Google’s Gmail is the No. 3 webmail service in the world, behind Yahoo Mail and Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail, but it has been growing quickly. Now the company is pushing ahead with an overhaul designed to give its web interface broader appeal.

After previewing the new look in July, the company today announced additional changes and started giving users the opportunity to switch to the new design.

In addition to a cleaner look, the changes include a new conversation view, the ability to quickly change the density of the messages in the inbox, new background themes, a customizable left navigation pane and a new advanced search panel that can drop down from the search box.

Here’s a look at the latest numbers from comScore Networks, showing the trends as of September. Note especially the year-over-year surge by Gmail.

Worldwide Visitors, Age 15+ Home/Work Location Total Unique Visitors (000)
Sep-2010 Sep-2011 % Change
Total Internet : Total Audience 1,294,784 1,420,316 10
Services – e-mail 843,577 909,421 8
Windows Live Hotmail 361,731 335,159 -7
Yahoo! Mail 273,102 303,170 11
Google Gmail 193,319 266,636 38
AOL Email 30,674 30,825 0

Previously: After beating back spam, Microsoft takes on the rest of the crap in your inbox


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  • Benjamin Lukoff

    I far prefer Gmail’s current interface to those of Yahoo! and Hotmail. I hope these changes are for the better.

  • Matt Scoble

    After ignoring users and user experience for years, the Gmail team is finally stepping up their game.  I like the changes and find it increasingly easier to use.

  • Guest

    I think I speak for all Gmail users when I say I don’t care how many people use Yahoo! or Hotmail. The intelligent shall use Gmail and need no “cleaned up” version to make the most of it. The masses shall use Yahoo! or Hotmail. They won’t like it, but they don’t know any better.

    Think about it. When’s the last time you met someone of any importance whose e-mail ended in “at hotmail dot com”?

  • Mike Mathieu

    Too bad they’re not fixing Contacts search in gmail. It’s the main thing that keeps me pining away for Outlook. I mean is it too much to ask the leading search company to able to search my contacts in simple ways like by city or state or free text rather than only the start of words?

  • Jason Gerard Clauss

    The whole reason Hotmail and Yahoo have improved the way they have is because GMail was kicking ass this whole time. Hell, Facebook’s recent UX improvements (the first in I can’t remember how long) probably wouldn’t have happened without G+ giving them a scare.

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