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back to article Google upgrades Gmail interface, now less 'drafty'

Google has begun a series of upgrades to its Gmail user interface, starting with a "compose and reply experience" that brings email composition much closer to an instant messaging format. When you're writing an email and you need to reference another message, the current system of saving to draft, searching for the new email, …

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GBE

Too bad you can't have multiple browser windows/tabs

You wouldn't need this feature if browsers allowed multiple

windows or tabs to be opened...

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Holmes

The #1 problem with email is NOT the interface. It's the SPAM

Is that a joke? It certainly works that way with Firefox, but maybe you're talking about Safari or IE?

Anyway, all of this puttering around the trivial issues ignores the ongoing #1 problem essentially unchanged. It's the spam, stupid! Live and let spam is perfectly okay with the spammers. They can always hope to catch you with their next scam or maybe snag you when you check for false positives. Hey, if you think your marginal cost is 0, then what's another million spam messages?

I still wish there was an email system that disrupted the spammers' business models. I want some spam-fighting tools that are so scary even the spammers learn to spam elsewhere because the email system will help shut down their dropboxes and websites. I'd volunteer a bit of my time to that cause, and it wouldn't take that many of us to swamp the few suckers the spammers are searching for.

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Headmaster

@ Shannon Jacobs - "Is that a joke?"

Yes, it was.

GBE should learn that not saying "BAZINGA" when required can be as confusing as bad spelling or punctuation :)

Hope that helps.

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Headmaster

Re: Too bad you can't have multiple browser windows/tabs

Click compose. To the right of the "To:" field is a little box with an arrow pointing to the upper right.

Click it. A new window opens with your to be composed message in it. All your other gmail goodness is available in the main window for your perusal. This option has been there for ages.

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Meh

Re: Too bad you can't have multiple browser windows/tabs

What type of tabs, do you mean Tabs like in current versions of Lotus iNotes (Or whatever they have renamed it to this release, oh dear here come the downvotes I said Lotus) where the web app itself manages its own set of tabs or do you mean click an email and it popup in a tab within the browser you are using?

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Joke

"Over the next couple of months, Google will add more features to the Gmail composition windows, including canned responses, inserting emoticons and event invitations..."

Sounds like Apple can use this.

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Closer to IM format ?

I beg to differ. Closer to desktop email clients would be nearer the mark, surely ?

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Pint

Re: Closer to IM format ?

I was going to say the same thing. I don't think of it as new, or even an upgrade. I have applications that do this already, and have done for a long time. Just not in my browser.

This is one of the reasons I don't like web based applications. They add something small and make it sound like a big deal, when it runs slower, has less functionality and is prone to more problems than its desktop equivalent.

Yay for progress!

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Re: Closer to IM format ?

Absolutely! I never used Gmail - and now I know why! This is what every other email client has been doing for - well - ever.

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Silver badge

Re: Closer to IM format ?

But those aren't Web 2.0.

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All my gmail messages refer to pizzas

Can't say I've ever had to refer back to one...

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sounds like Google is trying to create a desktop using html+js. we desperately needs those Intel's 48cores cpus.

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Silver badge

> we desperately needs those Intel's 48cores cpus.

You jest, but if cores were cheap and plentiful and good at web2.0, things could be better. One of the problems is that current systems are just not fast enough for browser apps.

I'm sure there would be plenty of admins would would love the idea of not having to install outlook or Office on each desktop. If you could do those in a browser I suspect we'd have a lot more people running of linux images - which is why MS won't ever do it properly.

Perhaps some cheap & power-saving ARM cores could do it...

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One of the problems is that browser apps are just not written optimally enough for current systems

There, fixed it for you

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Re: One of the problems is that Javascript sucks balls as a general-purpose language

Fixed it properly. Now stay fixed, dammit!

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Anonymous Coward

@P. Lee - Re: > we desperately needs those Intel's 48cores cpus.

Forget about Linux, any decent browser these days is able to recognize the OS it is running on and say "...you must have Windows in order to..."

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Meh

pants

I started getting this feature today & I hate it. I hate anything that pops up in my window. I've been using Gmail for nearly eight years now for personal mail & sometimes I even click on random adverts to send them some pennies for their product but it IS NOT an email client replacement. It probably never will be & I don't think it should

Sorry for the rant. I just really don't like stuff popping up in my email, especially when there is no way to close the box other than to keep typing. The only option is 'Get It' & you either click that link (who knows what happens) or just keep typing & it goes away. It doesn't tell you that you have an option & that signals a trap to me. I found out just by accident. How many will click the link because they don't see an X???

