A lot of us use Gmail. It’s the email of choice these days (yes, I know that Hotmail is still the leader in user total). But some of you may not know that there are actually a lot of add-ons available for Gmail – both from third-parties and from Google themselves via their Labs feature. If you haven’t checked out Labs the click on that beaker icon at the top of your Gmail screen. Here are three apps from third-parties.
Boomerang allows you to schedule your email – both sending and receiving. It’s a free download and there’s also a version for Outlook in case you’re stuck in that world.
It’s compatible with both Firefox (PC and Mac) and Chrome (PC and Mac). It allows you schedule when you receive email by providing a “Receive Later” button in Gmail. You choose a time when you want to deal with said message and that that prescribes time the message will be moved back to your Inbox. That’s nice, but more importantly, it provides a “Send Later” button for email that you compose. This can be really handy, especially if you have something like a mailing lsit for announcements. It allows you to get the message drafted and ready to go, but sends it when it will be relevant.
FollowUpThen is a free service that doesn’t even require a sign-up. It allows you to add a follow-up date or time in in the CC or BCC field of an email such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com oer Aug20@followupthen.com and it will then send a reminder if there has been no follow up. If you included the address in the CC field then the reminder will go to both you and the email recipient. If you used the BCC field then the reminder will go only to you and the recipient will never know. They will only send one reminder so you don’t need to worry about being overwhelmed. However some recipients may not be very receptive to have their email address given out to a third-party.
Some of you may already be familiar with Backupify. It actually does a lot more than backup just Gmail. It also backs up Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Docs, Picasa, Photobucket, Delicious, Hotmail, Friendfeed, Basecamp, Zoho, Blogger and WordPress. There’s also a business version that handles a little bit more. It’s easy to set up and once you’re done then backups are automatic. Every Friday I get an email telling me it has done a backup and the services it did. If you tried it early on after it’s launch in 2009 then you may have experienced some problems with Gmail, which initially recognized it as an attack and prompted users to change their Gmail password. But, that problem has been ironed out and it seems to be rock-steady now. I have not had to do a restore yet, but I’ve read over the process and it seems straight-forward. This may be the best, and most versatile of the three apps I just mentioned. And, as a bonus, it handles so much more than just Gmail.