Before today, your Gmail and Google Account profile images could be set independently of each other. Most people might have not been aware of this distinction, and Google is now combining them.
Under General > My picture in Gmail settings on the web, you can no longer set a profile image that only appears to contacts you email. Rolled out today, this preferences page just provides a preview and links to Google’s “About me” page.
Currently, profile pictures set in Gmail are only displayed in Gmail. This means your profile picture in Gmail may be different than your Google account profile photo, which can make it difficult to know which picture will be displayed where. This change simplifies things by allowing you to set a single profile picture in one place and then displaying that single photo across all Google apps.
If the Gmail and Google Account images are currently different, you will be prompted to “Use a single profile photo” from the About me page. Options with previews include:
- Use current Google account profile photo
- Convert Gmail photo to Google account profile photo
- Upload a new photo
Users can technically avoid this unification effort by just not visiting the About me page going forward. There are also ramifications for G Suite administrators:
This setting gives Admins who have disabled photo editability in their domain greater control, as users can no longer change their Gmail picture independently of their Google profile picture.