Thursday 7 July 2016

Useful Gmail plug-ins

Your internet provider probably offers you a free email account, but if you use it you're tied to that provider. For that reason alone I always suggest people use a generic mail provider, allowing them to bargain-shop for internet providers as they choose.

To do this many people use gmail as their personal email provider, and I am no exception. Between the massive storage for your inbox (Google gives personal users 15GB of space) and the add-on apps you can find it's a hugely powerful tool.

 Gmail will accept individual emails up to 25MB in size, so you can receive some fairly large attachments. Added to that you have Google's powerful anti-spam service and it just makes for a great platform.

Great, but not perfect. Fortunately Google has set their service up so developers can create helpful add-ons that give even more functionality. Some are paid, many are free. I'm going to talk about 5 I find helpful in everyday life.

First we have MailTrack. This handy plug-in will notify you when an email has been read. A pop-up appears on your desktop letting you know the message has been read, who has read it, and if possible even what kind of device it was read on. (A friend who works for a large multinational was surprised when I asked him why his work still hadn't upgraded him from Windows 7)

MailTrack can let you know if the recipient clicked on any links you may have sent them, which I find handy at times when I am doing family tech support.

You have the option of receiving a daily summary listing all the email that has been opened or not, and links that have been clicked or not. 

Mailtrack has both free and paid subscriptions, I find the free service adequate for personal use. The control panel is straightforward and intuitive

The paid subscription removes an automatic signature that reads "Sent                                   with MailTrack" from your emails, however you can manually remove this.

Next we have Digify. This rather cool add-on has a little James Bond in it, and is made to give you control over your attachments. 

With Digify you can see who has opened an attachment you've sent, and how many times it's been opened. I'm sure some sales people I know love this aspect. 

Beyond that, you have the ability to un-send the attachment at any time, even after it's left your outbox. Handy if you meant to send an attachment to a friend and sent it to work by accident.

Finally Digify will let you send self-destructing attachments. You select how long the attachment should remain once opened and once the counter runs down the attachment is gone. Very Mission Impossible.

Ever wanted to schedule an email for later delivery, or be reminded if someone doesn't respond to it in a specified amount of time? Boomerang has you covered.

In addition to these handy features you can also "snooze" an incoming email. (make it disappear from the top of your inbox and reappear after a set time)

Ever wished you could read & respond to your gmail like you can with Outlook or other email clients? Now you can by installing Gmail Offline

This handy add-on lets you do just that. Installation is a snap and then you simply permit it to synchronize your mail while offline. Great for personal laptops, I wouldn't suggest it for your work laptop or a shard computer.

Wondering if someone is tracking the emails they are sending you? Check out UglyEmail. This add-on will show an eye with a slash through it (logo above) next to every incoming email that has a tracker in it. It won't stop the tracker from reporting back that you've read the email once you do, but at least you can make an informed decision on whether to open it or not, and when to open it. 

There are a ton of add-ons for gmail out there, with more being added to the Chrome store every day. Check them out and use the comments section to let me know if you found any that are really useful.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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