Google previews new Gmail compose interface, focusing on productivity

October 30, 2012
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Even with doomsdayers saying email is dead, the fact is that email is still an essential means of communication. Even with the popularity of IM, SMS and social networking, users still turn to email when signing up for online services.

But email has its inherent disadvantages, and services like Gmail have tried to innovate. For one, Gmail’s threaded view came with a learning curve when it was first introduced by Google. But conversation views made it easier to put emails into context. Google is gradually introducing changes to Gmail aimed at making it easier to communicate.

The latest change involves a new “compose” interface. Gmail developers are turning the compose interface into a popup window, very much similar to chat.

This makes it easy to reference any other emails without ever having to close your draft. You can even do a search or keep an eye on new mail as it comes in. And because the compose window works the same way as chats, you can write multiple messages at once and minimize a message to finish it later.

The new update is still in the works, though, and Gmail developers will be releasing these once ready. But the devs have already given us a sneak peek. Gmail seems to have taken a page out of the IM playbook. Here are a few highlights:

  • Popup window. Gmail compose will now be a popup window, which makes it easy to switch back and forth through other email conversations. The window automatically resizes depending on the length and size of the message.
  • Recipient avatars. You now see recipient avatars when adding contacts to the To, CC and BCC fields. The names also work similar to how you add names when sharing items on Google Plus.
  • Movable recipients. Recipients can now be moved across the To, CC and BCC fields.
  • Replying. The reply interface is also being revamped, which will automagically adjust to fit your content.

This update is rolling out in the next few months, as Google finishes up with polishing the new interface. This is for the web interface, though, but Google is probably working on improving its smartphone and tablet interfaces, too.

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