At Google's recent analyst day event the company announced that a new version of its four-year-old Gmail service will launch soon. Among the changes are a significant speed boost that comes from a JavaScript back-end rewrite, message pre-fetching, a new contact manager and further integration with other Google products.

Just today, some people have reportedly started seeing the new version of Gmail and judging by the screenshots and reports trickling in, the improvements are mostly under the hood. Other new features and enhancements include an option to import photos directly from Picasa, a new option to quickly create a filter based on the currently selected message, and a cleaner Google Talk contact popup. As with most Google upgrades, the new Gmail features appear to be rolling out slowly across the service.