mostly very fast.


Same. I hope keeping the previous design as an option won't be removed.


I describe it as too slow too. I wonder if they tested it before pushing it live to the world.


Countries, areas or users with slow internet connections should be given the option to use the classic UI, which in my case was much faster.

I guess the way Google works is: let’s ship something quickly(1) and then slowly(2) improve it.

(1) quickly: 2 years

(2) slowly: 4 years


[flagged]


Please leave HN. Oh wait, you were just banned on your other account so you hopped on this one.


I dont have any issues. Lighting fast. Maybe they put you in a test bucket.


Google web UX has gotten horrific.

I used to visit Google News multiple times per day. Then the UX went to hell there too. Each iteration became worse. After the latest changes, it became so unbearably hideous and clunky that I couldn't stand it anymore. I got mad every time I loaded the site. But years of keyboard memory still had me typing in the URL constantly, getting mad every time it loaded up. I finally black holed it in /etc/hosts to break the habit.

Gmail is in a similar state now. The new UI is hideous and clunky. And on the engineering side, it takes multiple seconds to load up. I thought Googlers were supposed to be known for their engineering competence?

Calendar? Bleh. It's still in a tolerable state, but visually the previous release was easier to work with.

Bring back contrast. Bring back visual dividers. Stop with the clown buttons like the mega "Compose"... these are tools we use for years and we had our first-run experiences over a decade ago.

Fire whoever is driving your god awful UX on web.


What's worse, every other web shop will be copying this yet another Google UX "innovation" in short order. I'd say Google is in no smart part responsible for the website bloat and general degradation of UX, just by setting example.


Google is famous for producing terrible, unusable UIs. Google Wave, Analytics, Gmail, Notes, Drive, etc.

The lack of consistency and common sense is unbelievable.

The only reason why Android has a user-friendly UI is because Google copied the design from Apple in 2007.


> Fire whoever is driving your god awful UX on web.

I have the feeling that UX specialists are actually the problem. When you employ people to work on UX and design, well, they will work on it, even if there is nothing to do. So you get periodic redesigns that improve nothing but justify the existence of a bunch of people whose purpose in life is to propose UX changes.


Interesting point. But could they solve the issue?


Fire 80% of the frontend engineers and save a buck?


Not to mention Maps forces the god-awful "3D" satellite view on you all the time now. It makes investigating forested areas an exercise in frustration. I can't see any details through the mess of origami trees.


> Bring back contrast. Bring back visual dividers.

The "random content boxes and buttons floating in a sea of pure white" seems to be the latest awful trend in web design. I get that borders and shadows are out of style, but they are necessary for visually grouping things together.


UX Pro here. Google pays senior UX folks an average $160,000 they have "degrees" from third rate Unis like Stanford and Cal Poly tech. How dumb can they be? Do you think they will ever make any money?


Skipping the "UX Pro" creds, I trust that the rest of your post is correct: Google has well-paid UX engineers from the best places.

That's precisely what I find scary about those UX changes: they to run counter-current of everything I value in UX (clean and compact vs. bloated and spread out).


UX will eventually become fully personalized to the user's preference rather than the latest fashion vaguely branded to the site owner. If they could figure out how to personalize the UX as well as they personalize ads...


Bad websites don’t imply dumb UX people, more likely bad incentives and objectives.

The new GMail seems like a more functional “new Reddit”. It achieves a certain look and was probably metric driven, but didn’t really address what users care about.

As a casual GMail user, I like it. But it would drive me crazy if I had to work with it all day with my work mail volume.


I wouldn’t call Stanford third rate for UX. That being said, I suspect there are too many lazy, entitled, people at Google.


In don't mind the way it looks, I can live with that. But it's sooo slow. Much slower that previous interface. It loads slow and it works slow. Switching between inbox and another folder use to be instantaneous, now I actually have to wait. Opening messages, deleting, everything is slow.

And it looks like they removed the option to turn Undo off, so now I have to wait 5 seconds to my message to actually be sent.

I'm so used to Google products being fast and feeling almost like a desktop application. This new interface feels like a web app from 2000's. Makes me want to go back to using Thunderbird for mail.


You cant keep tons of developers to make simple websites. Got to make things complex for job security for all levels.


I'm currently using Inbox which is fast and clutterless. It will go away in a few months and I have to use a worst Gmail than I switched from.


For me (I'm in Italy) the best part was the request: " would you like to switch now or in two weeks?". I use the same with my kids: "would you like one portion of broccoli or two portions?". This approach gives the perception of being able to choose.


Patronizing dialogues like these just underscore the disdain Google shows for its users.

Treat users like adults; respect them. If you (UI designer) think you know better: you don't, you're just cocky. If you can't think of another way to get users to accept your new design: it's probably because it sucks, and you shouldn't have made something no-one asked for in the first place.

(Wait, are we talking about GMail, or Windows 10?)


Exactly. And without the standard x in the corner to just dismiss it. I don't want to update now or in 1 week (my options currently). If you are going to force me to do something, then just do it already and don't play these games.


I kept just ignoring the option. That is apparently not an option, though.


It also fragments the discussion. If they did it all at once, people would rebel.


I was hoping they would use this feedback to roll back the change. No luck though...


"Make him an offer he can't refuse"


I think we have come a full circle.

I remember a time when search engines, web based emails and other such things were so painfully slow and cluttered. Then there was this upstart with a funny name and single box to type in your search term. I switched because the air was fresh there.

