Google Improving Gmail With New Multi-Message Capabilities

 
 
By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2012-10-31
 
 
 

Google's Gmail users will soon be relieved of the frustration that often occurred when they couldn't open or compose multiple messages at the same time.

Instead, Gmail users are getting a key upgrade—they’ll soon finally be able to open or compose multiple email messages in separate windows on their screen, just like other mail applications have been doing for a long time.

The new message-composing capabilities were rolled out by Google in a preview version Oct. 30, according to a post by Phil Sharp, the product manager for Gmail, on the Official Gmail Blog. "After we've added some finishing touches over the coming months, we’ll enable it for everyone," wrote Sharp.

The new composing features will certainly be a welcome addition for any Gmail user who has suffered in silence when they couldn't do something as simple as write several email messages at one time or couldn't refer to a previously received email in their inbox.

Google apparently got the message.

"How many times have you been writing an email and had to reference something in another message?" Sharp asked. "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 means that users will now be able to search and reference other emails without having to close draft messages they are writing.

"The new compose is designed to let you focus on what's important: your message," wrote Sharp."The controls are still there when you need them but get out of the way when you don’t. We’ve even added some new features like the ability to easily insert in-line images and have more to come."

Another upcoming new feature when the composing improvements are fully integrated is that users will be able to see profile pictures of their contacts as they type their names or email addresses into  the autocomplete window, which will help users find the right recipients faster.

Users will also be able to drag and drop the new address chips between to:, cc: and bcc:, and then when the addressing is completed, the address area collapses automatically to get out of the way.

The same features will soon arrive when users are responding to incoming messages, according to Sharp. "The reply experience has been designed to fit better in-line 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."

The upcoming changes will also apply to Gmail users who access the service through Google Apps and Google Apps for Business, Government and Education, according to Google.

Earlier in October, Google expanded a "field trial" it began back in August that lets users try out a new service—the ability to find their information faster when searching, whether the information is in a Google Search or even buried somewhere in the user's Gmail account.

The initial Google Search field trial began Aug. 8, when the company began allowing users to find answers to their search queries in their own Gmail accounts.

Google is always looking for new ways of improving search for its users. In August, Google also announced the pending arrival of Google Search's own enhanced version of an Apple Siri-like voice-recognition system for iOS users on Apple iPhones and iPads so users can conduct more accurate Google Web searches using voice commands.

The Google Voice Search service, which was already available for Android users, allows users to get an answer by verbally asking a question through a user's Android device, just like Siri does for iOS users.

In July, Google bumped up its Gmail Chat capabilities to allow users to have simultaneous video chats with up to nine people when the participants log in through their Google+ accounts. Now called Google+ Hangouts, the improved capabilities replace the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology.

Google's Gmail Voice and Video Chat have been around since November 2011 when the company unveiled them to expand its email services to users. The features allowed users to converse with and see their contacts on their computers in real time. One big feature of the service at that time was that users could initiate their video chat sessions right from Gmail without moving to another application.

Rocket Fuel