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Google boffins are starting to play with colors. The good thing is that now we can too! This Wednesday, Google rolled out a much awaited feature to Gmail. Bright, colorful, fantastic themes! I wouldn’t have caught it but for the little feed Google gives on the signing page. And lo and behold, just a little trip over to the Gmail settings and there is a spanking fresh ‘themes’ tab. I counted 31 new designs (one for each day of the month?) and surely there would be a lot more to come.

gmail themes

From the plain Jane mono-color ones like ‘New Blue’ to the more slick ‘Planets’. There’s one which resembles an old IBM PC screen; it’s called ‘Terminal’…and I won’t hazard a bet that it’s only for a dyed-in-the-wool geek.

It’s always better when add-ons, plugins or themes have an official sanction and it’s even better when it is done ‘in-office’. Themes have existed for Gmail before, but for that, one needed to install third party skinning scripts. Now, it’s far smoother – select and click. The official Google blog says that most of the themes were designed by in-house artists and only three were by outsiders.

new gmail themes

Another atypical feature with regards to themes is that you can set some of them by ‘country’ too. For instance, the theme ‘Planets’ asks you to choose your ‘Country’ and ‘City’ through a dropdown. Google says that some themes change automatically during the course of the day and the change synchronizes with this region/city information. For that you might want to try out some of the nature based themes. If you decide not to give your city, Google defaults to the capital city of the country chosen. That’s cool!


gmail theme examples

The ‘Themes’ feature is being rolled out gradually over the next few days. I got it for my oldest Gmail account but not yet for the latter ones…so in all probability, if you still haven’t got to play around with it, wait – you are in the queue.

Google is changing and for most of the features it’s a well thought out change. Personalization is rapidly becoming the byword for net denizens and Google is coming around to that pretty fast. Isn’t it a departure that some of the themes have a different sort of Google logo from the set one? Google can afford to, as it garners a major part of our mindspace and with this feature it will take in some more from those who like a bit of color in their lives.

Have you tried it out yet? Let us know what Gmail in technicolor means to you.

  1. Rosie
    November 24, 2008 at 1:17 am

    I really like the new themes - my email looks much prettier now! :)
    My only complaint is that setting the country doesn't seem to work with the themes. They are changing throughout the day, but are several hours behind. My email is still in darkness at 9am!

  2. moses
    November 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I do not like the way Gmail is messing around with the user interface. They are screwing it up just like Microsoft screwed up Windows. Look at Vista. It is just pathetic. The same goes to Microsoft's website. Or Sheesh. Don't even get me started on that..

    They wan't to push everything inside boxes. You know, stripes or borders around everything -- if it exists, it must have border around it. And no clear colors, everything has to be web2 and faded. It is so annoying. I just want read my mail in a clean and low noise environment.

    So I am really happy that Gmail is preserving the ui=1 option. I will definitely be using the old thing. It is so much clearer and easier to comprehend. Even the new Default/Classic skins IMHO suck.

  3. wintkat
    November 22, 2008 at 6:18 am

    hi, i played around with the themes yesterday and since then I now have whonu as part of my google toolbar which I didn't add on myself, I don't want and now I can't uninstall.
    I use firefox as my browser
    whonu is not on my addons list to uninstall
    welcome any thoughts to get rid of whonu

  4. venkat
    November 22, 2008 at 1:11 am

    I prefer default theme for Gmail ,those who want colors and themes can use they like in Gmail of 30 themes are look pretty though,having said that it takes more time to load Gmail with these themes even though Gmail is optimized to load quickly with these Themes.

  5. haiku
    November 21, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I could have lived without it - but it's sure a nice change.
    I went with the 'Cold Shower' one - a touch of color but still plain, simple and clear.

    But I'll be much happier when Google will allow us to open our contact list from a new email...

  6. heart
    November 21, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I like it so much, I am all for the girly pink :D

  7. Joshua
    November 21, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I'm so happy with this! :D I always thought Google could use a little spicing up ;)

  8. T.J. Mininday
    November 21, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I love the new themes. I didn't go with the fancy picture backgrounds, but a nice combo of colors. Google threw another one at us from left field...and delivered.

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