There used to be a lot of noise about why don't they use that hot new eye candy, much like we have the same question asked about HN. Eventually they won.

On the lookout for the next plot of fresh air.


I remember discussing with people about how significant some of Google's changes would be to their overall bandwidth and server needs. They used to periodically try tweak the design of their already fairly minimal landing page and shave several kilobytes off it. Back in those days even that small change would have been significant.

These days they just don't seem to care any more.


I have one browser tab that hasn't been refreshed since before this travesty was dropped. I'm going to try to keep that one going as long as possible...

The unnecessary animations irk me. I'm clocking 5-10 seconds to load and render my inbox, on a quad-core i7 with oodles of RAM and a fat network pipe. Whereas the basic view loads in 700 ms...


By the time the new UI has loaded in and stopped churning, I'm up to 225 requests, pulling down over 5mb. Most of these seem to be tiny pngs for button icons... Why aren't these spritesheeted?

Basic view is 9 requests for 24 kb...


Wasn't http2 supposed to solve this?


5mb!? Wth!


Save all of the assets that are loaded? I suspect that if you published your asset bundle, others would figure out the greasemonkey script to let you just keep that UI until they change their APIs. :)


Lucky you! Don't turn off the computer!


I would assume that a huge majority of the load time is fetching data from Google's servers - not a CPU or memory intensive operation


In case of basic HTML - yes. In case of new update - it's pretty CPU intensive (and GPU too, at least on my laptop's Haswell iGPU with hidpi screen).


Usually that’s <120ms. JavaScript is typically the most intensive op.


The new Gmail UI handles attachments differently: when you receive an email with an attachment, a summary of the attachment gets put in underneath the title of the email.

The problem with this is that this is done dynamically on load, and there's a delay. So you can be scrolling through old emails, and then suddenly where everything is on the screen changes because new content finished loading in the middle of what you were looking at.

Plus it makes the height of emails inconsistent, which is significantly harder to parse visually.

It's kind of a small thing, but it honestly should not have passed UI review processes at all. Don't fucking load new content in the middle of what people are interacting with. It's 101 level stuff here.

Edit: apparently there's a setting for "Default", "Comfortable", or "Compact", and that email account was on "Default" but should've been on "Compact", which is way better.


"The creator of Gmail, Paul Buchheit, had a rule: every interaction should be faster than 100ms. Why? Because 100ms is the threshold where interactions feel instantaneous"

Took this from a company's website [0] who is trying to reinvent an email client. I have to agree, the new Gmail experience is definitely not something its original creator would be very proud of!

[0] https://superhuman.com


I do consulting work and am regularly given an account on the company's email system. More recently they're using GMail underneath, so now I've apparently got a dozen accounts on GMail.

And GMail, bless it, when I login through the company's system clocks me through to a "Choose which account" system. My reaction is to open a new tab and login again, and it usually takes me straight through to the actual email without repeating the request for credentials.

The whole thing feels clunky, slow, and confused underneath. I don't much care about the look, that comes and goes, fashions change, but the experience as a whole has become painful.


Firefox's "container tabs" feature is a blessing for these kinds of situations.


Agreed so much, don't Google engineers have this same issue switching between work and personal e-mail or is Gmail not used internally?


Yes. It was broken for the ten years I worked there.


I use multiple Gmail accounts, but keep them in different Chrome profiles.

If you don't want to do that (e.g. because you want all your email tabs in the same window), you can just use the account switcher on the top right, or just change the 0 in the URL to a 1 or 2 or whatever.


Dogfooding doesn't work in large corporations.


Care to elaborate?


It's an idiomatic term. It means to use the thing you produce yourself. So when, in the case of Gmail, it is slow and painful to use for yourself, you will fix it.


I think the question wasn't "what is dogfooding" but rather "why do you say dogfooding doesn't work at large cos?"


Xoogler here, but I guarantee:

1) This conversation (and complaints) already happened, repeatedly and in-depth, months ago on various internal lists

2) The response - the Decision is made, you're change averse/not a representative user

3) Whichever PMs/leads/designers involved had an OKR to do Something, so Something had to be done


I do not miss those days. "You're change averse" was the most common accusation made against anyone who disagreed with changes. Change for the sake of change is rarely a good starting point but that never mattered. The web teams would come up with new and shiny way to do things and everyone would have to jump through hoops to get their properties updated. I'll never forget when PDB was replaced with P. I couldn't make heads or tails out of it and neither could most engineers I knew but hey, at least it was different.


I fully understand this regarding the UI. But the new interface is much slower. I remember stories from years back when Google was beating everyone else in the search and webmail space that speed was one of the crucial components of their success. Have they lowered their standards or they just feel like they're too big to care?


> you're change averse

It's funny that that's used like it's a negative thing.

No-one wants their tools to change out from under them. Shuffling stuff around for no reason subverts learned skill in using a tool, decreasing its usefulness. And the only purpose of a tool is to be useful.

The fact that Google makeovers are that – makeovers – rather than incremental enhancements, tells me that they don't really have a purpose beyond looking good, or allowing some internal rearchitecting that is incompatible with the old design. If the changes are really productivity enhancements, why save them up to roll out as a distracting redesign?


My biggest complaint is that everything takes longer. Loading the page, searching, etc. Everything feels slower.


Disable javascript and switch to basic html version. Personally basic html is the only reason I still tolerate gmail.


