Google modifies compose in Gmail
Google a few minutes ago announced a change affecting their popular email service Gmail. The change affects how you compose emails when you use the interface on the Google Mail website. Previously, when you wanted to compose an email, the compose interface opened up directly on the page making it difficulty to quickly open another email while composing or running a search to find a particular email that you wanted to reference. Most Gmail users probably opened the service in two tabs or two browser windows if they needed to compose and work with the interface at the same time.
The new Gmail compose opens in a window on the screen, much like chat does, only larger. Since it only takes up part of the browser window, it is possible to use all the underlying controls of the Gmail page. You can take a look at new emails that just came in, run a search or perform any other kind of action that is available while using Gmail.
You can minimize compose windows at anytime to write multiple messages at once on the same screen. That's not the only change coming to the compose feature. When you add recipients to emails you will now see profile snapshots - when available - in the suggestion list so that you can identify recipients by that and not only by email or user name.
You are probably asking yourself where all the formatting options went. They are still available but not displayed by default. Just click on the A icon to access them in the compose window. Here is a quick rundown of all features of the compose window right now:
- Recipients: Enter one or multiple recipients. Use CC or BCC links to add recipients to these.
- Text Formating: Click on the A icon
- Attachments: Click on the attachment icon
- Insert Options: Click on the + icon to add photos, links, emoticons and Google Calendar events.
- Discard: The trash icon discards the draft.
- More Options: Opens a menu with tools such as spell check, plain text format emails, printing and adding labels.
Emails are automatically saved while you are writing them. The save now button has been removed and is no longer available because of it. Drafts are also automatically saved when you close the compose window.
Changes have also been made when you are replying or forwarding emails:
- Click into the recipient field to see all recipients when you are replying to an email.
- Click on the arrow to check and change the type of response between reply, reply all or forward.
- To change the subject, click on the arrow next to the recipient's name and select start separate conversation
- To see the previous message in the reply, click on the Show trimmed content icon to display it.
Some features are not yet available:
- 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 new compose window is currently only available as a preview. This preview is rolled out later today. To switch to the new compose window, you need to click on the new compose window experience link after you have clicked on the compose button on the Gmail website. To go back click Compose to open the new compose window, there the More Menu under the down arrow icon and there on Switch back to old compose.
It is likely that the new Gmail compose window will make it simpler for the bulk of users. Advanced users on the other hand who often use features that were readily available directly on the compose screen may now notice that they have to click more often to use some of the features.Advertisement