Notification applications can help you to continually keep track of your inbox by creating an icon in your menu bar. Especially on Mac OS X computers, the official Google Notifier, which we already talked about on MakeUseOf is used to exclusivity.
To most people it seems the only realistic software solution. Luckily, it is not.
Other more advanced applications allow you more complete control over both internal and visual aspects of your mail notifications.
Google+Growl is the application closest to the original Google Notifier. To be honest, it’s largely the same, and mostly the visual aspects are getting a workout. The application connects the Google Notifier to Growl notifications and offers a decidedly more advanced settings pane.
Here you can, among other things, change the notification title and body, load a snapshot from Apple’s Address Book, and specify what will happen when you click the email notification. Notification graphics should be changed in the Growl preference pane, which is a separate application, but can also be accessed by clicking the lowermost button.
If anything, GmailStatus looks even more plain than the official Google Notifier. A simple notification is displayed when you’ve got new emails, but no more than that. The notification does not show email snippets, or even the number of unread mails. After all, you already know that from the menu bar icon.
There are two major additions to GmailStatus. First and foremost, a more advanced settings pane, allowing you to open your inbox with a hotkey, and specify how often your inbox should be checked. Especially the latter one is a great improvement to the official Google Notifier, which can sometimes take ages to update your inbox count automatically. As can be seen on the above screenshot, GmailStatus also allows you to check the unread counts from your individual labels.
EXTRA: Another simple Google Notifier alternative is, actually a feed notifier, which uses your inbox’ Atom feeds to provide much of the same functionality, with added Growl support.
Notify has been covered in-depth on MakeUseOf before, but definitely deserves a place in this list. Read Notify – An Elegant Gmail New Email Notifier by Jackson for more information.
The application can be downloaded for free, but will miss most of the more advanced feature. As (simple) a mail notifier though, it works wonders. The first you’ll notice about Notify are its aesthetics. The design is both practical and pleasant for the eye. Although it offers a number of additional options within reach, it works just the same via a dropdown menu bar item.
Multiple mail accounts are represented by different tabs. When the dropdown menu is out, you can immediately see the separate unread counts and switch to and fro. The Mark, Delete, Move and Instant Reply features are sadly restricted to the full version. Alternatively, Notify can be used with Google Apps, Gmail IMAP, other IMAP mail services, RackSpace and MobileMe.
Do you use desktop mail notifications? Why or why not? Lets us know your take in the comments section below!
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