I tried to do that. It is faster, but the font choice and color choice is awful. If you have a lot of e-mail, it's so hard to discern threads and read subjects.

I feel like being forced to choose between two bad versions of GMail.


Could this be fixed for you with userstyles? It's not a proper solution, but basic HTML should be amendable to some quick quality-of-life styling.


There are no tabs in basic HTML view. That pretty much makes it unusable to me.


Get Thunderbird (or any other standalone email app). Extremely traditional UI, and better responsiveness due to no frill JS and no tracking.

Bonus, even read your emails offline!

<s>Innovation!</s>


I've been using Thunderbird on desktops and laptops, and K9 mail on Android, for years. Works fine. All you need is an IMAP server. Mine is hosted by Sonic and comes with my DSL service.


I really wish I could recommend K9 to anyone, but the search functionality is beyond broken. (I used to use it for FastMail because their own app loads oxymoronically slowly, but I just couldn't deal with the broken search functionality.) Have you found a way to work around this?


Unless you work for a company that disables POP/IMAP, for allegedly security reasons.


On Debian, you can just go to "Online Accounts" and add a Google Account, then your Google Mail will appear in Evolution Mail. Not sure what protocol is behind it, but it works when IMAP doesn't. Bonus: Evolution Mail comes with PGP support built in.


Is that better than Mail for Mac? My only need is reliable syncing and fast update, which Mac's mail is ok at, but needs variable amount of time for refresh, and if I need to verify my email, I mostly just open Gmail web.


I have never used a Mac for personal use, so I can't compare.

It does have per-account adjustable syncing periods, and you can click a big ol' button to refresh immediately.


Opera 12 for me solely for the mail client.

(They did spin off Opera Mail as a separate app, but I see no point in it, since it's just Opera 12 with the browser part disabled).


I recommend "The Bat!".

It's a bit clunky, but it's the best for serious people.


I've been using TheBat! around 2000-2003, back in dial-up days. It wasn't free back then (Opera wasn't either), and isn't free now.

It was/is great, but I didn't find a compelling reason for myself to shell some bucks over their way vs. using Opera Mail or Thunderbird. What are the killer features for you?


there are single(!) player games now that advertise that you can play them without internet connection, as a feature.


And sort by sender.


And search, in a way in which you can trust the search actually covered all your e-mails.


Actually search is the worst feature of Thunderbird in my opinion and I use Thunderbird for years and think it's great otherwise. Search constantly doesn't find something even if I use the keyword thay was in the email (verified using Inbox) or poorly sorts them (relevance algorithm is really weak) or displays result threads in inconsistent manner (many emails are duplicated etc.)


I hope they're not removing the revert option for Classic UI :(

Having an API unable to support two clients (Classic and New) would be embarassing from an engineering POV.

And from an UX POV, it really lacks empathy (or realism) to assume that the same exact UI will be useful/pleasant to literally 1 billion users. There are all kind of reasons why a given person might prefer UI a to b (a being older having nothing to do).

As you reach more humans, you have to embrace diversity. The views from a handful of hipster designers in SF shouldn't irreversibly impact how the rest of the world interacts with their computers.


> it really lacks empathy (or realism) to assume that the same exact UI will be useful/pleasant to literally 1 billion users

You nailed it, but large private sector companies like Google (or Apple) have no genuine feedback loops: they do not care, because (1) vocal dissenters will never represent more than a rounding error of the user base, and because (2) there are no obvious exit options.

It's Fordism ("you can have it any colour, as long as it's black"), only with 21st century tech.


"Classic UI" is itself a misnomer of course.

They ditched the original – and best – UI years ago. Each iteration has dropped visual cues and made it harder for the eye to distinguish elements from each other. GMail has just been relegated to spam duty for me since then.

Basic HTML mode at least still has a decent UI.


I don't have revert option anymore.


Same, I reverted to the old UI a month ago or so but yesterday I was forced back to the new UI with no option to revert again.


Reload and quickly click html for the classic version.


Thank you!


I seem to still have it given I use G Suite.


Same, have it for the G Suite account but not for the private account.


Here's how I had been using the old Gmail UI or HTML view for several years now. Simply login to your Gmail account. You should see a URL similar to https://mail.google.com/mail/mu/... in your browser address bar, just simply change the mu to h and hit enter. You will be taken to the old UI or html view.


I don't have "mu", only "u" and changing it to "h" only gives me the old html interface. I can do the same in the settings.

I had the option to switch back to "classic" a couple of days back, but now it's gone.


Changing mu to h works totally fine for me. You can even change from mu to x but I think x is for mobile only. Just to clear any confussion, I hope the classic interface you are talking about is same as the basic html view. You can switch between standard view and basic html view from the buttom of the page. There are links there. But here's a link from Google so try this: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/h/1pq68r75kzvdr/?v%3Dlui

Make sure you are logged in before clicking on the link above. Let me know if I can still help.


> I hope the classic interface you are talking about is same as the basic html view

No. There's are 3 interfaces: html, previous UI and new UI forced on users now. New UI apparently contains some features from Inbox product, and is much slower. You could opt out to use the old UI (dubbed Classic by Gmail) until yesterday. Now I can only choose between new UI and html.


At the risk of saying something unpopular, I like the new Gmail. I liked the previous Gmail too, so maybe I'm not the best judge.

It is slightly slower, but I like the look and enjoy working in it.

