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Google Releases Gmail Notifier

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the service-with-a-smile dept.

Google 445

Philipp Lenssen writes "After several unofficial, screen-scraping Gmail utilities, Google now released the official Gmail Notifier (Beta) for Windows. It will sit in the Windows tray, alerting you of new emails in your account (if you are lucky enough to have one already). Additionally, the Gmail Notifier can connect 'mailto:'-links in web pages to Gmail."

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this is awesome (4, Insightful)

m2bord (781676) | about 10 years ago | (#10022104)

this is just one of the tools i've been waiting for. now if only gmail could have a "save as draft" feature...i can switch from my current webmail provider to gmail.

Re:this is awesome (1)

brotherscrim (617899) | about 10 years ago | (#10022307)

just send the email to yourself.

You got mail! (5, Funny)

cwebb1977 (650175) | about 10 years ago | (#10022106)

When will it learn to say "You got mail!" ?

Re:You got mail! (2, Funny)

ack154 (591432) | about 10 years ago | (#10022139)

You mean "You've got Gmail!" right?

Re:You got mail! (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about 10 years ago | (#10022280)

Probably more like "You've G'mail!"

Re:You got mail! (5, Funny)

allism (457899) | about 10 years ago | (#10022380)

When will it learn to say "You got mail!" ?

When the IQ of the gmail users drops by about 50 points?

new mail notification sound (4, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | about 10 years ago | (#10022108)

From the FAQ [google.com] , it also says that it can play a sound when new mail arrives. And that sound is actually just the Windows New Mail Notification sound in the Control Panel.

And it's been mentioned before, but I still think the Gmail Loader [marklyon.org] is still a handy utility. I'm migrating a lot of my mail and accounts in to Gmail and this thing was a huge help.

Re:new mail notification sound (2, Interesting)

kzinti (9651) | about 10 years ago | (#10022235)

And it's been mentioned before, but I still think the Gmail Loader is still a handy utility.

Does the Gmail Loader still have the limitation that the date that appears on any uploaded e-mail in Gmail is the date of its upload, not the date of its original sending? If not (and I don't see how it could, as that problem must lie on the Gmail side), then it's hardly worth using. What's the point of uploading twelve years of e-mail to Gmail if you can't tell it "Show me all mail from March of 1996" and get the right answer?

Importing mail from past archives is a big item on my wish list for Gmail. The Gmail Loader is a huge step in that direction, but until Google fixes the date problem, it doesn't do me any good.

Re:new mail notification sound (4, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | about 10 years ago | (#10022312)

Yes, it does still have that limitation. And yes, it does seem to be on the Gmail side and I'm pretty sure there isn't much that can be done about it (short of Gmail making an import mail utility to function correctly).

But ya, it does kind of suck. But when I imported my stuff, I'm just importing old mail and I really don't care what the date is (for searching or not) - because if I want to refer to any of it, I'll just be searching by it's content.

Re:new mail notification sound (1)

UnrefinedLayman (185512) | about 10 years ago | (#10022368)

This screenshot [marklyon.org] seems to show that it will show the appropriate date on the messages.

Re:new mail notification sound (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | about 10 years ago | (#10022243)

Does anyone else think that a text-to-speech program would be useful and straightforward extension for a mail notifier, in the context of reading out mail subjects?

I know that existing notifiers can just print the subject text and sender in a little box in the corner of the screen but I'm thinking it would be more suited to when you're not at the computer - you don't want to be dragged back to the desk after hearing the little ding just to read some spam or FW!FW!FW! crap.

It'd be like having Stephen Hawking as your secretary.

"You have a new message. Subject: Your gas bill payment is now due"

Re:new mail notification sound (4, Funny)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | about 10 years ago | (#10022344)

Don't you think that your co-workers would be a bit amazed hearing Stephen Hawking say 'Do you need a bigger penis ?' from out of your cubicle ? :D

Re:new mail notification sound (1)

flushtwice (802474) | about 10 years ago | (#10022411)

And exactly how is a text to speech program supposed to pronounce words like "V!4GR4", "X4|\|!X", etcetera? That seems like it would be an annoying sound.

