Apple is not the only one taking design inspiration from its hugely popular iPad user interface to create better web-based products. Google is giving tablet user interface design a nod, too, with a new tablet-like email Preview Pane feature.

Gmail Preview Pane provides users with the ability to preview emails before opening them. The three-window panel layout also means that users can read or reply to one email while also being able to see a preview of any other email that land in their inbox.

“It’s probably a very familiar layout to those of you who have used Gmail on a tablet device. We also think it’s going to work especially well if you have a larger resolution screen,” notes Google Associate Product Manager Maciek Nowakowski.

The optional feature is not taking over inboxes just yet, but it reveals the extent to which tablets and touchscreen devices have begun to starting to influence desktop and web-based design.

The new feature is available through Google’s experimental features site, Gmail Labs, and can be tweaked to make the best of your screen real estate.

Apple recently gave developers a preview of its tablet-inspired web applications that will launch publicly as part of iCloud in the fall. iPad-inspired versions of Apple's Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Find My iPhone and iWork will feature prominently on the cloud-based service.