While I dream of doing it, I think it would be hard to PM something as popular as Gmail. Once you reach a nine figure user count, any change you make will be met with millions of unhappy people...


People are always unhappy with new UIs (just look at what happens when Apple tries to change anything) and hacker news seems to be pretty negative towards all of the big tech companies (often deserved but sometimes not) so it's not always the best barometer for these changes.


Those are excellent points.


I liked previous Gmail versions. I could see why people may dislike them, but they were fine for me and worked well (especially after setting up a dark theme and compact view density). Now it's so unbearably slow and ugly that I switched to HTML view and consider it an improvement.


That really stinks - I don't work for Google but I'm still sorry that's happening to you.

I'm not using the most powerful machine (i7-8550U + 8gb of RAM) and I'm running Chrome 69 on Windows 10. It's a little slower than the previous version, but nothing I'd call unbearable. In fact if I'm being really honest, I'm not even sure if it is slower, or if I'm just saying that it is to fit in. :)


Please refrain from self judging what your response may be or may not be on HN. Just state what you think.

I urge you to read FAQ on HN etiquette.


I have read the FAQ. The first item is to be civil and avoid snark. The third item is to assume good faith.

You've responded to the worst possible interpretation of what I said. I can assure you that I wasn't prejudging how people would respond to me because frankly, when I worry about those things, my writing goes to hell. Instead, I was trying to be friendly and poke fun of myself.


I am specifically referring to comments such as "I am going to get downvoted but I believe in X". Instead, just say "I believe in X".


Okay, but I didn't say that and I just explained that I didn't mean that. Once again, please be civil and assume good faith.


Google has a lot of overpaid managers who need to do something to justify high salaries. So I imagine they sit down and then stare at Gmail, a great product that we all like, and then decide to make a lot of unnecessary changes that will make us stop using it. About a year ago I registered a domain to use for e-mail. Even though I currently use Google Suite because I like current (classic) Gmail version, if they really persist and discontinue classic version I will switch to another e-mail service.


Agreed. Why can't software devs just complete a project and then call it good? Perpetual change is unnecessary and a waste of effort.


It's worse than 'new Reddit', and I need to look at it 100x more often every day.


https://old.reddit.com - once they shut it down my reddit addiction will be cured.


I fear the next step after shutting down the old reddit option would be to severely cripple the API used by third-party apps to drive people to use their apps.

When that happens, I will likely give up on reddit entirely.


Then you're not redditing right.


As others have said, performance is painful. I've also had problems where emails would just not display after clicking on them. It would spin and say 'loading'. I like the look of it but speed is part of a design and needs to be addressed.


It feels like google web-devs/disigners should start looking at the native apps to get an idea of what the user expectations for the web-app are going to be. If we look at microsoft web outlook, it is gradually becoming like its native counterpart (which is the best desktop email client on my opinion). They didn't have a good web expertise like google so it was too sluggish at the begning but it's getting better. If webassemply becomes a thing, MS will have a good chance to bring its dominance to the field of web apps.

What's interesting is that I remember how devs and designers were frustrated when they were asked to build a web version of their desktop apps finding it too hard to fit into new constrains. Now, I wont be surprised if web-devs/designers feel frustrated too trying to build a desktop app with a mental model of HTML documents and page reloads which is what the new gmail UX looks like to me (the old one was not better, I just got used to it).

If it was up to me, I would focus only on performance and accessibility. I would cut all animations and use much simpler (bare text if needed) ways to present information. Today when you can be fast on web, no need to compensate lack of it with too much content and animations.


I've reverted back to using the Basic HTML view. But, I'm also working to migrate away from Gmail. Sad to see the demise of Google, but it seems all good things must come to an end.


Ugg, everything was doing great with "flat design", I knew that wasn't going to last, designers have to justify their position every few years after all. I don't use Chrome often but I notices the bubbly round crap was making a come back. I wouldn't care about the gmail change, because I don't use the web interface often, but this company-wide redesign likely means everyone else will be following suit. Mozilla, if you're listening, please don't, you were always a cycle behind anyway, just stick with what you've got.


> I knew that wasn't going to last, designers have to justify their position every few years after all

Yes, I think no UI-designer job should exist full time in one product. At some time the design should be done. If not, you either screwed up or the design is already great and from now on you will screw up.

Windows 8/10 is another example. From Windows 7 it just went downhill.


Amen. What really bugs me is it loads instantly in Chrome but in Firefox is does it's loading animation and refreshes once or twice usually taking a few seconds just to load the page.


Yup, it's infuriating how long it takes to access my inbox with the new interface (just counted 6 seconds to a usable interface on my work machine), mostly due to the awful new splash screen. On top of that they added a bunch of padding, which reduces the information density (taking a page from Reddit's book).

Gmail has been my last reservation on dropping Google entirely, and I think this is the last straw for me.


I just tested it in both Firefox and Chrome on an older Win7 system and my subjective judgement of the loading time was that it was essentially identical in each browser. Certainly the animation is shown in each.


Is maybe the new Chrome login thing related to this. I'm starting to feel like new GMail and the Chrome auto-login thing are somehow connected. Maybe the whole GMail thing only tested with logged-in Chrome so they never noticed the problem.


Interesting. I usually use Chrome and I get the loading animation every time. The old one had an animation too, but this one takes 2-3x longer.


Out of curiosity, I got gmail over to the basic HTML view.

