January 24, 2013

Gmail tools for productivity


To most (including me), Gmail is borderline magical. But it's not for the colorful labels and ever-increasing storage, no. It's for its plugin-friendly and modular nature. The number of Gmail tools to increase productivity that exist go on for miles. There are Google's own Labs features for the "experimental stuff" (although, they seem to work rather nicely) as well the litany of tools and plugins other companies (including ours) have created to make Gmail better.


Back in March, I wrote a little bit on which Gmail Lab features I was making the most use of. They were Undo Send*, Create Google Document, Send and Archive, and Sender Time Zone. Those are still some of my most used Labs features. Here are some I didn't mention back then:

    • Right-side chat - I've used this for as long as I can remember. And you're a person with a laundry list of labels and a lot of Gchat contacts, this makes a ton of sense.

    • Google Calendar widget - Like most, I want to see as much as possible, in as few steps as possible. And if I can somehow marry my calendar and email, that would be the perfect app. Luckily for me, having the calendar widget in Gmail is as close as it gets. You can see And this works wonderfully paired with Right-side chat. Labels and calendar on the left, chat on the right, and email smack in the middle.

Other tools and plugins

As previously mentioned, there are many tools you can utilize to spruce up your Gmail inbox. Most happen to be Chrome plugins, for those using other browsers.

    • Rapportive - If you're in a position to email a large number of people, the chances are that you may not know who all of them are. With this installed, if the person has a social media profile online, you'll be able to see it.

    • Boomerang - Within Contactually and with a ton of users, Rapportive and Boomerang appear to be the most popular of the pack. With Boomerang, you'll be able to send emails at a scheduled time, set reminders for emails that you want to revisit later, and get an alert when you haven't heard back from someone.

From the Contactually Community

    • Gmail Priority Inbox

    • Undo Send (Lab)

    • Gmail filters

*When we asked what Labs features our users loved using, Undo Send was far and away the winner.

Do you have a favorite Gmail tool? Let us know!