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Gmail gets hundreds of themes and new emoji, kills off old square emoticons

Gmail gets hundreds of themes and new emoji, kills off old square emoticons

by AshwinJuly 1, 2015

Google is rolling out some changes to Gmail on the Web.


The first change is the addition of new themes.

Themes in Gmail aren’t new, they were first introduced back in 2008. Themes are basically just background images, which give Gmail a fancier look. The new themes added today however, are high resolution images. Some of these images were uploaded by the Mountain View Companies.

The best part however is that Gmail allows you to upload your own background images. This feature has been available since 2012. Gmail also provides some editing tools to make your images look better. Available tools include blur, vignette, and text background.

How to add a custom background in Gmail

1. Click on the Gear Icon in the top right corner.

2. Select the “Themes” option from the drop down menu.



3. A window should pop-up, click on the “My Photos” button in the bottom right corner.

This will allow you to select

  • Featured photos
  • Select a photo which you have previously uploaded to your Google
  • Upload a new photo
  • Paste an image URL
  • And pick a recently selected image


Upload a new photo and it will be set as your background theme. If you wish to edit an image, even those you did not upload, simply click the image and you will see the three editing options mentioned above.




Google adds new Emojis to Gmail:

Google has added new Emojis to its email service. Gmail now uses the same blob emojis as Google Hangouts, and its Android apps. This is what it looks like.


To insert an emoji, just click on the smiley button at the bottom of the compose window, and select any emoji you want to. There are several sets of emojis which includes, Animals, Vehicles, Food, etc.

You can still use regular text emoticons like 🙂 or 😛 and more, and Gmail will display them normally.

Square emoticons are no longer available:

Prior to these new emojis, Gmail had a lot of tiny square shaped emoticons. They were dated, but some of them were animated and were cute. These emoticons were only available in the Web version of Gmail.


Killing off the old square emoticons was a really bad idea.  As of now, there is absolutely no way to get them back, there is not even a Labs setting to enable them.

Do you like the new Emoji in Gmail? Even though I am an Android user, I prefer the emojis which Apple uses.

On a side note, Google Hangouts stickers are now available on PC.