A few weeks ago, I migrated from Outlook to Gmail. Since I made the move, I’ve been exploring Chrome and Gmail extensions to find the ones that would best suit my needs. I’ve been relatively frugal in my choices, because I didn’t want to add too much at one time. For those of you who are curious, the following are the six add-ons I’ve found most useful so far.
Send and archive is by-far my favorite time-saving feature, because it’s just so obvious. When you send a reply to someone, you can hit the Send and archive button rather than just the send message and the original message is moved out of your inbox and into your archive file. Sweet.
This one is actually an option built into Gmail, promoted some time ago out of Gmail labs. Just go into Settings, and about halfway down the General tab is the option Show "Send & Archive" button in reply. Enable it. Nice!
Speaking of easy archiving, I’ve been all about getting and keeping my inbox clean. A very neat and simple extension is Actions for Gmail. This extension adds the little archive envelope icon to your mail list. If you don’t want to open a message and just save it, tap the button. Sure you could select a bunch, but for quick, selective archiving, this is a nice little capability.
It’s available from the Chrome Web Store and is free.
There are a bunch of extensions that allow you to tweak all sorts of elements of how Gmail works. Think TweekUI, but for Gmail. The one I’ve settled on (at least for now) is Gmelius. It has a laundry list of options that let you adjust all sorts of aspects of Gmail. My favorite feature is how it shrinks the header buttons to take less space. Some features don’t appear to work (like the unsubscribe button) and there is a freemium option.
Try it out at Gmelius.com.
Streak, which has one of the worst-possible SEO names, is another kitchen-sink add-on for Gmail. This one is supposed to add a bunch of email tracking/CRM features, but I don’t use all of them. One or two don’t seem to work (the snooze option, for example, doesn’t). But I really like the Pipelines feature, which lets you set up custom mail-flow pipelines in your Gmail. I use it for managing my research and writing projects, my review projects, and some family management. The neat factor is if you remember to assign all the related email messages to a project, you can see them all inside the stages of the pipeline. Yes, that’s sort of like labels, but oriented more to a project feel.
Streak is also freemium and the jury is still out whether I’ll sign up. I still don’t feel like the product is finished, but it’s very helpful. You can find Streak CRM at streak.com.
A while ago, I wrote a screed about how much I disliked modern CRM systems, Contact managers and CRM systems are incredibly stupid. The key sentence in that article was this: "What I want, honestly, is to just email a message to an address and have it automagically be entered into a database. Or just select some text and have that text automatically parsed, folded, and spindled, and sent to the appropriate record (with all the appropriate relationship information).”
Enter Evercontact. I will write a lot more about Evercontact when I talk about how I finally tamed my contacts, but here’s the thing: Evercontact automatically updates your Gmail (and Outlook, for that matter) contacts when you get new email. It parses out the fields, and drops it into your contact database. It sometimes gets confused, but in the main, it’s exactly what I was looking for back then. The Evercontact folks were kind enough to provide me access to each of their tools and I’ve been working with them for a number of months.
There’s a free Chrome extension that parses selected address information into fields, but the freemium up-sell, the automatic watching and updating of contact information, is pretty much priceless. You can find Evercontact at Evercontact.com.
Rapportive was recently purchased by LinkedIn, and it basically sticks a LinkedIn profile summary to the left of every email message. When it works (which is a theme for Gmail extensions, I’ve noticed), it’s really helpful. I can open up any email message, and sometimes I’ll see a picture of the person mailing me, along with background information.
I use LinkedIn a lot in my projects, so I can keep track of and understand the backgrounds of the people I work with. Rapportive puts a lot of that at the side of the Gmail screen, automagically.
Get it from Rapportive.com.