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I love google, I use gmail, but as a UX/UI designer I really hate how things work there. I'm sure that anyone who use gmail knows how sometimes it's difficult to find some particular message if you don't remember what subject it had.
Currently Gmail links all messages to subject chains and I'm not really married to such approach.
Messaging is a conversation between people and therefore, software should be built around people first.
When you open a conversation with a person or a group of people, you see the newest message in existing or new topic. Also, you can see all the topics you had with this person before and can briefly switch between them.
You can grab source file in case you have any ideas how this concept can be enhanced or if you just want to play around with the design.
Source File: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xh3gav515986ulf/gmail.psd?dl=0