Friday, November 21, 2008

Did we ever need themes for Gmail? Nope

Gmail had launched themes yesterday. By now everyone might have noticed the themes tab under settings. For months , avid users devised firefox addons that would change the look of your inbox. I am particularly a fan of Better Gmail addon which works with the help of Greasemonkey in Firefox. This does not change the looks of Gmail but adds small but useful features.

I always thought why Gmail did not have themes like other web based mail clients like yahoo, msn,etc. But finally when they launched themes, I did not get excited. Why?

I used to use yahoo mail for everything. Then I recieved a mail from my friend inviting me to join Gmail. I aprehensive at first, as creating a new mail id means going through the drill of entering your details again. ButI decided to give it a try after all the Giant of Search was offering this product. Also they were offering 2gb+ space which was unheard of at that time.

I was surprised that the information required to create an email account was minimal. I logged in. My first thought after looking at the interface was that it didn't look much advanced as the design was just minimalistic. I created this Blogger as well as Orkut account using this Gmail account. Due to this I used to check my Gmail inbox everyday. I realised that even though the designs where minimalistic it had powerful features.

Later, I starting using Gmail instead of yahoo mail as I liked Gmail's clean design. With keyboard shortcuts and clean interface reading 100 mails a day (most of them newsletters) was a easy task. I used to get headache using classic Yahoo mail reading so much mail. Even the ads were not distracting. It hardly bothers you as it is text ads on the right side of the page. Even if you do notice it you usually will find it useful as it is contextual.

But the themes which gmail has launched makes it almost like other web based mail making it look cluttered. One thing I like about Google is that they have a policy of keeping their pages whether search or any other clean, clutter-free and user friendly. The themes might get casual users of Gmail excited but avid users like me will stick to the classic look.