Extending Google Apps Mail With Gadgets

Gadgets within the Google Apps Gmail area allow for further customizing your workspace.  Typically, knowledge workers will work within email.  The less you have to move from this area, the better.  You can structure your interface as a central dashboard to other data as well using gadgets.

Adding Gadgets By URL

Gadgets are a Labs feature.  Thus, the feature must be enabled by simply going to the Settings -> Labs area and enabling:

This will provide a new submenu within the Settings area.  You can now add gadgets which are provided by third parties or Google by the respective url.  This will place them on the left side of your Gmail area:

 

Suggestions To Extend Gmail

You can search quickly to find developers that have provided tools to extend your setup.  ReadWriteWeb.com has five recommendations here.

I have a few which are great everyday tools:

  1. Bit.ly url shortener is great for posting to social media.
  2. Monitor Twitter feeds here to help you stay in tune with the feeds for Twitter as you are working.
  3. The SMS in Chat gadget within Google Labs can be enabled.  It is great for sending text messages to mobile phones from your desktop.

Search the web and you can find a variety of others.  If it is not useful, it can be discarded.  The goal is to keep your workspace streamlined and eliminate mouse-clicks and wasteful movements.

Each gadget can be typically tested for a week to see if it is worthwhile and integrates into your daily workflow.  Replace it if you find that you do not go to it often for content or using the tool for its purpose.

Keep productive by extending your central productivity area, your email in Google Apps.  As you structure your interface by moving things around, you will have a dashboard to operate from efficiently.

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