Featured Article: There’s a New Look Coming to a Google App Near You!

It is expected that Google will be introducing a new look to the LakerApps suite of applications for all users in the December/January timeframe. This includes the Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Sites apps.

In June of this year, Google announced it would be working on creating new user interfaces for its primary applications.   Google cites three primary reasons for making these changes.  Focus for streamlining a new look across all the apps and reducing clutter, elasticity for consistent user experience no matter what device you are using – computer, tablet or mobile, and effortlessness for incorporating the latest technologies in their products to quickly bring new features to users.  Google has also been working diligently to make their products more effective for users with disabilities who may be accessing them through adaptive or assistive technologies.What does this mean for users?  It means a more consistent look across all the apps and across all devices whether you are using them on a PC, a tablet computer (like an iPad) or a smartphone.  It also means a little bit of change…

Since their announcement in June, Google has been letting users preview the interfaces and provide feedback on what they like and dislike about the changes.  Google is then incorporating any necessary revisions to be included in a final product release.

For our LakerApps suite of applications, the preview option is currently available for all four applications – Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Sites.   The FAQ article on the Google Apps New Look page describes how you can opt-in to the new interface for each app and then also how you can opt-out of it to continue using the “classic” interface.  CTS encourages you try the new look.

While you can opt in and out of the new interfaces right now, it is expected that the new interfaces will become permanent in the December/January timeframe with Docs and Sites going permanent in December, and Calendar and Gmail in early January.  You will actually see the new look in Gmail mid-December as the default look, but will still be able to opt-out of it until January. Once they become permanent, the options to switch to the “classic” interface will no longer be available.

You should also be aware that Google is no longer supporting Firefox 3.6 and below nor IE 7 and below with its applications, especially the new interface for Gmail.  If you are using one of these browsers, please see the article “Google No Longer Supporting Older Firefox and IE Browsers.

For more information about the interface changes in each of the apps, please visit the Google Apps New Look Page.

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