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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Gmail Puts Users on Notice

Hurray! Users of Google's new Gmail web-based mail service can now get new e-mail alerts with the Gmail Notifier. This small Windows application sits in the Windows system tray and pops up an unobtrusive message (a la MSN Messenger) that displays the message sender and message subject. Clicking the icon will take you straight to your Gmail inbox.

Google may be taking its time rolling out ancillary features for Gmail, but that's fine with me. Their notifier is much better than those offered by other portals.

For instance, the only way to get new e-mail alerts from Yahoo is to use the somewhat annoying Yahoo instant messenger. Most people just want an e-mail notifier, not all kinds of other crap, and Google gets that.

Why is this small gesture by Google so exciting? Well, the fact that users must manually check their e-mail is one of web mail's main weakenesses, and now Google solves this problem two different ways: by automatically checking your mail for you through automatic inbox refreshing and now with the Notifier, which alerts you to new mail even if you aren't logged in.

What will they think of next?

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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