Gmail Assistant – and more

If you use Gmail half as much as I do, then I’ll bet you have more than one Gmail Account. We’ve covered the Gmail Notifier on this podcast in the past as a way to monitor your Gmail, but that only monitors one accountat a time. GmailAssistant is a notifier for multiple Gmail accounts. It accesses your Gmail accounts securely using IMAP over SSL.

You can choose from different notification options, such as unread mails in your inbox, all mails, or notification on messages with specific labels. Gmail Assistant also lets you choose from different alert methods like popup messages, a chime, and evening a keyboard LED blink.

Gmail Assistant runs on any OS with the Java Runtime Environment 6 or greater. You can get the JRE at http://java.sun.com/j2se. It’s free and open source, written in Java and released under GNU Public License version 2.

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Just a couple things for you iPhone users of Gmail via the Mail app. Apple recently changed thew ay the “delete” key works. If you tap the delete key, messages will be moved to the Trash folder and removed after 30 days. Also, after upgrading to version 1.1.3, your Gmail access will convert from POP access to IMAP, meaning actions you take on your iPhone will sync with actions taken on the Gmail web interface – for example, messages you read on your iPhone will show up as read in the web interface.

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Here’s a handy little tip I picked up in the past few weeks, the GoogleTalk instant messenger supports a status labeled “invisible”. It allows you to remain logged in to GTalk, but appear to others as if you are not online. This is often handy if you are having a private chat or voice conversation and don’t want to be interrupted. I have used this when conducting voice interviews for one of my other podcasts, Technorama.

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There has been some buzz around the net recently about the domain googlemail.com and it’s comparison to gmail.com. For all intents and purposes, you can use your same address @gmail.com with the domain @googlemail.com as a second account with the same delivery destination. Some people have chosen to give out their “@googlemail.com” to sites they suspect may pass it on to spam lists, thus they have a way of identifying where their email address went. Another way to do this is to add a plus sign (+) and some word after your name. For example: chuck.tomasi+pizza@gmail.com to indicate that you gave your Gmail address to a pizza place to enter a contest. You will still get your email, but the “+pizza” affords you the opportunity to filter it and label it. It’s worth noting that some sites will reject an email address with a plus sign as a valid email address, so be aware that this tip may not always work.

And since we’re on the topic of Gmail address modifiers, you can add dots anywhere in your email address. I usually tell people my address is chuck.tomasi@gmail.com, however chucktomasi (no dots) is also valid, as is c.h.u.c.k.t.o.m.a.s.i@gmail.com, but who wants to say that every time?

Updated: March 11, 2008: I thought I had a link to the Gmail Assistant. Sorry. Here it is: http://gmailassistant.sourceforge.net/

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3 Comments

  • Andy says:

    The 2 problems with the +description use is that most places won’t take the plus like you said and as spammers are actually fairly intelligent (or their scripts are) you are actually providing them with your real email address. It’s not rocket science to remove everything after the plus symbol to get the real address.

  • Mark in Memphis says:

    You tell us about Gmail Assistant, but do not mention where to get it…

  • Chuck Tomasi says:

    Well hijack my CSS and color me embarrassed! I thought I had that in the audio and transcript! It’s available at: http://gmailassistant.sourceforge.net/