Hard refresh of the page has it returning all my emails within 680ms at which point I can click on stuff.

For some reason there's a bit of a delay on the favicon, but even then that's all loaded and usable in < 2 seconds.

With the new UI I can sort of do something around the 15 second mark, it becomes completely useable by 30 seconds, but there's still a bunch of stuff happening over the network. It finally got quiet around the 1 1/2 minute mark.

This is absolutely nuts.


Maybe ten years ago, Gmail was good enough that the webmail view was the best email client, and for the first time in my life I stopped using IMAP.

Now, I don’t really care about Gmail’s UI because I use IMAP. Apple Mail improved their UI just enough that Gmail’s regressions took it below the line. But I don’t really care, because Gmail’s spam filtering is still much better than Fastmail, which I know from having tried switching for a couple years.


Two things: First, I myself miss the Q shortcut in Google Calendar, gone after the redesign.

Second, I know for a fact that there are plenty of Google employees here. It is funny to see the radio silence. Somewhere within Google there is an email thread generating the HR compliant reply for this thread.


Googler here - I refrain from commenting on any Google related threads. I have my own pro-Google biases having seen internally on how the company works and how decisions get made here. And most of the people on HN have their own biases against Google without having that context. I don't see myself being part of any constructive discussion related to Google here so I like to not waste my time. Also, I don't want to say anything silly and get that taken out of context.

On GMail - I like the update. I find it better than the earlier UI. I use it work, I use it at home and I haven't noticed any slowness myself even when I am not on the Google network.


Overall I think Google did a good job here. I really like Material Design when it's done right (Android 9 was a design win as far as I'm concerned).

I agree about the silence on the Calendar side. At present, Gmail has a thought-out theme function but Calendar has all the themeing stripped out. Gmail and Calendar should be consistent. I hope this is rectified at some point.


I remember earlier Google switched Doubleclick for Publishers to UI made with Dart and material design. It is awful and looks like a product of some low quality outsourcing company. It is slow to load (needs to load about 10 Mb to start), it works very slowly, all animations are laggy.

I checked with Developer Tools, didnt't see anything resembling Dart in Gmail (and it is not as slow as DFP). But there is 2.8 Mb JS file and 1.3 Mb CSS file (loaded 3 times, don't know why). I am not sure if this is really necessary to display a list of 20 newest emails. Also, a hangouts widget loads additional 600 kb of JS and 600 Kb of CSS.


Can someone on the new UI tell me how to get the calendar widget in the sidebar on the left? (below "Inbox", "Sent", "More", etc)

I'm using an item from "Labs":

> Google Calendar gadget > by Ben K and Garry B

But Labs is gone in the new UI and this gadget isn't available under any of the new areas.


I had to switch to using the basic HTML version, as the performance with the new UI is terrible, no matter how much power the machine has


Soon after Google made their Pacman doodle, we've had an article tallying up people-hours world-wide wasted by that little game. The article was in jest (AFAIR), but I wonder, how many people-hours worldwide this UI update will be wasting on a daily basis, by the virtue of being even slower than the last update.


As much as the comments here are mostly leaning towards one side keep in mind that 99% of the users probably don't care and I'm sure they have the data to back this up.


Where would they get that data? Users are given no way to voice negative feedback.

If most users are like most non-techies I know, I assure you, they do care. There's just nothing they can do, beyond telling first couple people they encounter that they hate the new UI, and carrying on with their lives. Because what are they going to do? Move 10 years of their e-mail history to Microsoft and IM/phone 500 people about their new address?

--

This is, by the way, my fully generic response to "the market shows users like web bloat". No, they don't. They just don't have a choice but to accept it.


> Where would they get that data?

The gmail product forums, monitoring sites like reddit, HN, and Twitter, focus groups and UX studies, internal dogfooders and trusted external testers, metrics from experimental or holdback groups, etc.


I sincerely hope they do that. Given the evidence though, I also doubt it, or at least I feel the feedback is quickly dismissed under the "every UI change breeds discontent" rule of thumb.


Ahh the famous Google Products Forum, where all the complaints and bugs are promptly fixed by real human beings!


They could A/B test and show some users a form to give their feedback.


Why is this an acceptable excuse? I feel like a lot of the reason modern technology is in such a sorry state is due to this attitude.


There's always resistance to new changes, but if we never change, we can't innovate.

- just a user


I'm usually an early adopter type. There are many new cool things that make me excited even if they're unstable and on bleeding edge. There are also new unusable things that make me want to go back. When I consider something to fit into the second group, that doesn't mean I'm opposed to changes and innovation.


I see no innovation in the new design. What's the opposite of innovate? Outnovate?


If you haven't read about it, new features include: snooze, reminders, suggested response, offline gmail


I've been using GMail since 2004 and I'm not having any trouble, even in Firefox.


Same. I’m actually at google but I’m not going to tell the gmail team about this post because

1. I don’t agree with it, and

2. Gmail team is already painfully aware that any given change will be unappealing to a subset of users.

3. They are probably already here, taking note, considering.

Unfortunately we can’t all have a custom UI written exactly to our specifications. Gmail team has to try to do what they think is best for most users. For the rest, there are various gmail UI tweak extensions for Chrome and Firefox, or you can write your own userscript or use an IMAP client.


> Unfortunately we can’t all have a custom UI written exactly to our specifications.

