Google have today announced a number of changes to the Gmail website, which will be rolling out over the next few days. These include the additional of many more emoji and some significant improvements to how Gmail themes work, designed to help customize the experience for customers. Google's themes may be used to differentiate between personal and work email accounts or used just to bring a splash of color and individuality to your inbox. And whilst themes were first introduced in 2008, this is the first major update that the theming engine has been given in this time with the addition of hundreds of high-resolution images, some are photographed by fellow Google customers. Google are, of course, giving customers the option to upload their own images to use as part of a theme.
In addition to allowing customers to upload their own images, the Google mail theme engine gives a choice of editing tools including blur, vignette and text background to make the image and messages cooperate and look great together. We have seen themes and theme engines reappearing throughout 2015 as the big name smartphone manufacturers of HTC, LG and Samsung incorporating theme engines into their own devices. You can access the new theme engine using the Settings cog on the Gmail screen, then selecting "Theme" from the drop down menu.
The other change within Gmail is the inclusion of emoji support. The idea behind the emoji is that it will simplify how customers express themselves; Google's blog writes that "Sometimes you just can't find the words to express how you're feeling over email." Google have included a huge collection of emojis and boasts that there's one "for just about every occasion." For the typists among us, you can insert an emoji by using the CTRL, SHIFT & 2 shortcut, or you can select on the icon using your cursor. Gmail already includes a large collection of somewhat dated-looking emoji and it isn't clear what will happen to these going forwards. As with other Google updates to its online services, this one may take a couple of days before it has gone live for your account, so if you don't see emoji and themes right away, check back a little later in the week and it should have appeared.