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Re: pants

Are you sure you read it right? I saw "I GET IT" as in 'yes i understand what you mean, now p*ss off so I can continue working the way i always have in a webmail interface', that is: Grouchily, and with bad grace. I only ever use it when I am away from my main PC. Really need to stop using POP3 and start using IMAP, then i'd never have to see the web interface except on my phone.

FWIW, when I clicked the "I get it" I was returned to the normal compose interface :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Gmail has a web interface?

Who knew? Who cares? And why would anyone use a web browser as an email client anyway?

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Re: Gmail has a web interface?

"Who knew? Who cares? And why would anyone use a web browser as an email client anyway?"

So that I can work with my personal e-mail while at work or at home?

D'uh?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gmail has a web interface?

"So that I can work with my personal e-mail while at work or at home?"

Why is a web browser is required for this?

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Re: Gmail has a web interface?

"Why is a web browser is required for this?"

Because not many employers (any?) care to have employees installing POP clients for personal e-mail on work computers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gmail has a web interface?

"Because not many employers (any?) care to have employees installing POP clients for personal e-mail on work computers."

Gmail is IMAP compatible and Thunderbird comes in a portable version that works very nicely with it.

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Re: Gmail has a web interface?

"Gmail is IMAP compatible and Thunderbird comes in a portable version that works very nicely with it."

Those same employers usually don't care for employees to be mucking about with the settings of corporate/office e-mail systems to access personal e-mail. Not to mention that the majority of the average person doesn't really understand how any of that works and is hard-pressed to follow a one-page set of instructions to set up their at-home e-mail client in the first place.

As far as portable clients go, you're greatly over-estimating the number of people that want a "mobile" e-mail client in the first place, and even more over-estimating the number of people that have the equipment to use one. Home and work. Percentage-wise that's all the majority of people care about.

But the biggest reason people use web-based clients is that they are simple and you can log in from (almost) any internet-connected computer in the world without having to deal with any sort of software install/set-up first.

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Re: Gmail has a web interface?

don't think Ive log on to the web version of Gmail in, I cant remember. Just get them pushed to my phone and have done for a good few years (and that not a CrapBerry)

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Anonymous Coward

@Killraven - Re: Gmail has a web interface?

Speaking about the people who don't understand how it works, I'm not losing any sleep for that matter. As I killed few of my brain cells learning about that stuff, they all could be bothered to do it too. If they don't, it is not my problem so I will retain only the rest of your arguments.

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Love / Hate

I rely on Gmail, and like it, but still tend to be beaffled by some of their designc hoices. Like no option to "Resend" a Sent message. Am Ia lone in finding this handy at least once a month??

Much like Android, I find Gmail to be 95% excellent. The other 5% though drives me to distraction.

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Anonymous Coward

The current system of saving to draft

"When you're writing an email and you need to reference another message, the current system of saving to draft, searching for the new email, getting the information, and then reopening the original draft, is a pain in the neck"

That's why I open two Windows in Gmail, besides using a browser for email was always a compromise, the main benefit being its portability ..

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How do i turn it off?

Have tried it out and don't like it. Plus it can be buggy with attachments.

Anyone know how I can turn this "feature" off?

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Re: How do i turn it off?

Start a new email, click the "More" down-arrow in the bottom-right of the compose pane, and select "Switch back to old compose".

I don't like it either, I don't understand what problem they're trying to solve. There's already an "In new window" button when composing mail, which will allow you to compose your mail in a popup window whilst you do whatever you damn well please with the rest of your display.

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Anonymous Coward

gmail should stop fucking around

dry that one out and you could fertilize your lawn with it.

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FAIL

(Mostly) Pointless

I've tried the new interface, and to be honest, I don't quite understand why they bothered.

When composing a new mail, yes, you can interact with the emails behind the new mail - but the new mail dialog covers up too much of the underlying list / mail to make that useful. And yet at the same time, the new dialog is too small for writing an email.

