Google adds new chat box style compose and reply experience to Gmail

Google adds new chat box style compose and reply experience to Gmail
Gmail got a small yet noteworthy update that lets users compose mails straight from the Inbox. Users can check mails as they type, minimise their drafts and also compose two messages simultaneously.

The biggest advantage of this new compose experience is that it helps save time with the new message pane opening up within the Inbox itself like an enlarged chat window. This makes it much easier to scan through older messages without having to save a draft of the current message first. Earlier, you'd first have to save the current email as a draft, open the old message and then again reopen the draft to pick up where you left off.

Google product manager Phil Sharp announced the tweak in a blogpost highlighting the comfort and time saved with the new compose experience.

How many times have you been writing an email and had to reference something in another message? Saving a draft, opening the old email, and then reopening your draft wastes valuable minutes. The new compose pops up in a window, just like chats (only larger).

That said, you can easily type two or more messages at once, just as you'd have two or more chat windows open at the same time. You can even minimise messages as drafts and finish them later.

Replying to messages has also been improved with the replies occupying less space vertically and expanding automatically to fit your content. The recipients and other controls always stay in sight regardless of the message length.

Other new features include the addition of profile pictures in the autocomplete bar when you're adding contacts to an e-mail. This is helpful in finding the correct person much faster. Users can also drag and drop addresses in between the To:, CC: and Bcc: boxes and the address area automatically collapses once you're done filling it in.

The compose area appears in the bottom right corner of the screen with a cleaner, more simplified design. Users clicking the 'Compose' button will be greeted with a pop-up window giving them the option to try the new compose experience until the change becomes compulsory.

You can access various options at the bottom of the message window like  Send, Format, Attachment, Trash and a 'More' options' menu .

Google claims it is working on some more features that it says will be coming soon. These include:
  • Insert emoticons and event invitations
  • Print drafts from the More menu
  • Add labels to outgoing messages from the More menu
  • Send read receipts (Google Apps users only)
  • Canned responses
The search giant has been bringing new features and testing others every now and then. It integrated search with Gmail in August displaying results within a user's Gmail account for any data tied to a search request.

Earlier this month, Google introduced a field trial that lets users search across a variety of Google's products from just one search box. Google did mention that "this trial is only accessible in English and for addresses (not available on Google Apps accounts). Also the experiment may not be activated for everyone.

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Further reading: Gmail, Gmail new compose, Google
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