Gmail's new chat-style compose tool said to be a time-saver

By on October 30, 2012, 6:00 PM

Up until now, referencing an old email while composing a new one in Gmail could be a chore in and of itself. You’d first have to save the current email as a draft, open the old message then reopen the draft to pick up where you left off. It may not seem like much time has been wasted but little steps like this can quickly chip away at valuable time, especially if you are on a tight schedule.

Google product manager Phil Sharp took to the official Gmail blog earlier today to detail some changes that have been made to the service’s compose feature designed to eliminate this exact issue.

The new compose now opens up in a separate window just like chats, only larger. This will make it much easier to reference older messages without having to save a draft of the current message first. Sharp points out that users can even perform a search or keep an eye open for new mail as it arrives.

Because the new compose works much like chats, you can also pen multiple emails at one time or minimize a message and finish writing it later.

Google also bundled a few other minor changes into the new compose. Now, when you add recipients to your message, you’ll see their profile picture in auto-complete to help locate the correct person faster. Other new features include the ability to add inline images inside of messages while replies now take up much less vertical height and intelligently expand to fit your content.

The changes are being rolled out as part of a preview starting today. Once the finishing touches have been added, Google plans to enable the new features for all users.

User Comments: 7

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ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

Its amazing how long it takes for us to think of simple solutions like these

MrAnderson said:

I tried it today. It was cool. Seemed like it would be functional in a single frame touch environment.

I'm not sure it takes time to think of it; it takes time to get it to work right, and behave similar on all the platforms. Also there is the nudge from the competition to encourage more interesting solutions to make you stand out.

psycros psycros said:

Its amazing how long it takes for us to think of simple solutions like these

LOL!!!! You mean restoring features that used to be industry-standard? My God, does everyone get an annual memory wipe these days?

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Perhaps an industry standard as far as a desktop app. But 'webmail' services have never had anything like that that I know of.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

What's with this "You'd first have to save the current email as a draft, open the old message then reopen the draft to pick up where you left off."

hmm; when configured correctly, the REPLY button inserts the existing email into the new reply where one can delete the cruft and add comments where appropriate.

consider: When the only tool in the tool box is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Devon_D Devon_D said:

Not to sound like a fanboy I really like seeing Google give its users a balance between user experience and security by implementing new features, one of which is the most important, 2FA which allows us to telesign into our accounts. I know some will claim this make things more complicated, but the slight inconvenience each time you log in is worth the confidence of knowing your info is secure. I'm hoping that more companies start to offer this awesome functionality. This should be a prerequisite to any system that wants to promote itself as being secure.

RajeGera RajeGera said:

Seems to be pretty useful features.

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