How to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Gmail Redesign

Old Gmail is (finally) dead. It's time to finally accept that the redesign is here to stay.

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After five months of agonizingly slow turnover, the old Gmail is dead. Since the switch was announced, screams from the Twitterian plebes were impossible to escape. "Ugggh, today is THE WORST. Gmail is making me switch to the new design," is what their complaints would sound like, maybe adding a :( for emphasis. Everyone is on a level playing field now. We're all in the same, miserable boat.

When the redesign first came out, we showed the resistance how to avoid conforming to the new standard as much as possible. Changing your Gmail's look from the wide white-space rivers of it's "comfortable" or "cozy" display options to the more traditional "compact," and which scripts to download to keep your Gmail looking like the glory days of old. We fought the power! But that was then, this is now. We cannot cling to the past.

The Atlantic's James Fallows was still lamenting the loss of the old look this week. He tells the story of how he kept one final tab of the old Gmail design open as long as possible. He avoided closing his browser, or his computer, so he could avoid the switch. "I carefully "slept" the machine at night rather than shutting it down. I cancelled any software update that required a system reboot. I worried about what would happen if I unthinkingly closed the tab," he wrote. "It was my living connection to happier days." The window eventually froze. He lost his best friend forever.

Fallows and others like him need to learn to accept Gmail's new look. Maybe they need to take an email vacation to help them get over the change. Our Google overlords have decided it is here to stay. "It's less efficient!" you can cry. "It's harder to read emails in a single thread!" you can shout. "That weird bur-ange colour hurts my eyes!" Deal with it. The baby blues of your better years are never to be seen again.

There is no way to learn how to love the new Gmail. It just must be done. Redesigns are never popular. The internet is not a democracy. There is only acceptance. You can worry all you want, and install all the browser scripts you can find to make your inbox look like it did two days ago. Your old Gmail is never coming back. Embrace change.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.