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Gmail's facelift begins rolling out

Gmail is getting a facelift, one that the company previewed back in late June. now users will be able to switch, if they like, using the "Switch to the new look" link in the bottom-right of Gmail.

Naturally, as with most of Google's cloud-based service updates, the changes will roll out gradually, so don't be upset if your friend in New York City gets the change earlier than you in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seriously, however, it will take some time to hit everyone.

Among the changes:

Conversation view has been redesigned. Users will see profile images for their contacts, next to their name in the inbox.

Search gets improvements, with a dropdown from the search box providing fields for "from," "to," "subject," "has the words" and "doesn't have," "date within," and "has attachment," without having to go into the Advanced Search Settings.

Dynamic window resizing enables Gmail to adjust its columns anytime a Web browser window is resized.

You can adjust the "density" of Gmail's layout. The space between text and links can grow or shrink to fit one of three options which Google calls "comfortable," "cozy" or "compact," using a simple button click.

Using imagery from iStockphoto, Google has added a set of high-resolution themes. They've updated most of the old themes as well, and any already selected theme will be automatically carried over to its new look.

Google has also modified the leftside navigation panel; it now keeps your labels and chat contacts in view at all times. The panel is also more customizable; you can resize the labels and chat areas, or hide the chat area completely. In addition, you can navigate around the interface using the arrow keys.

Google has produced a video, embedded below. See if you want to upgrade your interface, or not, and look for the link in your Gmail app. One thing we've noticed: these things tend to come quicker if you logout and log back in.

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