Gmail has been around for almost a decade now and millions of users around the world still use it today. Yet, despite being backed by Google, Gmail is still a service that’s rather skimpy on the features. Fortunately, if you still want to use Gmail in your browser, there are a number of great plugins that will transform your Gmail experience right away.
If you use a third-party client like Thunderbird or Postbox, you may want to reconsider. There are benefits to using nothing more than a browser to access your emails and these plugins will almost make it worth it. But if you want to stick with your client programs, that’s cool too.
Integrated Gmail is a simple Firefox addon that splits the Gmail interface into collapsible sections, allowing you to close and expand different parts to maximize your screen estate. In addition, it integrates a number of Gmail programs into the Gmail inbox - Calendar, Tasks, Notebooks, Groups, Maps, and more. With it, you can turn your inbox into a central hub for all of your Google-related activity.
This plugin is very convenient – installing it won’t even require you to restart your Firefox – and it’s the perfect combination of flexibility and efficiency.
For those of you that want a more comprehensive reworking to your Gmail’s inner gears, Gmelius may be the plugin that you need. Staying true to its tagline – no ads and better interface for Gmail – Gmelius delivers by stripping away those pesky ads and giving you the flexibility to change and remove portions of the Gmail interface within minutes.
Some of the features that you can enable or disable:
- Remove ads.
- Clicking on the Gmail logo takes you back to the Inbox.
- Remove Chat and/or the statuses of people in Chat.
- Remove People list.
- Remove footer.
- Move around attachment icon and label positions.
Not even five minutes after installation, my Gmail looks so much cleaner and more sleek than it ever has. And to top it all off, you won’t need to restart your browser after installing. It’s always nice when an addon does that.
For a more comprehensive overview, check out Justin’s Gmelius overview.
Have you ever received an email from someone whose name you recognized but you weren’t exactly sure how you recognized them? Rapportive was built to alleviate problems like that. When viewing an email, Rapportive considers the email’s context, pulls up a bunch of information about relevant contacts, and displays it right in the sidebar for easy viewing.
Rapportive displays information like profile photos, location, vocation, latest tweets, and other social networking details. You can also jot down notes about people and Rapportive will keep track of them for you. By connecting your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking profile, you can expand the realm from which Rapportive pulls its data.
If you deal with a lot of personal or business emails on a regular basis and it has become hard for you to connect faces with names, then Rapportive may be the plugin to change your emailing life. Aaron has reviewed Rapportive, so check it out if you’re interested (yes, he reviewed the Chrome version, but the versions are very similar).
Taskforce is a cool addon that converts your emails into tasks. If an email is urgent, you can set it as an urgent task that you need to deal with right away, but if it isn’t so urgent, you can add it to your Calendar and deal with it when the time comes. These tasks will sync with Google Calendar if you allow them.
The Taskforce addon is linked to your Taskforce account, so you’ll need to create one of those if you want to use it. For $5 USD per month, you can upgrade to Taskforce Pro, which unlocks: multiple task lists, synchronization with Google Tasks, drag-and-drop ordering for priorities, recurring tasks, and keyboard shortcuts.
When signing up for the first time, you’ll have a free 30-day trial of Taskforce Pro. Taskforce is also available as a mobile site, so the tasks that you convert from your emails can be viewed on-the-go.
When you’re drowning in emails all day long, it can become a frustrating experience having to keep track of everything that needs to be sent out. Plus, you may forget to make important responses and jeopardize a relationship – personal or business – that you’ve been working to build. Right Inbox is an automation addon that will take a huge load off of your shoulders.
For every email you send, you can specify a future date and time and Right Inbox will schedule it for you. This is positively wonderful when you have time to write a reply now but won’t be around to send it at the optimal time. Right Inbox can also track when your sent emails are read and when links in your emails are clicked. You can also set reminders on emails for a specific time, or even if someone doesn’t reply after a time period.
The free version of Right Inbox is limited to 10 scheduled, 10 read-tracked, and 10 click-tracked emails per month as well as 10 email reminders per month. For $5 USD per month, you can upgrade to an unlimited plan, or pay for an entire year and get 20% off.
Gmail is a great service but with these Firefox addons – some of which appear on our Best Firefox Addons page – you’ll be able to turn it into an excellent service. I’m aware these five addons don’t address every lack in Gmail but it’s a good start to supercharging your inbox. If you have any other Firefox Gmail addons that deserve a mention, please share with us in the comments!