Google Gives Gmail Multitasking UI Chops For Foldable Devices

hero gmail on foldable devices update news
We have seen many iterations of Gmail come and go in its 19-year history, but other than the ill-fated attempt at a complete relaunch with the now defunct Google Inbox, we have yet to see any significant changes in its fundamental features in quite some time. For the most part, that's just fine, but it has not made the most of book-style, folding mobile devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, until now.

In a blog post centered around Google Workspace updates, Google announced that Gmail is getting an interface change for foldable devices. The main inbox interface for the Gmail app now has a preview pane, or, as Google defines it, a 2-pane view. Before this change, the Gmail app would stretch out the list of e-mails in the inbox across the full display. It didn't look too pretty, nor was it multitasking friendly. Google Chat and Google Meet are also getting the 2-pane treatment within the Gmail app. That update is already available to most users.

Google Meet and Google Chat are receiving additional updates more generally, as is Google Sheets. The Google Sheets update is specifically targeted to improve the zoom experience on mobile devices across different device types. 

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Screenshot of Gmail on a Fold Display

Google Meet, on the other hand, has updates to peripheral detection and selection. The interface before joining a meeting has been redesigned to make selecting peripherals, such as webcams or microphones, to use during your meetings more prominent and understandable.

The Google Chat update focuses more on customer experience for Google Workspace users. It lists improved interaction with support and tools made available by Salesforce and Zendesk. It is now possible to directly update and assign tickets for these tools directly within chat and receive better notifications.

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Screenshot of Google Meet Update

As with the Gmail update, the Google Chat and Google Meet updates are all available now, while the Google Sheets update is only available on rapid-release domains that use Google Workspace. It's good to see Google continue to improve its offerings, especially as it considers more niche markets like foldable phones.