Update: Google has officially announced the changes. Original story follows:
Google seemingly has a big Gmail redesign in the works that could let you collaborate with colleagues, work on Google Docs, and talk over Google Meet all without leaving Gmail. Leaked images of the redesign were spotted on Google’s website for the Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir event by Twitter user Tahin Rahman (via Android Police).
In the redesign, there are now tabs for Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet. The Chat tab looks to take you to your conversations with people, while Rooms appear to be spaces for topic-based conversations, similar to Slack channels. The Meet tab shows your upcoming Google Meet meetings and suggestions for who you might want to contact. (The Meet tab might look familiar — Google already announced in June that it was coming to Gmail’s iOS and Android apps.)
Other slides posted by Rahman show that you’ll be able to put a conversation and a Google Doc side by side while in Gmail, allowing you to collaborate on the document and discuss it in real time. You’ll apparently even be able to have a Google Meet video chat window in picture-in-picture mode on top of all that, letting you discuss projects on a call while still looking at the chat and document in front of you:
In January, it was reported that Google was aiming to unify its workplace tools and messaging apps under one mobile app, and it seems possible these leaked slides are showing the fruits of that labor. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has rapidly bolstered its collaboration tools, including rebranding Hangouts Meet to Google Meet, adding new features to Meet (and making it free for everyone), and converting Hangouts Chat for enterprise users to Google Chat.
Update, July 15th, 5:17PM ET: Google has officially announced that the changes are coming to G Suite for Gmail, so we have linked to our article on that at the top of this story.