Gmail rolls out new pop-out window for composing emails

Google changes the design of its email service, incorporates photos into contacts and changes how replies are displayed.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam

Google is previewing new Gmail features, including a pop-out email-composition box rolling out today.

The new pop out box works like a chat box -- you can write more than one email at a time and minimize a message box if you want to finish the email later, according to a blog post by product manager Phil Sharp.

"How many times have you been writing an email and had to reference something in another message? 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)," Sharp writes.

It's in preview right now, so not everyone is able to test it out. But those who can should see a "new compose experience" link next to the Labels button after they've started a new draft. Until the change is rolled out completely, those users will be able to switch back and forth between the new and old way.

In addition to the new compose box, Gmail's message replies will have a new format and replies will take up less vertical space. Other new features include the addition of profile pictures in the autocomplete bar when you're adding contacts to an email. You can also drag and drop addresses in between the to:, cc: and bcc: boxes and the address area automatically collapses once you're done filling it in.

Google plans to roll out the new features to everyone in the coming months.