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Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanks Google for Pimping my GMail!

It's finally here!! After a day since it was launched and the whole web was talking about it, even my GMail account now has Themes!!

For those wondering what this is, here's the news: After launching the Voice Chat a week back, Google recently launched a feature to allow users to choose different themes for their GMail account. With 3rd party tools like Gmail Redesigned skin in Better Gmail becoming more and more popular, Google finally decided to release Official Themes. And boy haven't they done a great job!!

Let me stop blabbering and come to the point. Head to Settings -> Themes in your GMail. If you can't see such an option, then you'll have to wait for sometime (I know how frustrating that is!). Once you get The Screen, just randomly pick a theme and ZiNg! Say "Hello!" to a more beautiful (and smart.. read on to know why!) GMail!!

How to add Themes to GMail by Rasagy aka RaSh

Once you are back on your seat and your eyes are back to blinking the same old way, notice that GMail asked you for your Location before applying some themes. No it is not for some analysis or something. Some themes actually change according to your location (ie according to the current time at your place). Remember iGoogle themes? Now they're here on GMail!!

Before you start experimenting with your themes, or see what others are saying, have a look at some of My Favorite Themes:

Calm & soft

  • Beach: The best theme to suit my location (Goa!) It's pretty dark right now (What else do you expect at 4 in the morning?), so I'm guessing this one will change with time. Coooool!!!
    Preview of the Beach theme by Rasagy Sharma aka RaSh
  • Summer Ocean: Another beautiful theme. I loved the way the blue header slowly fades on the left side. Try it out!
    Preview of the Summer Ocean theme by Rasagy Sharma aka RaSh
  • Tree: No heavy graphics. Just a serene theme with a nice silver interface. So it's either this or Beach!

A little bit flashy, eh?

  • Graffiti: A "must-check-out" theme for all those Graffiti fans (like me!). The translucent interface makes it even better!!
    Preview of the Graffiti theme by Rasagy Sharma aka RaSh
  • Phantasea: Phashinating name, phashinating theme! Doesn't it sound like it's asking you to see it? :P
    Preview of the Phantasea theme by Rasagy Sharma aka RaSh
  • Planets: We all want to be a star. But for now, settle with a planet. A red shiny planet (It isn't Jupitor is it?). Good for a start! :D

Not a fan of heavy themes??

  • Shiny: For those who just like a sweet color scheme, a nice gradient header and shiny interface, look no further. This is the theme for you! (Or is it Silver Lining? You decide!)
  • Contrast Black: For those dark, monochrome freaks, here's a nice dark (I mean really dark. Dark Black!) theme. But what is yellow doing there??

Special Mention!

  • Terminal: They just had to do it didn't they? This is what you get when two Google Engineers bet. A dark theme with lime text. And everything (literally EVERYTHING. Even the GMail logo), using only ASCII characters. I wonder who's gonna keep this one! :D
    Preview of the Terminal theme by Rasagy Sharma aka RaSh

Well my pick for the time being is Beach (as it changes with time :P) Did you check out the themes?? Which one did you like the most? Do leave a comment!!

PS: Love Gmail? Don't forget to read about 10 GMail features you must know!!


Gowtham said...

Well Even after applying the theme the page loads pretty faster. It doesn't affect the page response!

RaSh said...

Yup.. It just needs to cache the header the first time you apply. :)

Though themes like Beach might take more bandwidth as it might update the header once a while.. but even on my slow campus net, everything is working fine!!

PS: For those who can't open GMail in standard view, use https instead of http in the url. And then in the Settings, make https default (last option).

Works for me ;)

Anonymous said...

the beach one and the graffiti one really rock!
the terminal one is apt for the uber geeks!

RaSh said...

Still, I really got freaked out by the Terminal one. I mean seriously, why would anyone use it?? :D

Cristina said...

I loved the new Themes!! Thank you so much!!

RaSh said...

You're welcome Cristina! And yes, we all love the new themes!! :D

Oh and I strongly suggest everyone to check the Beach theme.. I love the way it blends into different color schemes with time!

Prashant Nagpal said...

Btw, i think the red thing in planet is not Jupiter, its THE SUN (the theme is Planets, not Planet :P )

jferth said...

Yes, I pretty much love everything Google produces and use their products daily across the board (MacBook, Windoze, & iPhone)! I have strayed and looked at the other stuff out there but nothing compares to the usability/function like Google! If Google is listening...thanks and keep the cool stuff coming!

RaSh said...

Great to find another Google fan!

In general, you can find every major company having basic characteristics, like MS Products with compatibility/loads of features, Google Products with simple yet powerful interface, Apple with amazing designer interfaces...

And these themes are just what you would expect from Google.. :)

RaSh said...

@Prashant: lol
I guess they took a random red planet. Keeping Sun kinda fails the point right? :P

okombo said...

well, its now the best in the show. It has all voice, video, chat and now special themes. I strongly recommend it to all users. It is also very safe and extremely fast on chrome and firefox 3.0.4, but the internet explorer is as slow as usual. I think IE are not interested any more in developing their products, its like they are giving up. Well give it up to gmail! the best that has ever been.

RaSh said...

Very true okombo.. Gmail is now the best in the show. With constant updates and rolling out features that people really want, Gmail has clearly justified the Best EMail Service tag that it has been given.

About opening in IE vs Chrome, I don't really noticed much difference (I use Chrome for most of my browsing, but on opening GMail at the same time in both browsers, I didn't notice much difference). One reason you might have experienced problems with IE could be that since you don't use it much, it might have taken more time to load some files for the first time.

Anyway I'm happy with GMail on Chrome, and so are you :D

Akash said...

I like "Bubble Gum"! It's elegant and a single look at my mailbox makes me pretty chuffed! ^_^
Did you try the "Old Snakey" and "Email Addict" in the labs section? They are pretty cool too!
Nice post!

RaSh said...

Thanks for reading Akash!

Ah and talking about Labs, they really have been coming up with a great mix of features! Be it just for fun features like Old Snakey or Mail Goggles, or actually useful ones like Canned Responses & Keyboard shortcuts, must say these Labs guys come up with great stuff.

Guess I've enough material for the 3rd GMail post :D

The Keeper of the Keys said...

Hmm, I was using the bubblegum one till now, but now I'm switching to beach. I expected better in the planets one, though. I like bus stop too! Terminal is scary.

RaSh said...

I agree about the Terminal theme, Nidhi. Those guys at Google played a nice joke on us :D

Ah and it would've been cool if the planets one also changed with time.. maybe blend into different planets?? :)

PS: The more I use GMail, the more I fall in love with the Beach theme. Check it out in the morning ;)

Anonymous said...

Why can't I find that pink dog blossom theme I have been seeing around on my choices? Maybe they are just available regionally?

Gillian said...

The Tree one is really cool in a northern climate. Mine snows when it's snowing here & has snow piled on my in-box when we've got accumulation. It shows rain slashing down or a heavy grey cloudy sky. I love it.

RaSh said...

@Ideb: You sure it's there in the official list? It could be some 3rd party extensions too ;)

@Gillian: Wow.. I just love themes that change with time (Add region support and it's awesome!)

Glad to hear your views!

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