If you are seeing an email address in the upper right, then you have no photo, as you are not a Google + user. The grid you refer to is the Apps menu, which allows you to switch between Google products, and should give you a dropdown box with the icons of many of the products you use.
- First, is your browser up to date? If not, then update it. Does that help?
- If not, then next, clear your browser cache and cookies. Does that help?
- Do you use Windows 8? If so set your Win8 Theme to default. Some Windows 8 Themes break some browsers. Does that help?
- If not, then check for bad browser extensions/add-ons next
- Start Firefox in Safe Mode
- Open an Incognito Window in Chrome
- Start Internet Explorer in an InPrivate window
- In Safari choose the Private Browsing option
These will all disable your add-ons/extensions. If that fixes the problem then you need to disable all your extensions/add-ons manually and then add them back till things break again, and then you will know you have found the culprit! Disable that particular add-on/extension permanently to solve your problem.
It that doesn’t help either, then start Gmail without any of your enabled labs – sometimes they can cause conflicts. Use https://mail.google.com/
mail/?labs=0to do that
If you still have the error, then temporarily disable your virus checker (if you have one) and see if that changes matters
If nothing at all helps, then try another browser to see if the behaviour persists
You can also switch to Basic HTML and see if the behaviour persists – use https://mail.google.com/mail/?
ui=htmlto do that