This isn't what most people are asking for though, they just want Google to not make the UX worse. Increasing the page load time and making a bunch of styling changes for no appreciable benefit makes the app worse, not better. If a lot of people are wishing the dev team had just done nothing, it's probably a sign that the changes aren't warranted.


> Gmail team has to try to do what they think is best for most users.

I would love if Gmail team went forward and shared a bit about how they get data on what's best for most users. This would probably alleviate many complaints, by letting complainers (like me) know how dissimilar they are to majority of users.

> For the rest, there are various gmail UI tweak extensions for Chrome and Firefox,

Given the state of browser extension market, this is inviting users to selfpwn.

> or you can write your own userscript

Isn't this against the TOS? Even if it isn't, this solves the problem only for couple frustrated users with enough knowledge and too much time on their hands.

> or use an IMAP client.

Fortunately, yes, for now. I hope Google doesn't decide to abandon IMAP.


There is absolutely, 100%, without qualification, no circumstance whatsoever where a regression is good for most users.

The fact that you think so makes it hard to take anything else you've said seriously.


Do you mean that this change is a regression for most users? In which case do you have data to back that up?

Or do you mean that a change which regresses for a small number of users while improving for most is bad? In which case this is not correct and I'm happy to elaborate on why.


IMHO, you can never win the UI war, because habits.

If they improve the speed and make it work as fast as the previous version did, I think most users will learn to live with the new UI.


At which time they'll randomly change it again.


Outlook.com seem to have been making UI changes that haven't irked people.


Because no one uses it.


Is it really that bad...? It looks about the same as the old with a material coat of paint.


The hover effects are atrocious.


This is definitely the one that bugs me most. So distracting! All the hovered rows jump out now, where before they just changed gray ever so slightly.

This is a place where the metaphors of material design subtract more value than they add.


What do you use mouse for? Best feature of GMail is keyboard navigation.


When I realized I can't go back to normal UI, I immediatly downloaded Thunderbird and went back to e-mail clients. I won't bother with the new gmail. Fonts look horrible, it is slower and in the end there is less information density.


The new font weights have such a stark contrast, it's hard to look at. It's enough that I'm finally starting to piece together the parts to leave gsuite for my personal domains.


Did they take away the ability to use the old UI? I still have a menu item under settings that says "Go back to classic Gmail"


That menu item will vanish soon. Several users have reported it elsewhere in this thread (it has vanished for me too).


It is now gone for me too.


I almost never write comments here but I feel obliged to chime in: the new UI is sooooo incredibly slow and I'm scratching my head to figure out why it's gotten the green light.


Also, the new (now a few months old) Google finance UI as well.

The charts are almost always broken, clicking on 1M will not show today's levels.

And earlier I could just put a /FB or /GOOG in the URL to get to that page instantly, now the URL is some 100s of long char string (sorry, I am from C/C++ world so dont know the exact terms for these)

Then there is the news events map to the chart, used to be cool to see what caused the dip/bump, but not there now..

I have since moved to Yahoo finance, but that has too much ads and autoplay videos.


My problem is that often I click to read email and nothing happens. I need to refresh the whole page and click the email again. Happens in Chrome on both Mac and Linux.


I doubt anyone in power to change this would comment in here and do something about it. Even if, the sunk costs fallacy guarantees they will stick with the new UI.


The new UX is beautiful, well-thought-out, consistent, and sporadically hangs for tens of seconds at a stretch on my 2017 16gb i7 MBP in both Chrome and Firefox.

My theory is that network interruptions during pageload cause the balance of these problems, as one of the environments I'm most frequently in has low-quality wifi. Haven't had time to do profiling or even so much as crack Devtools on the problem, but I casually imagine that they are dynamically loading a lot of libs, so a broken pipe or a dropped packet or two would certainly immobilize the UI until TCP/HTTP had gone through the dance of either resending the packets in question, or teardown/setup.

That said, the previous edition of Gmail -- possibly because it was lighter weight -- rarely misbehaved this way.

I believe we are seeing with gmail some of the current limits of the SPA designs. So it's not Google's fault, per se, and we should expect more and more sites to begin to evince the same drawbacks as the SPA model ineluctably takes over. (It really is superior.)

Eventually, problems in SPA will be resolved by improvements at the backend, on the wire, or by way of improvements to webpack, or the browsers themselves.


So basically, "wait for Moore's law to catch up", web edition?

Your network connection might be aggravating the issue, as quick look at the Network tab show it issues a metric crapton of small requests (on my machine lasting for more than a minute after opening the page). But I do have a decent enough pipe, and still get ridiculous load time + performance problems. And so seem other people commenting here about performance.

The problems of today's SPAs are mostly self-inflicted.


You probably shouldn't be using Gmail anyway, so consider it a feature. :-)


It is very slow, especially on any lighter devices like small laptops. All the JS seems to be rather heavy for no real new features or benefits.


Painfully slow. If you load the interface, it becomes "mostly" functional, but if you start trying to say, search your email:

1. The page will reset and reload, or,

2. Your keys will trigger a keyboard shortcut and then truly, good god damn luck because who knows how many pages of emails you'll archive with no way to undo (the toast that appears for 3 seconds is NOT sufficient, especially if you keep typing.)

Hangouts, YouTube, and Gmail are embarrassing to use. And that's not even discussing what happens in Firefox where everything is somehow nearly twice as slow.

edit: Oh, let me say, it's bad enough that if I'm on a laptop where I don't want to keep the bloated Gmail tab around in mem/cpu, I have reverted back to using the Web 1.0 / mobile-esque version of Gmail. (Which has it's own problems, attachments are broken, etc).

