Gmail's auto-complete is convenient when you know exactly who you're writing to, but adding lesser-known or oddly named contacts can be a pain. Gmail's new pop-up contact chooser makes digging your contacts' depths far less painful.
A click-to-pick contact chooser has long been a rare advantage of desktop email clients over Gmail in the interface department, and it's nice to see Gmail close that gap. Click on the To, CC or BCC links in a compose window, and you can add contacts, or pre-sorted groups, to your message recipients—without having to save a draft, head to contacts, copy a name, then head back to drafts. Pick the wrong name? Click on the contact name again to remove them.
Most convenient of all is the search function in the contact chooser, and the ability to select all the results that come up from a particular search. That makes it easy to, say, pick everyone you know from the Rochester Institute of Technology by searching rit.edu and picking everyone who comes up.
The big irk that some are noting is that Gmail's contact chooser opens in a new window, confounding Firefox users that have relegated new windows to tabs, and forcing those with pop-up blockers to set them to allow Gmail's chooser through. If you've found a convenient work-around to the pop-up window, let us know in the comments.