Re:new mail notification sound (2, Funny)

Threni (635302) | about 10 years ago | (#10022424)

> it can play a sound when new mail arrives.

Does it play a sound when Gmail is actually released to end users?

How long.... (4, Interesting)

avalys (221114) | about 10 years ago | (#10022111)

How long until someone reverse-engineers this API and makes an OS X and Linux client available?

Re:How long.... (2, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about 10 years ago | (#10022129)

From the FAQ: To use the Gmail Notifier, you need Windows 2000, Windows XP, or a more recent version of Windows. The Notifier is not compatible with Macintosh or Linux systems at this time, but we look forward to offering support for more operating systems in the future.

Re:How long.... (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | about 10 years ago | (#10022196)

Re-read the parent again.

He said "How long until someone reverse engineers this and makes a Linux or Macintosh client available?" not "How long until Google makes a Linux or Macintosh client available?"

Re:How long.... (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about 10 years ago | (#10022221)

My point being, why bother, they are going to do an official one soon...

Re:How long.... (4, Insightful)

the unbeliever (201915) | about 10 years ago | (#10022313)

They've said that about Google Toolbar for about a year now, too.

Re:How long.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022438)

They've said that about Google Toolbar for about a year now, too.

Yeah, because Mac market share is too small and unimportant to warrant going any faster on development. Plus, how many Mac users are going to use gmail? They have their beloved mac.com (or whatever it is) email addresses. Sorry Mac fanboys, the bottom line is that few people use your hardware and few people (besides you) care what happens to Macs anyway.

I do hope they develop a Linux version, however.

Re:How long.... (4, Informative)

Tranzig (786710) | about 10 years ago | (#10022177)

What about the gmail notifier [mozilla.org] Firefox extension?

Re:How long.... (4, Informative)

Mickut (31426) | about 10 years ago | (#10022202)

There is already a Mozilla (and Firefox) extension for this, GMail Notifier (homepage http://www.nexgenmedia.net/extensions/ [nexgenmedia.net] ). It works with both the Linux and windows versions of the browser.

Re:How long.... (1)

misterjingles (698261) | about 10 years ago | (#10022260)

There is already a Mac menu extra.

http://homepage.mac.com/carsten.guenther/GmailSt at us/

Re:How long.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022347)

There already exists a linux-one .. although I haven't used it myself since I don't have a gmail-account:

for gnome it seems anyway ... but can be used maybe also for kde, ... Maybe there is a specific one for kde ...

http://gnomefiles.org/app.php?soft_id=252

Why not a small Java app? (5, Insightful)

tliet (167733) | about 10 years ago | (#10022112)

I mean, come on, Win32 only?

Re:Why not a small Java app? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022183)

There is no such thing as a small Java app :)

Re:Why not a small Java app? (5, Insightful)

random_culchie (759439) | about 10 years ago | (#10022238)

I don't know why the parent was marked a troll because its a valid question.

The fact is for close integration with the operating system (like putting stuff in the tray in windows) is impossible to do with out using API's that break portability.

If you break portability what the point in doing it in java the first place?

Where is the notifier for (0, Redundant)

ylikone (589264) | about 10 years ago | (#10022115)

us Linux users?

Re:Where is the notifier for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022147)


wget the page with a cron job, hash what you save and have it beep you when the hash changes! Damn slackers, making me do all the thinkin' for you...

Re:Where is the notifier for (3, Informative)

ravydavygravy (230429) | about 10 years ago | (#10022225)

In the increasingly useful gdesklets framewrok:
http://gdesklets.gnomedesktop.org/cate gories.php?f unc=gd_show_app&gd_app_id=171

Re:Where is the notifier for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022316)

You can write your own!

That's the beauty of open source.

