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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Google Chrome Tips and Tricks: Email notifications for Gmail

If your district is like our district and has moved away from using MS Outlook, and onto Gmail or Google Apps for Education, then you may feel a little frustrated with some of the features that Outlook has that you miss and wish you had with Gmail.  Well the good news is that so far I have been 100% successful in finding a way to do the same thing in Gmail, that I could do in Outlook.  I want to make a note though that Gmail is different, so the steps to accomplish the same task may be different.  If you install Google Chrome as your web browser then you can add a whole bunch of functionality to your Gmail.

One of the functions that many of my staff have missed was the ability to receive desktop notifications when you get an email; you know like getting a pop-up or a sound letting you know that "you got mail."  I personally don't really like hearing a noise when I get mail.  I get so much during the day that this can be annoying.  However, I just found a Google Chrome extension that has some really neat options on how and when you get a desktop notification.  I know that there are quite a few extensions out there that accomplish what this extension does, but so far this is the most user friendly and easiest to use that I have come across.

It is called, "Checker Plus for Gmail."

What does this Google Chrome extension accomplish?
  • Makes a sound when you have mail.  You can customize the sound.
  • Will check more than one email account.
  • Pops up a snippet of the email message.
  • Archive, read, and delete mail without having to switch back to your email screen.
  • Opens up "Mail to.." links from web pages.
    • Many of you might have trouble getting rid of Outlook, because when you click on a person's email address found on a website Windows tries to sent a message using Outlook instead of Gmail.
What are some disadvantages?
  • So far I haven't found any, I will list them here if I do.

Tutorial

1.  Make sure you are in the Google Chrome browser.
2.  Click on the "wrench" icon.



3.  Choose the "Options" option.

4.  Click the "Extensions" tab under the "Options" section found on the left side.
5.  Click the "Get more extensions" link.





6.  In the search box type in ? "Checker Plus for Gmail."

7.  Click the "Add to Google Chrome" button.

8.  Click the "Install" button.

9.  Once you have installed the extension, you will see a new icon next to your wrench.  Left click on it to see your messages.
10.  From this screen you can "Mark it as read," "Delete" it, mark it as "Spam," or "Archive," it.  Next to each message you will see a few icons that will allow you to "Star" it, "Open" it, or "Reply" to the message.  All without having to open up your Gmail.

11.  The easiest way to "configure" the settings of this extension is to "right" click on the icon and the click on the "Options" option.

12.  Under the "Notifications" tab you can change the sound, decide how long to view a popped up message, if you are away from your computer for more than a given time you can have a voice speak to you telling you the "Email subject" and "Hear the message."

13. Under the "General" tab you can add other options like the "Mailto" links  and the ability to compose a message right within the extension.

14.  There are a few other settings to explore under the "Accounts" and "Button" tab, but I didn't feel the need to discuss those simply because I don't know that I would actually use them, but you might and just need to explore these other options.


Well that is all there is to Google Chrome's "Checker Plus for Gmail" extension.  Let me know if there is any other options you would like me to explore to make your Gmail reading experience smoother.