I live in Gmail. In fact my entire life gets run by Gmail in every possible conceivable way (except for cooking my dinner which is the next Gmail feature that I am waiting for!). I am now running a little experiment to see how much information I can collate from inside Gmail without having to visit other sites. With a staggering 5GB of Gmail space, I think there’s no danger anytime soon of running out of space!
The key is to think of all the routine day-to-day things that you do online and then think “how can I do that from inside Gmail?”. Is there a RSS feed or other forwarding service that I can take advantage of? Are there any web services that can be accessed directly from an email ?
I have basically sent all the available RSS feeds to Yahoo Alerts which then get sent to my Yahoo account. Using Gmail’s “Get Mail From Other Accounts”, I have then had the Yahoo emails sent to my Gmail account (or anyone with a premium Yahoo account or Yahoo Webhosting account can have Yahoo emails automatically forwarded free of charge). A filter is then set up in Gmail to catch all these incoming emails so they are tagged and filtered right away.
But if you don’t have a Yahoo account and you don’t want to set one up to use Alerts, the same result can be achieved using RssFwd. But really you can do this with ANY email address – it doesn’t have to be Gmail. We here at Make Use Of just have a preference for it!
Receive contacts status updates from Facebook
Using Yahoo Alerts, I pulled the RSS feed from my Facebook Status Updates page and I now get all the status updates from my contacts emailed to me. No need to visit that page anymore! Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t provide the facility to update your Facebook status from your email yet.
Monitor eBay sellers new offers
If you go to a specific eBay seller’s page (where their offerings are listed), there is an orange RSS button at the bottom. Feed that RSS feed into Yahoo Alerts and have the seller’s new listings emailed to you as they appear on eBay. No need to go checking their listings on eBay anymore in the hopes of maybe finding something new. What would be perfect would be if eBay supplied RSS feeds for each category so you could monitor a category from your RSS feeder.
Sending all my Twitter updates via Gmail’s built in GTalk
Just add firstname.lastname@example.org as a contact in your GTalk application and then type your new status message in a new chat window. Once you send it, your Twitter page will update. No need to visit Twitter anymore!
Have Twitter updates from other people emailed to you
Using a service like Twitter Digest, you can have the status messages of all your Twitter contacts bundled into one RSS feed which can then be run through Yahoo Alerts which will then be emailed to you once a day. No need to check up on that again at Twitter. You can also have all your own Twitter updates included – so in 6 months, if you want to know what you were doing yesterday, you only have to search in Gmail! :-)
Have your Diggs, Stumbles and Del.icio.us links emailed to you (or someone else’s)
The chances of Digg, Stumbleupon and Del.icio.us going down are remote but at the same time it’s still good to have a backup of all your links in your Gmail account. Again, the same deal – run the RSS feeds through Yahoo Alerts or RSSfwd and have them emailed to you once a day. Or have someone else’s links emailed to you if you monitor them regularly. No need to go visiting their pages again!
Have direct links to Flickr photos sent to you
Every Flickr account has an RSS feed. So you can point that feed to your email and from then on, the direct links to every new Flickr photo will be emailed to you. Useful for finding a particular photo and helps to prevent you having to search through lots of photos on Flickr to find the one you’re looking for. You can also email photos directly to Flickr – no need to use uploading tools anymore! Sending them from Gmail also puts a copy in your “sent” folder which is a useful backup.
Have new iTunes releases sent to you
The Apple iTunes store has LOTS of RSS feeds – maybe you’d like new song releases emailed to you? No need to go browsing through Amazon or iTunes anymore. How about backing up your CD’s as mp3 files and then emailing them to yourself? With Gmail’s built-in MP3 player, you can play your music inside Gmail. Use a freeware tool such as CDex to make MP3 copies of your CD’s (perfectly legal as long as you don’t distribute the music to others).
Be notified of new additions to the Project Gutenberg library
If you download a lot of e-books, use this RSS feed link to get email updates of new e-book additions to the Gutenberg collection. No need to check the Gutenberg page anymore!
Post To Your Blog
If you have a Blogger blog, you can post from your email. Just go to the “email” tab under “settings” to set up your secret email posting address. Then write your post in Gmail and send. Something similar can be done on WordPress-powered blogs as well, just go to “Writing” tab under “Options”.
There are so many other possibilities but I will save them for another post. Anyone got any other ideas to add to the list? How do you use Gmail to run your online life?