Just a mess. I am actively trying to move away from Google. Unfortunately, I can't find anything that is half-as-good as Google Photos.


This comment and a few in this thread refer to the concept of "pain".

If it is causing you actual (physical / emotional / psychological / spiritual) pain - why continue to inflict that on yourself? You are in charge of whether or not you choose to use Google, nobody else.

However, I doubt that pain is the clearest or most precise way to express what is happening here. My guess is that a better word would be "frustrated" or "angry" - emotional reactions that are potentially uncomfortable (so, OK, a form of pain), depending on one's capacities and experience. Those reactions are completely and totally valid.

I find it so funny how something so relatively trivial and ephemeral is turned into such a personal affront. Nobody is trying to inflict pain on you with their user interface desicions.


I like the new look actually (except for confusing icons), but it's just slow and unreliable, can't recall needing to refresh so many times before because loading got stuck. That all on a top end i9 with 100MBit/s Internet connection in a city that has a large Google datacenter.


yes i hate it, its horrible, its too distracting from the content, too cluttered, please get back the old UI


Horrible SPA loading page, I don't know what the obsession is with SPA pages they are just annoying


The compatibility of web UIs with the touch events accidentally resulted with clean, stable, simple UIs. Apparently Google branched out the web and all these mouse over effects give me epilepsy. Mouse over menu on table/list row? I thought we went through this already.


Do the IMAP or SMTP/POP3 options still work in GMail? If so, maybe it's time for a proxy WebMail UI hosted on a tiny VPS that simply acts as the mail client for you, whilst gmail still does all the heavy lifting of spam filtering and trusted sending.


Standard protocols still work. Why not just use a proper email client instead of a VPS hosted web UI?


Well I'm guessing people like the concept of a Web UI, on the basis they are using gmail in the first place.

I'm a self hosted MS Exchange + Outlook user, so I'm being purely devils advocate here.


Has anyone liked a UI redesign of anything anywhere?


I actually really liked it when Office 2007 introduced the ribbon, in particular when I understood the rationale behind it (which was covered at MIX08[0]).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl9kD693ie4


I'm enjoying it. All good from this end. I'm happy they keep reinvesting in it.


Back button is broken until page is fully loaded. Once it is loaded, clicking back returns back to inbox (while reading a mail). However if the page is not fully loaded (loading circle is spinning) it goes back to previous browser page.


Totally agree. I like the old gmail UI. It's more cleaner and easier to navigate.

The new gmail UI is so cluttered. Full of unnecessary stuff. Hope they bring back the option to revert back to classic UI. Mine is missing already.


I'm seriously considering switching away from gmail for two reasons:

1. Privacy concerns

2. The new and painfully slow Gmail UI

I think I finally realized that there are no free things in live and you usually have to sacrifice something. Here it's privacy.


Click the little "settings" gear and "Send Feedback"


Yeah it's the fastest feature in GMail - reaches /dev/null in mere ns.


Why can't I easily use info from Gmail when adding contacts. For example, if an email's 'from' line includes the name and email address of the sender, I'd like to just tap (or right-click) it and have the option to 'add to contacts'. But instead I have to copy each piece separately into a new tab (painful on desktop, and even more annoying using the Android Contacts app).

And why can't I tap a phone number and save that to contacts without several extra steps?


This is really a disaster. I don't care that much for my personal email, however at work, it's definitely impacting.

It's slow as most already noted. But I also find that it's much more mentally exhaustive - it's maybe a bit more beautiful and fancy, but it's not what I look for in work - I want things simple, well aligned and as readable as possible. I've tried for several days the new interface and it was really a big downgrade from the previous UI.


The auto-expanding sidebar drives me nuts. I don't want to use the entire width of my widescreen monitor for reading an email, but I do want quick access to my folders.


Hit the "hamburger" icon way up in the left corner next to the main Gmail logo.


Thanks. My brain has been trained to think of this behavior as "pinning", now I'll just have to get used to the hamburger.


Yeah the discoverability is terrible. Even knowing the feature existed, it took me four or five tries to find it again just before I commented.


It's so ugly and slow. I have switched to basic HTML view, it's way better (although it still could be faster, refreshing takes quite a lot of server time).


GMail one day decided to no longer show my emails from my customers in my Inbox -- I have to search for them one-by-one. So every few hours I have to search for keywords.

I also get gmail from another account, and he gets mine.

At least it is not as bad as Skype. Woke up one day a week ago, hit Upgrade, and now Skype doesn't work -- whatsoever. Nothing I can do.

Essentially if I didn't have experience as a level 3 support engineer, I'd be out of business.


As much as I don't like the new GMail, this sounds like a bad filter rule and a classic case of PEBCAK.


Someone mentioned the calendar widget but what seems to be missing from the new UI is the wonderful calendar integration where dates and times are turned into links that I can click on to create a calendar event directly from an email. That to me was the dealbreaker for switching to the new UI, and am disappointed to hear that they are removing the option to revert back to the classic UI.


Practical tip for those that want a web based solution right now: install rainloop on a server and point it to gmail’s imap/smtp servers. Rainloop + an http server that handles tls in front of it can be installed fairly painlessly and quickly with docker.

https://www.rainloop.net/


The fonts are atrocious and give me a headache to look at. I already have damaged eyesight so that makes things worse as it is.


material design new cancer


I never understood the fuss about material design. While it's decent on mobiles, it looks _terrible_ on desktops with low resolutions at least.