One nice feature though is that you can 'minimize' the dialog - allowing you to interact with the underlying emails better. And you can have multiple 'new message' dialogs (obviously, you would want to minimize any you aren't working on).

So, there are a couple of nice features, but they need to make the 'new message' dialog much bigger by default.

However, if you try to reply / forward an email, then they've also monkeyed around with that, doing nothing that I can see as useful. What they have done is also make the reply box far too small. If this had actually created a dialog like 'new message', then it might have been better.

In all, some interesting ideas that could be useful, but at the moment, it's not been thought through and is terribly half-baked.

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Just another annoying step...

...for people that are smart enough that when they want to reference an old e-mail, simply go to that old e-mail in the first place and go from there.

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FAIL

popout

Doesn't google know about it's own popout button on the corner of the current compose pane? This takes your current composition or message, opens it in a new window and allows you to mess around with your inbox, search for messages etc.

Why the need for this new, less functional google chat like interface?

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Facepalm

Re: popout

"Why the need for this new, less functional google chat like interface?"

Errr... because it IS a Google Chat like interface - they want to blur the line between email and chat. You may not like it but it is pretty obvious why they've done it.

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Pint

What ?!! An El Reg article on Google

that nowhere refers to the «chocolate factory» ! Congratulations, Ian - and many happy returns !...

Henri

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Stop

This is news?!

The website I test at work has just changed the helpline phone number.

Press releases going out soon!

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WTF?

UI tweaks... still no fix for basic bugs

Can't make an attachment running gmail in chrome.... its been like that for months. No problem in firefox. Someone at google HQ must be using chrome browser + gmail FFS!

Google: the new microsoft

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Mushroom

Re: UI tweaks... still no fix for basic bugs

I've never had any problems with attachments in GMail in the Chrome browser myself, must be something else wrong with your box.

Have you tried using Google to search to see if anyone else is experiencing something similar.

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Flame

Re: UI tweaks... still no fix for basic bugs

Here's a post on google's forum: it seems this person is using XP, I am using ubuntu .... so at the user end, the combo chrome+gmail is definitely what is at fault. If it works for you then hoorah.... but I'm not the only one it fails for.

http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gmail/JblYJUnk98Y

This isn't the place for an in-depth discussion of a puzzlingly non-fixed intermittent bug in gmail - but thanks anyway for the downvote based on a failed half-arsed attempt to replicate a bug in what must be one of the planet's most sprawling distributed software entities...

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Reverted back to the standard within seconds

Yeah, looked interesting.

Until noticed that:

1) doesn't work with Streak's CRM snippets (damn)

2) is stuck in the bottom right unless I do some kata moves to get the window to float

So, some fixes needed.

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WTF?

It's free but it's just nasty and I avoid using it even though I have been forced to get a gmail account for google play. I just don't like the on screen setup - esp the calendar.... I've an android phone so the calendar is useful but can you use the web version and press the ctrl key to create a copy when dragging an entry? Nope. You have to open it, then use the drop down box to duplicate then save, then drag to move. Pain in the arse if you have re-ocurring events everyday that you need to manage and record.

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Multiple addresses

I have several email addresses for various purposes, and changing it from the default is a right faff, click on "from" then the dropdown, then the address you want to send it from.

Old version, click on option list, select email, complete.

Changed back until it's forced on me.

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Okay, yay, great. Now, any word on getting an option to disable threading on the gmail client for Android? That WOULD be news.

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Anonymous Coward

Fix the massive bugs first!

More importantly PLEASE can the fix the Android client to stop displaying messages that are filtered deleted but happen to be in a conversation (or offer a way to permanently delete them).

Why oh why would you want to be notified about deleted mail and have it displayed on your phone/tablet when you don't in your normal client/web client?

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New Window!

As Manolo says above, if you're halfway through writing an email on Gmail, and need to refer to something else in Gmail, you simply click the 'new window' button on your compose screen. Your new email becomes a separate window so you can find what you're looking for in Gmail. Its been like this for AGES and I use it daily. The author of this review obviously isn't a frequent gmail user!

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Spam control

Google needs disposable email addresses like yahoo does. I know you can do trick with the "+" symbol but it doesn't help your email getting harvested or against dictionary attacks.

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Hate to say it, but it sounds like Google have

finally caught up to Outlook 97, or as it would likely have been known in these parts Outhouse 97.

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