Gmail for Android recently received a big usability upgrade, but the app’s design hasn’t changed much since it was overhauled for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
With the addition of a left-side sliding menu and, now, a move to a cards-based conversation view, Gmail for Android is beginning to look a lot like the rest of Google’s app ecosystem: clean, simple and white.
The new look also brings some improvements to multi-email selection; gone are the strange-looking avatar boxes in place of checkboxes. It’s a small but significant workflow alteration.
The app is rolling out over the next few days, so keep watching the Play Store for that Update button.
In addition to Gmail, we have Hangouts 1.2, which finally lets users know who is online. This functionality was removed when Talk transitioned to Hangouts this summer, and was the primary complaint issued to Google since its release.
Furthermore, Hangouts now better organizes your contacts, including frequently-contacted, suggested and other. More layout changes and usability improvements abound, including pinch-to-zoom in photos and the ability to hide contacts by long-pressing on their avatars.
Google Search has also been updated, but the change log has not been issued yet.