Update 11/22: Gmail’s new Material You widget is now widely rolling out via Google Play. It does not appear on Android 11 and older. After updating to version 2021.10.31, you’ll also be prompted to let Gmail “make and manage phone calls.” Granting the “Phone” permissions will make sure your Meet sessions are not interrupted by cell calls.
Original 11/16: With the Material You redesign in mid-September, Gmail only modernized the existing widget with a touch of Dynamic Color. It remained a simple list with a compose button in the bottom-right corner.
Version 2021.10.31 of Gmail switches to a design that matches Google Keep — hopefully Calendar is next — with a large header that notes the name of your selected folder. The rounded square FAB appears in the top-right corner with the narrowest layout showing a list of messages (sender, subject, and time) with an archive button at the right. Gmail no longer displays the first line of an email.
An unread count appears next to the FAB as it can be hard to distinguish between new emails and those that have already been read. This is primarily due to the background fully supporting Dynamic Color and no longer being just white or dark gray.
Increasing the width (3rd screenshot) gives you a bottom bar with shortcuts that directly open Gmail to the Chat, Spaces, or Meet tabs. Meanwhile, shrinking the height (4th) switches to a right sidebar layout.
This is quite a powerful widget that allows users to triage their inbox and jump directly into the app from their homescreens. It’s essentially a miniature application and alternative to deleting/archiving from the notification shade.
More on Gmail:
- Google Calendar invites now let you specify physical or virtual attendance [Update: In Gmail]
- Gmail for iOS adding inbox widget as Google Meet gets Picture-in-Picture, more
- How to create custom Gmail profile pictures with Google Illustrations
- Google bringing back Gmail’s old Compose button on the web