Broken right-to-left writing in the new GMail compose interface


Dear Google, this is a cry for help.

It seems that the new GMail compose interface overrides Firefox’s Ctrl-Shift-X shortcut, which switches the writing direction. It also overrides the right-click->Switch writing direction function; it simply doesn’t do anything.

I cannot do this in Google Chrome either, because of bug 91178 – There seems to be no way to set an input’s direction on Linux nor Chrome OS.

I can probably switch the direction by using rich text, but using rich text has its own issues, and I usually want to send my email in plain text.

Dear Google, please fix this. I tried the new compose interface several times and I complained about this problem in emails to my googler friends. Unfortunately this is still not fixed, and starting from today I can’t go back to the old compose interface.

I understand, of course, that GMail is a free service that doesn’t come with a warranty. Dear Google, I am asking you a favor. You did, in fact, contribute quite a lot to the development of support for right-to-left languages on the Web. I am only asking you to keep this support good.

Thank you.

P.S. Dear Google, please ask Google employees who speak right-to-left languages to use Google products in these languages, and to write email in these languages. Dog-fooding is the best testing. Thank you, again.

4 Responses to “Broken right-to-left writing in the new GMail compose interface”

  1. 1 B.J. 2013-08-28 at 11:01

    Google claims to switching directions. A support page shows an image that looks like the new interface with a button to switch directions.

    The button didn’t appear for me, so I told Google the page was unhelpful and explained I didn’t see how to enable the button.

    Any other suggestions on how to complain to Google?

    • 2 aharoni 2013-08-28 at 20:25

      This might or might now work, but in any case this is only for rich text mode. It is not for plain text mode. I need direction switching for plain text mode. It only changes it for the sender and not for the receiver, but it’s nevertheless essential.

  2. 3 Anonymous 2013-08-29 at 01:52

    I submitted a Tech Evangelism bug on your behalf.

    Hopefully the member of the evangelism team I cc’ed on the bug has some Google contacts.

  3. 4 Shai 2013-08-29 at 19:56

    Gmail support of plaintext has been sub par for years. In fact, it has been on par — with Outlook. Both systems are opinionated, and their opinion is that mail should be rich text. Sad, but I don’t see how to change that.

    In particular, it’s not just BiDi that’s broken — whenever a GMailer answers a mail with quotations, breakage ensues. I can’t imagine that Google doesn’t know about this — they just don’t give a damn about plaintext.

    That is why I don’t use GMail, and advocate against its use (the servers are ok, it’s just the web client that’s broken).

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