Five things I hate about the new Gmail for Android

Agh! They’ve “improved” Gmail again.

I’m not generally one of those who insists that every new change to my software is bad. I like to at least entertain the idea that developers have something good in mind. But just a cursory scan of the new Gmail application tells me my productivity just went to shit on mobile.

5. Icons? Is that what we’re calling them?

Each email now shows an “icon” to the right. In a perfect world, where everybody is using Google Plus like Google would like them too, there would be an image of the sender and receiver. In this world, what I end up with is a bunch of pics of me and colored blocks with the last name of the sender.

I know what I look like. Why do I need a picture of me?

4. Check box? What’s a check box?

Remember those handy checkboxes to the left of every message? You know, the ones you used to check to perform actions on a series of messages on? Like tagging, archiving or deleting?

Yeah, those are gone. Replaced by the fucking icons. And as for deleting…

3. Where the hell is my delete icon??

It has seemed, for the last year or so, like Google is trying to force me to keep every email. Slowly but surely, they are eliminating my ability to delete my email. Why the hell do I want to keep my crappy spam emails?

At one point, the status bar on Android had a handy function: when new email came in, you could just tap an icon in the drop down menu to delete it. No need to read it. No need to open your inbox. Now that function has been changed to “archive.” You cannot delete from there.

Now with the new upgrade of Gmail, not only is the checkbox I normally use to mass delete emails gone, but if you open the email and look… there’s no delete option, there, either. If you click the context menu from within an email, then and only then can you delete.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Google wants to keep your emails for the same reason Facebook wants to keep every message you thought you’d deleted: advertising data. But rather than get caught the way Facebook did, they figure they’ll just let you know up front that they’re not letting you get rid of anything.

2. No seriously: why do I need a picture of myself??

Ok, I still can’t get over this one. Why do I need to see an image of myself?

1. I’m color blind, assholes

When, oh when, will Google become standards compliant with accessibility? Their insistence on color coding everything is a clear violation of that concept. The icons that don’t include an image of the sender are all different colors. Fine of those colors are blue or yellow, but am I meant to differentiate between brown and brown? Because that’s what red and green look like to those of us with color blindness.

I am a man of peace and I abhor unnecessary rancor on the Internet. I try so hard to stay calm in the face of a tumultuous world, and I rely on my tools to aid me. Google has gone after my Achille’s heel and is forcing me to respond.

It is therefore with deep regret that announce that I feel compelled to create the most powerful tool available in the social media landscape in order to deal with this. That’s right, people. I’m going to create a “Change Gmail Back” Facebook Page and bring the multi-colored giant to its quivering needs.

Pray for them.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

9 replies on “Five things I hate about the new Gmail for Android”

To get the nice trashcan back – tap the three dots on the top right, then select settings, then general settings, then the top one Archive & delete actions. I have mine set to delete only as I move stuff into folders that I want to keep. If you select delete you will find the nice trashcan back.

Also in general settings – you can turn off sender image if you don’t like the little picture… Hope this helps get gmail back to its old self again…

Outstanding suggestions, thank you chess! I almost wouldn’t mind the sender image thing, I just don’t get why I need to see my own picture. That is: if I can’t have my check boxes back…

You can also go into the main settings in your android phone, go to applications, select Gmail and then click on uninstall upgrade and voila! your checkboxes are back and it returns gmail to the factory default. Unfortunately you have to do this at least once everyday, but it’s a small extra aggravation given the ease with which you can delete all the messages you received and don’t want to even bother to open. It would be nice if we could get it to stick. I hate the new icons as well….

Everything you’re complaining about being missing is still in there and everything you’re complaining about not being there is there.

5. I happen to like them, I’m not colour blind though. You can turn them off in Settings->General Settings->Sender Image

4. If you still have the sender icons visible tap on those, they behave like the checkbox. If you don’t then tap and hold one message until the menu bar changes, once you’ve done that you can short tap any message to select/deselect it.

3. By default swiping left/right on a row will archive it. You can change the task performed by the swipe in Settings->General Settings->Archive and Delete Actions.

2. You see your face because you’re in the conversation, the more people in the more faces you’ll see and for those without an icon you’ll see a square with an initial character. If you’re seeing a lot in the list with just your face then stop sending yourself emails..

1. You don’t have to distinguish the coloured background for images without an icon – they’re randomly selected. Just look at the character in the box or get the people who send you emails to put a proper icon in their profile..or turn the sender image off.

..but yeah, go ahead create a facebook page because that’s about all you moan is worth – it took me less than a minute to work out how to ‘fix’ each one of your complaints.

…and I actually like the coloured icons with initial letter in them, too many of my friends are ugly 😉

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