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Gmail's getting a makeover that you can try now

Those of you not on Google+ can still get a chance to share in this week's Google mania.

Earlier this week, the Google blog promised that there would be a few tweaks coming to the Google homepage, Gmail and other Google applications. 

And voila! They're kicking things off by letting you test out a brand new Gmail layout. It has Google's signature coloring all over it, and looks sneakily similar to the insides of Google+.

The test theme comes comes in two flavors. "Preview (dense)" looks like a cleaner version of the "Classic" Gmail theme; "Preview" gives you the full treatment, with broader tabs and message panes and all.  

To convert to the new preview, head over to the Gmail settings gear icon in the top right corner, select Mail Settings, and look under "Themes," towards the end of the list.

Be warned, these are still test versions of the new look, so some features may end up looking a little odd.

Google Calendar is next to be spiffed up, and some users are already seeing the update. If you don't have it yet, fear not, it should roll out in a couple of days.

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Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science at Find her on Twitter and join our conversation (for now) on Facebook.