Hundreds of millions of people are now using Google Chrome as their primary Web browser, and a good chunk of those users have probably checked out extensions or Chrome Web apps by now. If you've ever wanted to share your favorites someplace -- like Twitter, Buzz, a favorite forum site, or even via your Gmail account -- there's a new extension out that makes the process dead simple.
Winning points for clarity with the name Share Extensions, the add-in will automatically create BBCode, HTML, Text, and Wiki markup detailing your chosen extensions. Each extension's Chrome Web Store URL is included, as is its name, and you can optionally include the developer's description as well.
I did have an issue sharing via Gmail when selecting several extensions at once, but the pop-up text generator worked just fine every time. Share Extensions also adds a browser action icon, but you can always right click to hide it or resize the action area and slide its icon behind the double-right arrows.
If you use access Gmail in Google Chrome on your computer, you can now view PDF attachments using Chrome's built-in viewer. The Chrome PDF plug-in is faster than the Google Docs previewer, its rendering accuracy is better, and you don't have to change settings anywhere for this to take effect. Just use Gmail in Google Chrome and the 'view' link will automatically open your file in the Chrome PDF viewer.
The change is also nice because Chrome's PDF plug-in actually lets you print, unlike the previewer which can only manage recursion printing (it generates a PDF of your PDF).
Google Chrome: We're visual creatures, and sifting through an entire inbox organized only by text isn't exactly pretty. Chrome extension SocialGmail adds contact thumbnails to your inbox, so you can more easily recognize who that new message is from. More »
With the exception of the super important ability to print Gmail messages from the cloud, I haven't been focusing on the passel little Gmail features of late (such as the new unread message icon or the search-as-you-type).
I'm making an exception today to discuss the new HTML5 desktop notifications that alert Google Chrome users when a new e-mail or chat message arrives.
This is a great little tool. I've noticed that when I receive alerts to my Motorola Droid X, the phone belches out "Droid" and I know I have a new Gmail messages or Groupon alerts. When I look at the phone, I can see icons for updates across the top.
I press and swipe down to see alerts. So I thought it be cool for Google to do this for my Gmail and chat messages in Chrome.
Alerts come in a pop-up at the lower right-hand corner of the screen like you see on the right. What's great about them is they're not terribly annoying as alerts can be. Just click on them and the e-mail message pops open to let you respond.
Unlike Microsoft Outlook 2007 e-mail alerts that sit there forever and interrupt your work flow if you're mousing around in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, when Gmail Chrome alerts show up, you can click on them or ignore them and they go away quickly.
The idea is that you don't miss messages coming in, which is key for folks who live in Gmail like I do. Viva la HTML5, the technology making this possible.
To turn them on in your Gmail account, click on the Settings link in the top right corner of Gmail.
Then scroll down to the "Desktop Notifications" section, and choose whether you want to receiver alerts about chat messages, any e-mail message or just notifications for important messages The options look like this:
Google said the tool is currently only available for Chrome, but that it's working to bring notifications to other browsers, presumably Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Well this is awesome: Gmail just added desktop notifications for new mail and chats, baked directly into Chrome. Here's how it works. More »
If you reload your Gmail tab, you should be prompted to enable the desktop notifications -- otherwise, head into Settings, scroll down to Desktop Notifications, and choose what kind of notifications you want. You can currently toggle chat, new mail, and new important mail -- but presumably, you'll be able to select which labels will produce notifications.
Google Chrome's security padlock is freaking me out. When I'm on sites that should be secure—like, say, Gmail—Chrome is giving me warnings that the page isn't secure. What's going on here? More »
Gmail interface tweaks tend to be all or nothing: you either keep the standard Gmail interface with all its bells, whistles and distractions, or you hide all the links and sidebar doodads at once. The Minimalist Gmail Chrome extension is different: it gives you control over 40+ individual elements of the Gmail interface, from the top bar all the way down to the footer.
