Google redesigns Gmail composer

How many times have you had to save and exit an email you’re writing in order to check something in another email? Soon, though, this will be a thing of the past.

Google’s now previewing a change to the way emails are composed so that they appear in a separate window, allowing other messages to be checked at the same time.

“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),” says Google product manager Phil Sharp.

“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.”

Google’s also added the ability to easily insert inline images, and now displays profile pictures in contact auto-suggest. More new features are promised in the coming months.

“You’ll also see these same changes when you respond to a message,” says Sharp.

“The reply experience has been designed to fit better inline as part of your conversation – replies take up much less vertical height, intelligently expand to fit your content, and always keep the recipients and other controls in view no matter how long your message gets.”

For the time being, the new features are available only as a preview for some users, but will gradually be extended to everyone. It also plans over time to include the ability to insert emoticons and event invitations, print drafts from the More menu and add labels to outgoing messages from the More menu.