Extending Gmail
August 9, 2004 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Gmail Apps I'm a self-described GMail addict and overall Google product whore, so this page of applications for Gmail has me doing the happy dance.
posted by JJBotter (34 comments total)
Holy crap! I have a GMail account, but haven't used it for anything but "testing" mails to a couple of people. I'm amazed - delighted, too - that someone has done this, and expanded the GMail horizons. I'm not sure that I understand even half of what the tools are or will do, but I'm impressed nonetheless. Very cool.
posted by davidmsc at 6:01 PM on August 9, 2004

Great find.
posted by Salmonberry at 6:24 PM on August 9, 2004

For anyone trying to get the OS X Mail.app > Gmail scripts to work, it looks like the script in step 1. is now offline, so the script in step 2. has nothing to reference. Workarounds? Or am I misunderstanding the instructions?

I haven't been using my Gmail account either, other than to send invitations to MeFi members (no), simply because there hasn't been an easy way to send all of my old mail there. This looks promising, if I can get it to work.
posted by emelenjr at 6:28 PM on August 9, 2004

Thanks. That gCount program is very useful!
posted by dobbs at 6:45 PM on August 9, 2004

I'm still not sure why GMail is so great, but I'm hoping it is....
posted by ParisParamus at 6:57 PM on August 9, 2004

Another great tool is G-mailto (win|mac), which redirects mailto: links to Gmail.
posted by O9scar at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2004

My favorite GMail utilities are Gmailstatus and gCount, which add a menu item showing the number of unread messages in Gmail. Right now Gmailstatus has the edge, since it shows the unread count for each label.
posted by mike3k at 7:53 PM on August 9, 2004

O9scar: exactly what I was looking for!
posted by Utilitaritron at 7:55 PM on August 9, 2004

gmail rocks.
the interface and logic is just so much better than the older apps.

I, for one, WELCOME our new google overlords.
posted by Espoo2 at 9:54 PM on August 9, 2004

The login method in libgmail is currently broken. I guess that means I'm going to get some sleep tonight.

Drat and double drat.
posted by amery at 9:56 PM on August 9, 2004

Wow, now I too can use these to upgrade my google brand gmail account. Super-de-duper.
posted by Quartermass at 11:47 PM on August 9, 2004

gtray is super cool.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:14 AM on August 10, 2004

I have a Gmail account - and I find it less easy to use that Yahoo's free service.

For example, when I hit "contacts" it shows me my addresses all right, but I can't select people and then compose an email! Seems stupid that Gmail doesn't have this feature.

I'm not very computer savvy, admitted. But at this present point in time, Yahoo is waaay more intuitive and easy to use when compared to Gmail. Even at a mere(!) 100mb, I still prefer my Yahoo account.

ps: Nice link JJB. I'll bookmark it and try and figure out what it all means.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:55 AM on August 10, 2004

I still want gmail to support IMAP...
posted by Karmakaze at 7:00 AM on August 10, 2004

Uncanny: there are a bunch of other things I find lacking in the current release. For example, there's no easy way to delete an attachment without also deleting the message it came with, and attachments seem to fill up the storage quota disproportionate to their size. But I expect these issues to be addressed over time as the system gets up and running and begins to evolve in response to user feedback.

In the meantime, I've migrated completely to gMail, as I see this as the future of email. The standout features?

1. Having access to *all* your messages from anywhere on the web.

2. Being able to instantly pull out a single email by searching for a single unique or nearly unique key word in the message text. This has already paid off when I've been on the phone to a customer and have been able to get up to speed with what our past correspondence was while I'm talking to them.

3. Easy reporting of spam, and the expectation that the continuing reports by all users in the system will allow Google to keep the upper hand. I've already seen a dramatic reduction in spam, even though I'm forwarding all the email I receive at my old, incredibly spam laden address. (2 per day vs. 30 per day).
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:30 AM on August 10, 2004

Turtles, out of curiousity: what is it about Google's implementation of those three features that you find so compelling? There are several other services that provide exactly those same features, just not with the Google "branding" - so what's the attraction?
posted by JollyWanker at 7:35 AM on August 10, 2004

I second what uncanny says, and I'll add to it, because I see mostly positive reviews of Gmail, which surprises me. My main email account is on Hotmail, where (I'm embarrassed to say) I pay $20 per year to have a measly 10 megabytes. What I get is fairly reliable mail that I can access from anywhere, which I also rely on for work. If it goes down for more than a few minutes it makes world headlines.

I was waiting and praying to have a Gmail account, mainly so I could stop worrying about my mailbox filling up, but also because I figured Google would Do Mail Right. When I finally got my account via a friend, I was immediately quite disappointed. So disappointed that I generally began to doubt Google's savviness.

