One of the lesser-known features of Gmail is its ability to help with multitasking. Frequently, I find that I need to find an old message while I'm composing an email. When this happens, I click on the "new window" icon to pop my compose area into its own window:

There's only one problem — it's been slow! Today, we're rolling out a change that will fix this (reload your account to make sure you get this change). Now, popping out a window is much, much faster. No more "Loading..." progress bar.

There are a number of places you can pop up new windows in Gmail.
  • In chat, there's the little upward arrow in the title bar:

  • When writing a message, hold the "Shift" key while you click on the Compose Mail, Reply, Reply All or Forward links and you'll get a new window for your new message. (Holding the "Shift" key while typing the keyboard shortcut — in other words typing "C" "R" or "F" — has the same effect.)

  • When you're reading your mail, hold the "Shift" key while you click on a message to open the conversation in a new window. (Same holds true for the "Shift" key and the "o" or "Enter" shortcuts.)

  • If you're reading an email and want to save it for later, you can click the "New window" link in the upper-right hand corner of the conversation view:

Keep in mind that the popped out window does not outlive the closing of the original Gmail window, although we're working on a way to make that better. Unfortunately, we weren't able to make this work in Internet Explorer, so to see the speed-up, you'll need to be using Mozilla Firefox, Apple's Safari, or Google Chrome.