Gmail’s barebones HTML view will be in the grave by January 2024

The HTML view within Gmail, that many users still use, and which presents your mail in a pretty basic, barebones format, will be dead by end of January next year. Google didn’t announce anything as such, but updated their support page to reflect the same. “You can display Gmail on your browser in Basic HTML view until January 2024”, it now says.

Several users across Hacker News also reported receiving emails from Google about the same. The email reads,

We’re writing to let you know that the Gmail Basic HTML view for desktop web and mobile web will be disabled starting early January 2024. The Gmail Basic HTML views are previous versions of Gmail that were replaced by their modern successors 10+ years ago and do not include full Gmail feature functionality.

While the HTML view does lack some critically required features such as Chat, search filters, formatting etc., it has been super helpful when you want to check your emails in low connectivity areas. Several pockets of the world, specially during instances such as adventure travelling, have minimal to no connectivity. The HTML view has been useful in such scenarios.

The dead-end to the HTML view isn’t a complete surprise though, considering Gmail has been showing a message for quite some time. “You’re about to use a version of Gmail designed for slower connections and legacy browsers. To get all of Gmail’s features, including inbox categories, images and quick actions, please use the latest version of Gmail (recommended)”, it says when you open HTML.

With Gmail getting super-powered with Bard AI and several generative AI features, the HTML version might not make sense. But then, it is a useful mode to have and it is not clear if Google plans to introduce a new low-network/low-data mode.

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