Earlier this year Google introduced a new user interface for Gmail on the web. It’s not really something anybody outside of Google asked for, as the biggest change is a new sidebar that shows icons for things like Google Chat, Spaces, and Meet.

In recent months, Google has been suggesting users switch… but offering an option to revert to the old UI. But now the company says that by the end of the month, the “original view” won’t be an option anymore. Everyone using Gmail on the web will have to get used to the new user interface.

Google

That means that you’ll have two sidebars on the left and another on the right side of the screen, where Google has been pushing icons for things like Google Calendar, Keep, Tasks, and Contacts for some time. At least the sidebar on the right is collapsible.

In order to hide the sidebar on the left, you need to open the Quick Settings menu and disable Google Chat and Meet. But then you won’t be able to see Google Chat messages without opening Google Chat in another window. The old UI allowed you to see Google Chat messages without adding an unnecessary sidebar to the screen.

For now you can still revert to the old UI from the Quick Settings icon. But it looks like Google will remove that option soon.

If you really hate the new UI, I suppose you could always just access your Gmail account through an email client moving forward. But the advantage of webmail is that it can be accessed from any device without the need to install a new app or download your messages first.

I’ll probably get used to it, just like I do every time Google rolls out a change to Gmail. But I’ve been avoiding making the switch for as long as I could… and after checking out the new look again when writing this article, I switched back to the old view so that I could squeeze a few more weeks out of it.

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  1. I will just use a browser plugin that customizes the look of Gmail to get rid of the extra stuff.

    I also greatly dislike that the new interface reduces contrast, making things harder to read for no reason.

    1. I dunno. Right now the “use HTML” link is only momentarily available when loading GMail. Then it quickly disappears. Took me many many tries and finally I got my mouse pointer there in time and clicked the link. It does work for now.
      I think that if you insert a “/h” into the URL it changes the interface to HTML:
      So if you change:
      mail.google.com/mail/u/0/…
      to:
      mail.google.com/mail/u/0/h/…
      it loads the HTML interface. This works for me but not sure if this works for everyone.

  2. Probably the main reason I still use Firefox is that Mozilla used to allow me to configure the interface the way I wanted — about ten years ago. Google just churns through bad ideas. I was puzzled to see a prominent red emblem bearing the initials “QT” in the middle of a route I plotted with Google Maps the other day; it turned out that Google really wanted me to know that there was a QuickTrip convenience store en route, despite my not having asked for any information about stores or gas stations.