Google will send Gmail’s basic HTML view sailing into the great beyond starting in January 2024, after which time everyone who uses it will be switched to the service’s far more modern “Standard” view. The change appears to have been announced around September 19th in a Google support article.
Though the vast majority of people use the Standard view on their PCs without question, the HTML version of Gmail has its perks. The stripped-down Gmail experience loads quickly, and users can access it even on very outdated machines or with much slower connections. Its leaner nature makes it useful in situations where the best you can muster is a 3G connection (3G died last year in the US, but still).
The Register reports a Google spokesperson as saying, “The Gmail Basic HTML views … were replaced by their modern successors 10+ years ago and do not include full feature functionality.”
Indeed, the HTML version doesn’t offer a lot of the functionality of modern Gmail, which some could consider to be a feature in and of itself. It has no chat, no spell checker, no ability to add or import contacts, and no support for rich-format text. It doesn’t have special keyboard shortcuts, nor can you use email aliases. It’s very much just email — your inbox, in the order emails were sent to you.