In a post to the Google Mobile blog this morning, Google Mobile Engineer Joanna KcKinley announced the next generation of mobile Gmail. Starting today, the popular webmail service has a cutting-edge mobile interface that’s sure to turn some heads.
The new finger-friendly interface has been redone from the ground up. Google has added improvements like better labels, an easier search function, and a “floaty bar” that enables easy selection of multiple messages. The entire interface is more than just user-friendly — it’s also technically advanced, taking advantage of emerging Web technologies like HTML5 and Google Gears.
Gmail’s remade interface is clean and easy to use. It can also be much more convenient than using the iPhone’s built-in Mail program. Links in E-mails open a new Safari tab, rather than launching a new application, making switching between E-mail and Web browsing much easier. On the iPhone Google is using Safari’s native database storage format to cache messages for offline viewing, so E-mails can be always accessible even the a network isn’t. On Android the new Gmail uses Gears to store messages for offline use.
Any Android device or iPhone/iPod touch (OS 2.2.1 or above) should be able to view the new interface by visiting gmail.com. Google Apps users can visit mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.
Since both the iPhone and Android use a WebKit-based browser, a large chunk of the rich mobile Web is essentially a stable target. The fact that WebKit features such fantastic HTML5 support bodes well for the new spec — if phone developers can see the light, widespread desktop adoption can’t be far behind.
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