Improve Your Gmail Productivity
Gmail exploded onto the internet in 2004 (beta) offering users a whopping 1GB of storage. This was unheard of at the time with the largest email service Hotmail only offering a few megabytes of storage. Currently Gmail offers 7GB of free storage with competitors such as Hotmail offering 5GB of storage and Yahoo offering an unlimited amount.
Gmail is popular with business users due to how quick, reliable and customisable it is. In addition to the experimental add ons that Google offers through Google Labs, there are a lot of 3rd party tools and services that help you enhance gmail.
Today we would like to show you 25 great tools that will help you get more out of Googles pioneering email service, and ensure that your personal Gmail productivity rating remains high. Enjoy.
Let’s Get Productive
* Fun fact: Google purchased the Gmail domain from Garfield, who were using it as a free email service for their members.
1. Find Big Mail
Find Big Mail is a fantastic free service that helps you locate large emails in your Gmail inbox. All you have to do is enter your Gmail email address and then grant access to the service to check your account.
Once you have done so, you will receive an email advising you that they are processing your request and will email you again after 5 to 60 minutes once their search is complete (depending on your volume of emails). The email details your top 3 and top 20 messages by size. It also shows you the number of emails over 1mb, over 5mb and over 10mb. Each large email is linked, making it easy to review the email and check whether you need to keep it or not (or save the file elsewhere).
Pie charts are also displayed in your email and online. These show you the number of messages by size (small, over 1mb, over 5mb and over 10mb) and the corresponding space by size these messages take up.
It also adds labels to your Gmail sidebar that lists messages that are over 1mb, 5mb and 10mb. Find Big Mail is useful if you are nearing your maximum amount of storage and don’t want to upgrade.
A search tool that lets you search Gmail, Google Apps, Google Docs, Google Docs and Twitter. Once you have installed CloudMagic and refreshed your Gmail page, you will see a search box at the top of the page. This box can be moved anywhere on the page (as you see fit).
Search works in real time i.e. results appear as you type. You can view results from other services such as Google Docs instantly by simply changing the tab at the top of the box.
It’s worth checking out if you search through your inbox on a regular basis.
Do you find yourself checking Gmail frequently to see if you have new mail? If so, you may find the Google Web Checker (Chrome) and Gmail Watcher (Firefox) add-ons useful. Once installed, the apps will show add a Gmail icon to the top of your browser. Whenever you receive a new email the icon will be updated to let you know that you have received mail. A simple add on that’s very useful.
Better Gmail for Chrome and Firefox are great add ons that add a lot of great features to Gmail.
The exact features differ slightly between the Chrome and Firefox versions. Both versions highlight rows when you hover over messages, adds attachment icons to your Gmail page and help notify you of new messages using pop ups or sounds. The Chrome version also removes advertisements from your page.
5. Google Redesigned
Google Chrome & Firefox
A great extension for Chrome and Firefox that gives Gmail, and other Google services, a complete redesign. Worth trying out if you are bored the default design of Gmail.
It works with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Reader. You can disable or enable the design for each service individually.
6. Active Inbox
Google Chrome & Firefox
A productivity tool for Gmail that adds a lot of welcomed features. Active Inbox helps you prioritise tasks by allowing you to set which messages are top priority. Emails can be added to a to do list to help you plan what needs to be done.
Emails can also be assigned to projects and notes can be added to conversations too. In the Active Inbox bar at the top of the page, all of your to do items and projects are listed. It also lists those emails that are defined as high priority, emails that need to be tracked until completion and emails you are awaiting a reply on. All of these filters can be applied to emails within each message at the top which makes organising your workload much easier.
Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Mailplane
Replaces advertisements at the right hand side of Gmail with an informative profile of the person who has emailed you. It shows you their photo and information about what they do. It helps make new connections via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn too.
8. Boomerang for Gmail
Google Chrome & Firefox
A wonderful application that adds a ‘Send Later’ button to your message compose area. You can send the email in an hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, 2 days, 4 days, one week, 2 weeks or one month. Alternatively, you can also set the exact time the message can be sent or ask for help by clicking on the random time link.
You can also set reminders for important messages and if you don’t hear back from the contact, Boomerang will remind you to follow it up.
9. WiseStamp Email Signatures
Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari
This browser extension makes creating modern interactive signatures a breeze by enhancing your Gmail signature with social media icons and your latest tweets and Facebook posts. You can also add social icons, quotes, your latest ebay auctions, music and much more.
You can create as many different signatures as you want (personal, business 1, business 2 etc). A link is placed discretely at the bottom of each email unless you upgrade to a paid account ($ 36 per year).
Images can easily be inserted into signatures and you can place information in columns using tables. You can also edit the HTML source directly.
A great application that businesses will find useful. The service lets you share emails in a common shared folder so that other colleagues can easily reference important discussions and information.
