Gmail is already pretty great, but with the addition of a few carefully selected Google Chrome extension, you can get it to do so much more. Here are some of our favorites.
We typically don’t recommend using a lot of browser extensions because they can be a privacy nightmare. Still, it’s hard to resist extensions that can significantly improve things for you. We’ve checked out all these extensions ourselves, testing them, looking at their reputations among users, and favoring extensions that make their source code public when possible. Still, you should learn how to make sure Chrome extensions are safe before using them and use them sparingly.
FlowCrypt is an easy way to make sure any message you send from your Gmail account gets encrypted—even attachments!—using PGP encryption. FlowCrypt places a button on the UI that lets you compose a secure message when you click it. Once you and the recipient install FlowCrypt you can send encrypted messages to anyone on your contact list, whether they have FlowCrypt or not. If the recipient has FlowCrypt installed, messages are decrypted automatically when they’re opened on the other end. However, if they don’t have it installed, you have to create a one-time password which you should share not via email, for obvious reasons.
Discoverly is like a private eye for Gmail. Anytime you receive an email from an unknown person, it scours the internet, revealing the person’s Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, and even LinkedIn to show you who they are. Discoverly connects all the information from these sites and outs it together for you to see the person’s mutual connections, work info and position, and it even displays their tweets.
Note: For any information to appear, the sender must be using the email that they’ve associated with those accounts.
Did you know there are keyboard shortcuts for most things you can do in Gmail? Well, KeyRocket helps you learn all the shortcuts by prompting you with suggestions and shortcuts for actions you regularly do with a subtle notification when you could have used a shortcut instead of a series of mouse clicks. You can even create your own shortcuts if that makes it easier. You’ll be a Gmail power user in no time using KeyRocket.
KeyRocket is also available for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook from their website.
Sortd for Gmail
Sortd is the first ever smart skin for Gmail that lets you organize emails and tasks. It provides you with a seamless and intuitive way to sort and prioritize emails and tasks. It works like other task management services, by putting items into a kind of “to-do list” where you can drag and drop messages into different columns–or lists.
RELATED: The 8 Best Features in the New Gmail
PixelBlock is for those of us who don’t agree with all the tracking that’s going on these days when you’ve read someone’s email. The extension notifies you with a red eye on the message to indicate when a tracker attempt has been used to notify the sender if you have opened or read the email.
Checker Plus for Gmail is great for people who have more than one Gmail account they continuously switch back and forth between. It uses a handy drop-down menu right inside Chrome, along with desktop notifications to make it the quickest way to manage multiple emails without actually having to go to your Gmail inbox’s url. Some other features include voice notifications for when you’re away from the computer, monitor any Gmail or custom labels, and run in the background even when Chrome is closed.
Digify lets you manage the attachments you send to others with complete and utter control. You can send attachments, track who got them and if they were forwarded, or set an expiration date to prevent people from opening it past a specific date. You can even un-send an attachment and revoke a person’s permissions to view a file!
Two Great Features You No Longer Need Extensions For
Some of the best extensions aren’t actually extensions. The next two are web-based applications that give you the same functionality of an extension without having to download anything to your computer.
Gmail Offline is precisely what it sounds like. Gmail offline used to be an extension but now is an integrated part of your Gmail experience. With it, you can read, reply, and even search through all your messages without the need to connect to the internet. All you have to do is go into your Gmail settings and you’re on your way to viewing your inbox in offline mode.
Go to your Gmail inbox, click the settings cog in the top right, then click on “Settings.”
Next, click “Offline” at the top of the pane, then click “Enable Offline Mail.” Select the settings you want to enable, then click “Save Changes.”
Depending on the settings you chose, Gmail now stores everything for up to 90 days on your computer for you to access without an internet connection.
Gmail Right-Click Menu
One of Gmail’s new features lets you right-click any message to reveal a context menu of options to choose from, including reply, archive, delete, and mark a message as read, etc. This is something that’s been lacking from the web interface for quite some time and until recently, only had three options: delete, archive, and mark as read. Although this is a simple update, it comes as a way to make your life that much easier when dealing with emails in your Gmail inbox.
Users should start seeing this feature soon, as it is slowly being reported for personal Gmail accounts.
Those are just a few of the many great extensions available in the Chrome Store. Have a favorite extension we didn’t mention? Leave it in the comments below.