That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There’s always room for tweaks and modifications, and Chrome users have an endless lineup of extensions to use for that purpose. Not all of them are cool, but the ones listed here are!
Although Gmail is easy to use and generally functional in all the basic ways that a user needs, it can’t notify you that you have mail if you don’t have Gmail currently open in your browser. You could always have a Gmail browser window open, but that’s not a great way to stay productive!
Google Mail Checker and Mail Checker Plus solve this problem by adding notifications to Chrome. When you receive mail, the Google Mail Checker icon will show a number hovering above it, that number being the amount of new email in your inbox.
Mail Checker Plus adds a number of features on top of that including a pop-up notification with sound and an email preview. You can also click on the Mail Checker Plus icon to open a toolbar that lets you search your Gmail account, compose new mail, and perform a few other basic tasks.
Although the name implies social networking connectivity, Social Gmail’s true function is to add profile pictures and Gravatars next to emails, providing a visual way to recognize the sender. The pictures are quite small, of course, but this extension is a cool way to add some color, along with a personal feel, to your Gmail inbox.
One of the reasons for Gmail’s popularity is arguably its simplicity. Compared to a sprawling program like Outlook, Gmail is as simple as could be, and the interface is slick.
Still, Gmail’s interface isn’t entirely without clutter. There are advertisements, buttons for other Gmail services and web search, and more. Better Gmail can solve these problems by simply eliminating many of those distracting interface elements. When you install Better Gmail, you are presented with a list of options, allowing you to disable what you don’t want and keep what you do.
Not all of Better Gmail is aimed at getting rid of things, however. This extension can be used to add attachment-specific icons (i.e. a PDF will be represented by an Adobe PDF image rather than the generic paperclip) and also can add desktop notifications similar to Mail Checker Plus.
Like Better Gmail, Minimalist is an extension that lets you change the Gmail interface and get rid of things you don’t want to see. Unlike Better Gmail, however, Minimalist is (ironically) a sprawling extension with more options than you can shake a stick at. You can give input fields round corners, hide entire features or just select parts of features, enable a fixed custom width, and more.
Minimalist is pretty complex, and Better Gmail is an easier way to streamline Gmail if that’s all you interested in. Minimalist gives you a level of control that Better Gmail doesn’t, however, so check it out if you find that Better Gmail is lacking the options you’re looking for.
Emails are often more than just messages. They commonly contain information we need to keep track of, reminders of tasks we need to accomplish, or files that are important for certain projects. Unfortunately, Gmail is a bit lacking when it comes to organizing – and that’s where ActiveInbox steps in.
This extension lets you assign emails to project and task categories. Two new interface elements are introduced to accomplish this. One is a new sidebar that lets you view emails based on their status. The other is a small icon next to each individual email that brings up the ActiveInbox email view, from which you can assign emails to specific projects or categories.
ActiveInbox is great, but it’s also rather in-depth, so only those serious about organizing should download it.
As is often the case with extension articles, I’ve included the ones I liked the best, but was unable to include all of them, as there appears to be literally hundreds available. If you have a favorite Chrome extension for Gmail that isn’t listed here, let us know in the comments!