11. The Email Game
Finding it hard to get motivated to clear your crowded inbox? You may find ‘The Email Game’ service useful. It times how long it takes you to address your unread emails. You can deal with emails right away by replying or forwarding them, boomerang posts or skip them and deal with them later, or archive or delete the email. Points are awarded for dealing with emails quicker, with 3 minutes being given to you for each reply.
Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Mailplane
Another game that aims to help you be more productive. oBoxer rewards points for clearing emails and writing them. You can compete against friends and the site lists weekly and daily leader boards for other users.
Time for Mail: Services That Improve Gmail Productivity Page 2
So far, so good? Well don’t quit now, there are still more great services that will help improve your Gmail productivity ahead. Here is the other half of the post.
The Productivity Continues
13. Send From Gmail
A simple extension for Chrome that makes Gmail your default email application. It also adds an icon to your browser so that you can easily share links via email. A no button version is also available if you don’t need the send email icon.
14. Remember The Milk
Google Chrome & Firefox
A cool task manager that works with Gmail, Google Calendar, Twitter, Outlook and a range of mobile devices. You can connect tasks to emails, contacts and Google Calendar and add tasks for starred items. When you update a task in the Gmail app it is instantly updated on the main website and on your mobile device. A Google Labs version is also available.
15. Smartr Inbox
Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Widows & Mac
A multi-platform application that builds an interactive contact book using your Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter contact information. Once you have created an account and connected your social media profiles, it will search through all your accounts and all of your emails and build profiles for everyone you have contacted.
Building your contact book can take 5-10 minutes, or a little longer if you have used a lot of your Gmail storage allocation. It’s worthwhile though. Once it has created the contact book you can easily search through contacts and see your relationship history, your recent emails and your friends in common.
An address book clean up tool that removes duplicates and similar contacts and allows you to merge contacts. Conflicting email addresses and phone numbers for contacts can be resolved and you can backup your address book too.
A free account allows you 250 contacts and an unlimited number of scrubs. You can pay a one time fee of $9.95 to clean up your address book if you exceed this amount or $24.95 per year if you need to clean it up on a regular basis.
17. Get Organizer
A personal assistant that organises your emails by removing clutter. It scans your inbox for commercial messages and social network updates that you do want to read at some point but don’t want them cluttering up your inbox.
Organizer checks your emails every hour and splits emails into high and low priority. Low priority emails can be delivered to you in a daily digest so that they can all be read easily at once.
18. Offline Google Mail
A cool Google Chrome extension that allows you to read, search and respond to your email. The design is based on Gmails tablet interface so is very user friendly. It’s a good app for anyone who loses their internet connection frequently.
19. Integrated Gmail
A Firefox extension that changes Gmail to show Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader and Google Labs all on the one page. Perfect for Gmail users who view their newsreader a lot or organise things via Google Calendar.
20. GMail Drive Shell Extension
Create a virtual drive of your Gmail account so that you can copy and retrieve files directly through Internet Explorer. If you add a new file to your Gmail drive, the script creates and email and posts it to your account. With over 7GB of free storage, Gmail is a useful way of storing files online via your operating system.
A great app that really should be integrated into Gmail itself. The extension allows you to save file attachments directly into your Google Docs account, making it much easier to find your important files.
A profile extension that works in a similar way to Rapportive. The app shows a profile picture and job title for each of your contacts together with links to their social media profiles, recent emails and notes. You can also set reminders for yourself to email someone if you haven’t spoke to them in a while.
Cross Platform (Uses Adobe AIR)
A stand alone application that lets you access Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Reader and Picasa Web Albums. It works pretty much like a browser and has all the features you would expect from accessing the services online. Although it hasn’t been updated since early 2009, it still works perfectly.
24. Attachments.me for Gmail
A fantastic attachment extension for Google Chrome that lets you manage your attachments with ease. When you search Gmail, attachments will be shown at the top of the page above other search results (in thumbnail format). This makes it easier to find your images and other attachments.
Attachments can also be uploaded directly to your Dropbox account without even leaving Gmail.
Last but certainly not least is arguably the greatest Gmail application ever made, the Street Fighter II checker is essentially the same as the regular mail checker with the exception of every email received being notified by a sound from the classic Street Fighter II video game.
Once installed, you will hear the classic ‘Hadouken’ fireball sound whenever you receive one email and the ‘Shoryuken’ dragon punch sound when you receive 2 or more emails at the same time. It never gets old!
Gmail is a great service on it’s own however many of these tools make the service even better. People who use Gmail for business spend a lot of time in their Gmail account therefore integrating advanced address books, task managers and other tools makes sense.
Be warned though that some tools don’t work great together. For example, the Smartr Inbox and Remember The Milk apps clash because they both try and update the right hand side of the Gmail page. Browser extensions are very easy to enable and disable though so it’s easy to resolve any issue like this.