Today was the first I had heard of Google working on a new version of Gmail after Phillipp Lessen from Google Blogoscoped posted a bunch of screenshots of what the update will look like.  According to Lessen, one of the biggest changes behind Gmail 2.0 is speed. I’ve never really noticed speed issues, but he says it’s supposed to be faster thanks to a JavaScript back-end rewrite. Aside from the speed changes, there are also a few other things which we’ll mention in just a minute.

 gmail changes

If you use Gmail, go check your account real quick because you may already have the update.  If you do, you’ll see a link at the top which says “New version.” If you click on this link, you’ll be taken to the newer version, and then you’ll see a link with “older version” so that you can always switch back.  Between the accounts that Ryan and I have, we haven’t received this newer version yet, but some people are already reporting that they have it.

One of the major visual changes is a brand new contacts manager. From the looks of it, it’ll be much nicer to view and add your contacts with an entirely new look. Take a look at the image below, and I think you’ll agree — this is a huge improvement to this feature:

 gmail contacts changes

A few other changes include:

  • “More Actions” menu has a new “Filter messages like these” option
  • Pop-up window appears when hovering over a name
  • New chat options
  • New look for spell checker
  • When adding a picture for one of your contacts- Picasa Web Albums is now an option to choose from

Now that you know some of the changes that are in store, is there anything else that you’d like Google to change with Gmail? We know some of you are STILL waiting for Gmail’s IMAP access, so if you don’t have that yet, just add the updated Gmail 2.0 to your “waiting” list, and hopefully Google will push these updates and features your way soon. To those of you who already have both IMAP access and Gmail 2.0 — consider yourself lucky! :)

Sources: Google Blogoscoped, Go2Web2 (more screenshots at both of these sites)