Thursday 1 November 2012

Redesigned Gmail compose box opens like a 'larger' chat window

Mails, unlike instant messaging services, tend to become a lengthy process. It becomes cumbersome when one has to keep switching between viewing older mails for reference, saving the current mail as a draft and searching for that mail from last month. Google seems to have eased that bit with its redesigned compose feature on Gmail. Composing an email now is quicker, for the compose box opens just like a chat window would, albeit larger. In its official Gmail blog post, Phil Sharp, Google’s Product Manager, shares that with this new design, it is possible to keep the compose mail box open and still look for older mails for reference. This way, users can also keep an eye out for newer mails. Sharp writes, “The new compose is designed to let you focus on what's important: your message.”

What this means is all the controls will still be accessible, but won't come in the user's way when not needed. Users can now also easily insert inline images, and Google promises that there is more to come.

Interestingly, now when users add recipients to their messages, profile pictures of their contacts will show up in autocomplete, letting them be sure of sending mails to the intended recepient. Users can drag and drop the new address chips between to:, cc: and bcc:. Once users are done adding recipients, the address bar collapses automatically.

Google further shares that the redesigned experience of the Compose box has been extended to the response mails that users receive. Users will be able to spot the same changes. "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," adds Sharp.

Users will be able to spot the preview of the redesigned Compose box, and Google shares that once it's done adding finishing touches to the redesign, it will enable it for everyone.

Recently, Google shared that users can now view results from Google Drive, Google Calendar, and more, in addition to the relevant emails. This is a part of a field trial currently underway for users with accounts, or those on in English. Also, the search strings of the participants on will return relevant emails, files, content on Gmail and Google Drive, in addition to regular search results.

Those who are part of the experiment will be able to view relevant Gmail messages and other shared links in their search results. Users will also be able to get information and statuses pertaining to their upcoming flights. Likewise, they will also be able to search documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other files stored on Google Drive.

Over the past couple of days, a lot has been happening on the Gmail side of things. Google recently updated its Google+ app for Android as well as iOS devices. The search giant also brought in a variety of handy features to the updated version of Google Drive for Android devices. Google may be readying an update for Gmail for Android as well, which will be version number 4.2. In this update, Google is speculated to bring in very useful features such as pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete or swipe-to-archive.

At around the same time, Google added over a hundred new virtual keyboards, transliteration tools and input method editors (IMEs) to Gmail, according to a post on the Google Blog. With the new additions, you can type in the language and keyboard layout of your choice. The languages can be changed with a single click. This update takes the count of input languages supported by Google to 75.

To enable the feature, check the box located next to 'Enable input tools' under Language in Settings. Once you have enabled it, you’ll see the 'input tools' icon next to the Settings button in the toolbar; you can turn on or off any input tool from there.

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