“Get Gmail out of the browser tab. And start saving time. “
Today I want to talk about an application that have saved my life over the past two months: Mailplane.
Gmail is surely one of the most used mail services in the world.
Since Google has launched this service 5 years ago , after a first (and typical) period of skepticism, Gmail has been able to reach a large number of users due to its simple, clear and functional interface.
Not to mention the power and versatility of the available options .
Gmail, however,has been a regular “site” up to now: some people keep it in bookmarks, some keep an always open tab , but it’s still a site.
What would happen then if the power of Gmail were integrated into a desktop app?
Here comes Mailplane.
What it does
Mailplane is an application that gives you access to Gmail without the need of a browser.
The idea behind Mailplane is to fill the gap between Gmail and desktop, a lack that Google still (strangely) did not remedied.
Mailplane gives you the power to access to all Gmail accounts that you have, quickly switch between them, attach files from your Mac via a simple drag & drop and more, with all the future that Google provides to his service.
Mailplane is a sort of mini-browser, exclusively designed to access Gmail with all the obvious convenience of a desktop application.
From a user interface standpoint Mailplane is very sleek: nothing but a toolbar and a side retractable window with the list of the accounts.
Everything else is just Gmail.
The toolbar can be customized: we can decide to keep it blank or insert buttons like “New, Reply, Forward,” Spam,” “Archive”, “Delete” and many others. From this point of view Mailplame is very well done and manages to provide a good Cocoa appearance to the already excellent structure designed by Google.
The retractable tray can provide a list of currently configured accounts and allows you to change “on the go“ between them by double-click: for those who use more than one account and were forced to log-out many times from Google Accounts, this is a dream come true.
Each added account requires a subsequent https authentication (just as over the internet) but it keeps the password in memory without the need of having to enter it several times.
One of the greatest strengths of Mailplane is the ability to do virtually everything via keyboard shortcuts.
We can decide how to allocate and use shortcuts in order to save time with actions that would take too much time via mouse.
I find very useful CMD + L shortcut, which opens a Mac-style pop-up that allows you to choose which label to apply to selected messages. You can also add multilple labels and remove them from the same window.
A well organized inbox helps productivity and from this point of view Mailplane helps to save much time.
For example, if we need to attach files located in our Mac, rather than looking for them through the classic window we can simply drag & drop to attach them to the message.
Even in this case ,very user-friendly.
I wonder why other mail clients didn‘t do this before.
All of this without forgetting Labs, virtual laboratories where Google constantly tests new features to improve Gmail.
Being Mailplane nothing more than a desktop interface that accesses Gmail.com, all of these features are perfectly working. As you can see from the screens, I have enabled Maps and Twitter widgets via Labs , and there are lots of other options available. Not to mention that they are weekly updated.
Mailplane offers excellent support to this.
Beta version of the app (but it seems a final version, it‘s so stable) allows you to set up Google Gears to access offline version of Gmail which is very useful to organize, catalogue and tag messages when you do not have internet connection available.
All that is in Gmail, it’ll also in Mailplane.
Let me end this review with the mention of other options available:
- A powerful download manager ;
- Ability to take screenshots and attach them via mail;
- iPhoto integration ;
- Ability to attach files from almost any application on our Mac via the Media menu;
- Address Book integration;
- Icon designed by Jonas Rask.
If you use Gmail everyday and you have a Mac, buy Mailplane.
You will save a lot of time.
The single-user license of Mailplane costs $ 24.95 but you can download a free version for 30 days with all the features (!) unlocked.
http://mailplaneapp.com/ Home Site
http://mailplaneapp.com/features/ All features
http://mailplaneapp.com/screencasts/ Some screencasts