Minimalist Gmail is mainly useful for hiding parts of the interface that don't do anything for you: the invites box (why is this still around, anyway?), the legal section in the footer, the links at the top to other Google sites, and virtually anything else you can think of. It's got other perks, too: you can replace the links in the Google Bar with custom links of your own. Mousing over each option will show you the part of the interface it affects, so you can see what you're about to hide.
Lifehacker calls Minimalist Gmail "the best Gmail tweaker for Chrome yet," and they're probably right. With this many individual options for fine-tuning, individual obsessives will find certainly find something to nitpick here, but the average user who's annoyed with Gmail clutter will absolutely love Minimalist Gmail.
Chrome: Adding extra features to Gmail isn't a new idea, but Minimalist Gmail for Chrome is the best tweaker yet: You can hide items, add row highlights, and even change the five Google links at the
Google made a minor tweak to the Gmail navigation links recently -- moving Photos into a more prominent spot and Reader into the More drop-down. While I wasn't particularly concerned (I've got Firefox hotkeys wired to most of my bookmarks for fast mouse-free access), the change created quite a stir on Twitter.
But as is usually the case, enthusiasts who don't want to accept changes on their favorite Web sites have already responded. If you want your Reader link back and you're using Google Chrome, grab the Put Reader Back extension. Once installed, just reload your Gmail tab to see the change.
The Gmail team has just announced five new themes for Gmail:
- Basic Black: Shown above, it's a bare bones high-contrast theme; it's actually quite soothing.
- Basic White: It's the same as Basic Black, only in white.
- Android: This one seems like kind of a shameless marketing move (where's the "iPhone" theme?), but it's really a nice theme. You get a subtle circuit-board pattern up top, with a tiny Android hanging off of the Chat pane. It's very reminiscent of the Android theme for Google Chrome.
- Tree Tops: It's exactly what it sounds like. You get a bunch of foliage in the header, and the whole thing is very green. It's not particularly exciting.
- Marker: This theme takes a highlighter to Gmail. It basically makes it look as if the Chat window and various headers are just "markered in" by hand. This one is actually the coolest - I think I'll be keeping it.
The themes are already available for both Gmail and Google Apps users. Try them out, and if you can't decide you can always just click Random at the bottom right corner!
I've received almost 4,000 emails from Twitter, and I only know that because Graph Your Inbox told me so. Graph Your Inbox is a Google Chrome extension that reveals the stats about your Gmail account in graph form, based on any search you want, without even asking for your username and password.
Just fire up this Chrome extension, enter some search terms (boolean searches and Gmail advanced searches work, too), and away you go. Figuring out how many Twitter followers or Facebook emails you've received over time is just one possibility. You could search for a friend's email address and get an instant graph of your relationship (your email relationship, anyway), or you could see if you've been getting more emails from work lately.
Graph Your Inbox is a powerful tool that gives you a new way of looking at your Gmail account, and it's a lot of fun. It's a bummer that it only works with Chrome right now, though.
Chrome: Graph Your Inbox is a fascinating Chrome extension that takes Gmail search queries and returns a graph displaying email frequency over time. It may not sound sexy, but it can expose all sorts of interesting things about your communication. More »
Curious what Google’s Gmail Priority Inbox means for those of us that use an IMAP or POP client like Mac Mail or the Mail function on an iPhone? Well as of yet the feature is not fully enabled on either IMAP or POP-compatible third party or mobile clients, leaving a large percentage of people who hate viewing email a standard web browser out in the cold.
If you try to use the service in Mac Mail right now the emails determined by the Priority Inbox algorithm to be “Important” are sent to an “Important” folder under Gmail. In order to reach them in Mail for the iPhone you also have to search for the “Important” folder under your Gmail account folder.
For those who are looking for a free/cheap ways to make international call, Google has recently released the Gmail Call Phone feature that you can use to make phone call to any numbers in the World in your Gmail. I believe that most of you will have already played with it, and some of you (who are not located in the United States) might have even locked your account accidentally.
For those who are not aware of the incident, if you are not located in United States, and you click the “Upgrade your account” in the Google Voice dashboard, you will get the error message ”Google Voice is not available in your country”.