Google slowly and surely rolled out new thematic designs for Gmail yesterday, and though I'm not sure at this time, I think it is a new universal setting at this time. (Gmail's Phantasea theme at right)
I geeked out with Google themes last night, and discovered that if you choose certain themes, you are asked for your Country and City location, with text appearing on a mouse over explaining that the themes will change depending on your location. What's more, I have since learned that the themes chosen will also change during the day according to morning, noon, and night. I immediately changed my location to Gulu, Uganda, to throw Google and the Government off my scent. I know how these games are played, like reindeers.
The screen shot above shows three different Beach themes set at the locations of Manhattan, NYC, and Staten Island respectively, all from 6pm-ish. NYC is specific, and not the same as Manhattan, as sometimes the two locations had different designs, different as well if you chose Brooklyn or Staten Island for instance. I'm not sure what city above has the most pleasing beach. Staten Islands has a nice purple glow. Is the sun setting in Staten Island while it is rising in NYC?
I do know that Baghdad, Iraq has a very ominous beach, thanks to Google Themes. I also know that Gulu, Uganda has beautiful golden brown, sun baked mountains, while NYC has frozen, snow capped, inhospitable looking things.
What did the Tree Theme look like in different locales? Again, from 6pm-ish, Seattle is cloudy, Mexico City is has clear skies, and Manhattan is bright and sunny out.
The Tea House theme is getting dark in Brooklyn, it's late afternoon in Dallas, and later afternoon in San Fran. and evening has set in here in NYC. Across the pond, London's moon is rising.
A collection of these screen grabs is up at Flickr. Here is a Flickr set of every Google theme set to location NYC. Then I got bored with changing my location, switched it back to Gulu, Uganda, and shredded the draft of this post.