My main issue is the keybinds, like before when you archived from the inbox it would go to the next one, or you could use 'j', 'k' to go the next one and it would open, now it does nothing after the next mail doesn't open when archiving

this makes going through the inbox in the morning very frustrating


I hate to be asking, but... what has changed exactly?

As one who has only ever used Gmail with a mail client, I'm not seeing any obvious differences since the last time I had to log into the web interface to set a few rules, except an unusually colorful Compose button - which might have been there for a while for all I know.


In addition to everything else, they've eliminated the different colored stars & icons. I liked those and used them to highlight mails I wanted to get back to.

Now there's only starred and unstarred. (Be careful how you use 'important', as Google tries to learn from that and gets it wrong.)


They have? Doesn't seem so in my account. I've been using the green tick, red exclamation mark & co. for the better part of a decade since they've been in Labs. They still work for me. Should I be worried?


Huh, I tried again and now they're working.


I see them as well.


I was using Gmail in 'classic' mode until today, when they force-upgraded to the new layout. In my opinion, even the "compact" mode is less compact. I don't like it.

So as of today I'm forwarding all my email to protonmail. This was just the push I needed to start switching over.


The UI seems ok overall although definitely slower than before.

I have another weird issue happening though with my second Gmail account on Chrome. Sometimes when I login, it refreshes during the flash screen of Gmail logo and logs me out automatically going back to the login page. Has that happened to anyone?


I get constant UI freezes on Gmail (very alike to those I get on reddit), not sure if it's because of the adblocking software or because I'm using Firefox.

On the other hand, youtube works flawlessly. It's mindblowing what is possible when a company has the resources to optimize their software.


Do you have any comparison screenshots? I've been using Thunderbird for years now, and haven't spent much time with the webui. I just looked at it, and it doesn't seem much different from what I remember. Maybe the roll out hasn't hit me yet?


I don't have screenshots, but the new UI looks like it was designed for touch screens. The actual mail messages take up maybe 50% of the screen in the middle, with different sized margins full of mostly huge, but some very tiny, buttons to press on each side. Some of the buttons don't even have descriptions, it's just an icon for another Google product. There's also a smattering of giant buttons and icons scattered across the page, with no consistency as to their size or alignment. It makes me think of someone creating their first website, where it started out OK, but they feel the need to keep adding features and filling in empty space so they just add more and more buttons and icons all over the page that are only sort of related to the main purpose of the page.


I've started using Thunderbird with Gmail again. This is the first step to moving the bulk of my email activity to my self-hosted mail server.

And, of course, I'm also ditching Chrome for Firefox (and Tor Browser) as well.

Well done, Google. You finally forced my hand.


It makes me feel like I'm a child at a daycare center. What's a good alternative? I'm thinking of switching to iCloud as my primary but I don't know if I want to be completely ingrained into Apple's ecosystem.


iCloud has its own benefits but the web UI is not one. iCloud is slower than Google's services and _does not work_ on a mobile browser.

I had left my phone at home while visiting a friend. I was shocked to learn I could not view iCloud.com (and my e-mails) from my girlfriend's phone without signing in to the iPhone itself via settings.

Look into Fastmail.com or Outlook Premium.


I don't really mind the new design itself, but the new font looks too blurry to look at on my non-retina mac. ( I suspect the -moz-osx-font-smoothing:grayscale) and it is insanely slow.

Luckily I can still revert back on GSuite for now.


Same with youtube (when logged in). If it were not in Alphabet's portfolio, it would be buried on the last page of Google index due to horrible performance.


I'm just happy that we finally get a "replied" icon to denote which emails I've replied to, been waiting for that feature for years now


I just wish they would spend some time on the alternate themes that all look terrible and haven't been updated since they launched that feature.


All the themes, except "high contrast" just change the background image.


I use the old html version, amazingly it's not even possible to bulk delete emails! Which is the one thing you'd want to do with email.


Analytics, webmaster tools, gmail, google news - all of these sites are bloated. Meanwhile Google wants developers to use AMP because...


Tangential, but does anybody here have a email app recommendation for Linux? Something that can replace browsing Gmail on a browser?


Thunderbird is the most popular choice and supports add-ons.

For comprehensive alternatives to Microsoft Outlook, Evolution is well-integrated into GNOME, while KMail (part of Kontact) is well-integrated into KDE.

Alternatively, Geary (GTK+ 3 based, adopted by GNOME), Pantheon Mail (Elementary's fork of Geary), Claws Mail (lightweight GTK+ 2 based), Sylpheed (lightweight GTK+ 2 based), Trojitá (lightweight Qt 5 based), Kube (Qt 5 based, integrates with Kolab Now), and Mutt (text-based) also work on Linux.

All of these applications are free and open-source, and some of them also work on Windows and macOS.

Thunderbird: https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/

Evolution: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Evolution/

KMail: https://www.kde.org/applications/internet/kmail/

Geary: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Geary

Pantheon Mail: https://github.com/elementary/mail

Claws Mail: https://www.claws-mail.org/

Sylpheed: http://sylpheed.sraoss.jp/en/

Trojitá: http://trojita.flaska.net/

Kube: https://kube-project.com/

Mutt: http://www.mutt.org/

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