GNOME 3.2 improves the sleek GNOME 3.0 by adding refinements to the visual theme, fully integrated messaging, new contacts framework and integration, improved document management, a new onscreen keyboard in addition to a number of other improvements. It introduces the building blocks for new application experiences and the basis for integration of online services.
What is GNOME Shell?
GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for GNOME, like switching to windows and launching applications. User interface elements provided by GNOME Shell include the Panel at the top of the screen, the Activities Overview, and Message Tray at the bottom of the screen.