Google modifies Gmail, introduces a new “pop-up” compose-new-email window

Because I am a multitasking fiend, I have a habit of opening links using the middle mouse button so they open in new tabs. Once thing I’ve always found to be annoying with Gmail (yes, as good as Gmail is it isn’t perfect) is whenever you click on the red “COMPOSE” button, the compose-new-email page would always load in the current tab. This annoyed (annoys) the heck out of me because often times I need to reference other e-mails to send a new e-mail. I’m sure many people are in the same boat. Google apparently feels our pain and has modified Gmail to improve our experience. More specifically, compose-new-email windows now open in a “pop-up” dialog box as opposed to loading in your current tab.

What this new feature does is every time you hit the red “COMPOSE” button, a Gtalk-like pop-up dialog appears in the lower-right corner of your current window. However, this dialog box isn’t for chatting with your contacts but rather for writing e-mails. This dialog box makes it easier to write new e-mails without having to load a new page meaning not only can you now reference other e-mails or Gmail content while composing a new e-mail, but you don’t lose the e-mail when you load another page in Gmail; just like Gtalk chat boxes, the compose-new-email dialog box stays alive when you move between pages — it just minimizes itself when you load move to a different Gmail page and can be reaccessed by simply clicking the black tab that floats at the bottom of your window.

For the most part, this new compose dialog box offers you most the features you need to send e-mails. In other words, from this new compose dialog box, you can:

  • Send e-mails to one or more of your Gmail contacts plus the ability to cc and bcc;
  • Format text (font size, bold, underline, and bullets);
  • Add attachments;
  • Embed images and links;
  • Save drafts;
  • Discard drafts;
  • Use spell check;
  • Switch to plain text; and
  • Select which e-mail account you want to send the e-mail from, if you have your Gmail account linked to other accounts;

You also have the ability to manually resize the window, if you feel it is too small for you.

There are, however, features that are not yet available via this new compose window:

  • The ability to insert emoticons and Google Calendar event invites
  • The ability to print drafts
  • The ability to label outgoing messages
  • The ability to send read receipts (this is for Google Apps users only)
  • The ability to send canned responses

Aside from modifying the compose-new-email window, this new feature also changes how you reply or forward, too:

  • You now have to click on the recipients field to modify who you are replying you
  • You now have to click on the down arrow to modify if you want to reply, reply to all, forward, or modify subject
  • You can how respond inline to emails

This new compose feature is now live and can be used by anyone that wants to. You can activate it by logging into your Gmail account and clicking the red “COMPOSE” button. When you click the button you will then be asked if you want to use the new compose feature or not:

Click “Try it now” activates the new compose feature while “Not now” does not activate. If you select “Try it now” and later learn you don’t like it, you can revert back to the old way. Similarly, if you select “Now now” and want to try the new feature later, you can activate it later.

What do you think about the new Gmail change? Do you like it? Hate it? Indifferent? Let us know in the comments below!

[via Google]

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21 comments

  1. Beezer

    I do not like the new compose…..It may be fine for those who only text….But for others it stinks in that it rearranges your document and is far to small. I do not need to see the list of messages while I am composing a letter or message of any importance……Get me back to the former compose…PLEASE

    There is not a link to remove the new. It says there is but it only downloads more of the awful new compose….Why change something that is working fine. Especially when the replacement is not nearly as good in fact it is awful

  2. Lisa

    I dislike the new compose method. I often have many documents/files open at once, and don’t like that the compose email has to now be added to these — the windows task bar is already limited in how many files it can hold (especially when you’re doing research for a thesis, you can end up with a lot of files open at once!). I don’t understand why we’re being forced to go to the new method — would it be so hard to let the users pick which one works best for them?

  3. Hal

    there is nothing good about it at all, saves drafts automatic even if decided against it, tucks itself bottom right corner (can not remember when the last time I looked there).
    and i sure do not need it full screen…
    make simple and advance modes google….
    or even make basic and Paid(advanced) modes would even work, for those who really think they need all this garbage
    First we lose hotmail (last week), now gmail has to play….was not broken why break it.

  4. Roy

    I’m not sure why the entries in the TO box are sometimes underlined with a dotted, red underline and others are in a grey box that pops up info on the contact when the cursor is placed over it. Yes, all entries come from my contact list.

    I think the underlined happen when the email address is a ‘non-standard’ email address such as one beginning with a ‘+’

    Also, some of the addresses appear in the TO box as John Smith (penn.org) and others just as Jane Doe – Why is that?

  5. donjoe

    @steve:

    What he said.
    The functionality would be nice, but it’s broken and it keeps crashing my browser if – dog forbid – I ever try to delete the previous quoted e-mails from the new e-mail I’m trying to compose.
    I want it gone until it gets fixed.

  6. Mr.Dave

    Looks fine to me, it has everything I need AND lets me access other messages. I no longer need to “set up” a message in another program (add text, copy parts of other messages, look up what someone said in another message…) and then click Compose and paste everything in. I like it!

  7. lifeartist

    Its fine but being left handed I would like it to appear on the left side of the screen. In fact having the ability to be able to reverse most of the Gmail screen would be even better. How about next having the ability to organise emails alphabetically.