The main reason I dislike Gmail is not its many missing features but the fact that it relies so heavily on frames and Javascript. It feels like someone's stupid web tricks project, a great technical idea whose implementation is piloted by some lame marketing droid. So, for example, you can't use the keyboard and tab to links by default. This approach is so counter to Google's simpler-is-better approach to searching that I'm baffled. What were they thinking?

I hope I'm wrong, because I still have an image of Google as great force for good on the Internet (in a technical and aesthetic sense). They promised a plain HTML version (why didn't they start with that?). In the meantime, the honeymoon is over. I have Google to thank for Hotmail now giving me 2 gigabytes for my yearly $20 bucks, so thanks, and good luck.
posted by Turtle at 7:53 AM on August 10, 2004

JollyWanker: to be totally honest, I was attracted to GMail initially for the cachet of having the account as well as curiosity at what the new service offered. I had avoided other web based email services because I'd tried them in the early days and found that with the limited storage capacity in an individual account I ended up spending a lot of time deleting emails and still didn't have access to all my archived messages, meaning I still had to maintain my own email application. With other services increasing individual accounts' storage capacity they may be just as good, but at this point gMail works for me.

Turtle: sorry for stepping on your name! I didn't know that username existed when I signed up.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:10 AM on August 10, 2004

Has anyone gotten Gmail working with Opera? I know it's not listed on their Browser Requirements page, but a boy can dream, right?
posted by bachelor#3 at 8:14 AM on August 10, 2004

uncanny, you can just start typing someone's name or e-mail address in the "To:" field, and it'll pop up a list of all the contacts that fit what you've typed so far. Select one, and you're on your way.
posted by Vidiot at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2004

so when are they opening it up to us unwashed masses? i'd like to try it one day. i'm not sure i can trust any service that can't count to 10, however.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2004

Turtle, gmail actually has the only webmail UI I find usable, period - mostly because of the keyboard shortcuts. I hate using the mouse. (Before gmail, I used a plain-text unix mail reader so I didn't have to take my hands off the keyboard.)
posted by lbergstr at 9:50 AM on August 10, 2004

Care to elaborate mrgrimm? I see the full spectrum 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 in the correct order on your linked page.
posted by Mitheral at 10:34 AM on August 10, 2004

I feel so dirty asking this, but does anyone have any invites?
posted by stopgap at 11:44 AM on August 10, 2004

stopgap: sent.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:11 PM on August 10, 2004

bachelor: Opera support is listed as We'll try. Why this should be hard is a mystery to me.

lbergstr: I tried using the keyboard again on Gmail. It is kind of nifty and fast (and brings back memories of rogue and vi), but it's very non-standard. Tab and Backspace don't do what they usually do in a browser, and the Back button doesn't work (what is this, Flash?). I can't imagine many non-geek people will have the patience to learn this.

Turtles: No problem, your name is lovely.
posted by Turtle at 12:12 PM on August 10, 2004

I like gmail but it's missing two things I really want: The ability to automatically go to the next message after reading an email without having to go to the inbox first. And a keyboard shortcut for deleting. Or am I just missing how to do these things?
posted by haqspan at 1:13 PM on August 10, 2004

Use the keyboard shortcuts. 'k' will take you to the next message. 'y' will archive the message. 'y' then 'o' archives then moves to the next message. It is true you can't delete entirely with keyboard shortcuts, because they don't want you to bother deleting. But you can archive.
posted by litlnemo at 1:37 PM on August 10, 2004

I'm with you on that, Haqspan. It's really, really, REALLY irritating that one has to use a menu to delete.
posted by apollonia6 at 2:11 PM on August 10, 2004

Like stopgap, I want to join the cool kid's table. Please be my invite enabler.
posted by spatula at 4:04 PM on August 10, 2004

Turtle: I agree that breaking the Back button is nearly unforgiveable. I don't care about the Tab and Backspace keys.

So the question is: which is more esoteric and useless, tabbing through links or vi-style keyboard shortcuts? We'll see...
posted by lbergstr at 5:00 PM on August 10, 2004

> Tab and Backspace don't do what they usually do
> in a browser, and the Back button doesn't work

Actually this morning they seem to work a bit better. Maybe the Google God is watching...
posted by Turtle at 11:26 PM on August 10, 2004

I find that my suggestions to the Google staff don't go unnoticed. Maybe it's because I've had a Blogger account since two days after it opened, but they seem to take user suggestions very seriously.

Me? I'll never use another mail service again.
posted by JJBotter at 5:59 AM on August 11, 2004

Thanks for the advice. Although, when I Use the keyboard shortcuts. 'k' will take you to the next message. 'k' takes me back to the inbox. Looking closely at the instructions, it appears 'n' takes you to the next message, but only if you're in a conversation.
posted by haqspan at 10:53 AM on August 11, 2004

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