[Guest post] Four Free Gmail Add-Ons

Somewhere around 100 million people use Gmail, and the development team are always tinkering with it, adding new features and tweaking old ones. One of the best things about it is the number of add-ons available, most of them free of charge. There are hundreds to choose from, but here are four of the best:

Canned Response Just about every email provider lets users set up an out-of-office autoreply, but the Google Labs Canned Response tool brings autoreply into the 21st Century. You can filter incoming messages by sender, title, or content and send out tailored autoreplies to each message. It’s great when you’d rather not give out vacation contact details to everyone.

The tool also lets you save message templates and insert them into outgoing emails with a couple of clicks. If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, store the answers as Canned Responses and save yourself some time. Any Gmail user get install the tool from the Google Labs page.

DragDropUpload is another timesaver. Instead of navigating through the file system and selecting the files you want to attach in the usual way, this add-on lets you drag and drop files into ‘attachment boxes’ it creates for you. It’s neat and very easy to use with Gmail and also works with Thunderbird and a handful of other email clients, but is only available for Firefox users so far.

GBooks is a cool open source tool that lets you store bookmarks on Gmail. That way it doesn’t matter where you log in from- it could be a friend’s house or an internet cafĂ© halfway across the world- all your bookmarks will be available. If your computer happens to die a sudden and painful death, your bookmarks will be safely stored online. GBooks works on all the major operating systems, and you can download it from the good people at SourceForge.

Rapportive brings social media information into Gmail and adds it to a contact profile. If you want to know who is emailing you and what they do, Rapportive can provide that information quickly and easily. Of course, it also provides quick and easy links to the social media profiles of people you already know.

It’s also handy if you’ve got a great memory for faces but have trouble with names, because the add-on will show you a profile picture for everyone who gets in touch, and you can also add your own notes for later use. If one of your important clients has an interest in football or reacts badly to criticism (for example), Rapportive can help you remember that and manage the relationship better.

Jess Spate is an independent business consultant who uses Gmail all day, every day. She works primarily in the travel industry, for clients like Timeshare Partners- a leading resource for anyone offering Wyndham timeshare for sale.


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