No point? (3, Insightful)

grub (11606) | about 10 years ago | (#10022117)


I keep my browser open all the time (including a tab to gmail) and it refreshes automatically. I don't see the benefit, unless having Yet More processes running is a good thing.

Re:No point? (3, Insightful)

slungsolow (722380) | about 10 years ago | (#10022171)

I would rather have a process running in the background that takes up less memory than a browser window. There are always instances when I need to keep my memory management in mind, and a tool like this makes it easier to do that.

Re:No point? (2, Funny)

cbrocious (764766) | about 10 years ago | (#10022176)

It's to show your aversion to cut down versions of Windows that can only run 3 processes.

Re:No point? (1)

melkorainur (768297) | about 10 years ago | (#10022190)

I agree with that. Clearly, there's an overpopulation of the system tray for windows users. For Linux, something that would be nice would be a system tray icon (what do you call gnome's applets, something like rhupdate's beaming red exclamation mark?) that that could be more easily customized to incorporate useful behavior. That way, I could customize such an applet to do something like: If I get an email from people on my contacts list, then go ahead and alert me, otherwise just keep calm and change your colour mildly so that I know there's been some change.

Re:No point? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022320)

The mailto: handler alone makes it worthwhile.

Re:No point? (1)

cs02rm0 (654673) | about 10 years ago | (#10022408)

The key difference is this notifies you of new mail.

Having a tab refresh doesn't notify you of new mail... you still have to click in there - something that's been bugging me all day at work with checking squirrelmail on my home server.

I have gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022118)

Please email me at jruderman@gmail.com

Wow... Breakthrough (5, Funny)

Aceto3for5 (806224) | about 10 years ago | (#10022125)

Now I will have an up to the minute report of exactly how MUCH spam im getting. And with a Gig of email space, I can learn about Coeds who want to show me thier cams, and low cost Ci@lis, maybe even learn how to start a buisness-- all without having to clear my inbox every two days.

Re:Wow... Breakthrough (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022228)

I've been using gmail for a few months now, and as of this writing, I've gotten 1 piece of spam delievered to that mail box.

Maybe no one knows about it.

GTRAY (5, Informative)

Yo Grark (465041) | about 10 years ago | (#10022128)

Gtray has been working FABULOUSLY for me.

Don't need to switch unless there are more options that google can provide; which from the website there isn't any.

http://torrez.us/gtray

Yo Grark

Re:GTRAY (1)

Doomie (696580) | about 10 years ago | (#10022205)

Well, as far as I remember, GTray has one annoying problem with it taking the focus from the current window when displaying the baloon tip. This is / was annoying.

The GMail notifier has this nice feature that is also shows you the subject line and a short excerpt from the email. GTray doesn't / didn't.

The GMail notifier is also bound to work -- whereas if the GMail people change somehow their code, GTray won't work for a while until it can be fixed.

Finally, the GMail Notifier only checks every 2 minutes, and you can't change this interval. With GTray you can. But that's not really THAT important, IMHO.

FireFox extension (5, Informative)

GizmoToy (450886) | about 10 years ago | (#10022130)

I've been using something similar as an extension to FireFox. It works pretty darn well, but you obviously have to keep your web browser open for it to work. This program might be pretty cool, I'll have to give it a shot.

For those interested, the Firefox extension can be found here:
Gmail Notifier [nexgenmedia.net]

Re:FireFox extension (3, Informative)

Shelrem (34273) | about 10 years ago | (#10022194)

Heh, beat me to it!

In addition to this, add on WebmailCompose [jedbrown.net] (previously GmailCompose [jedbrown.net] ) and you've got pretty much the full functionality of this gmail toolbar, plus it's cross-platform, for those of you who use several platforms and want a more unified computing experience.

For the record, i've been terribly happy with this combination for a while. Together with the great featureset of Gmail, it makes Webmail actually pleasant to use!

Re:FireFox extension (0)

hachete (473378) | about 10 years ago | (#10022256)

I've tried this but I could never get the login to work - I always get a login failure whereas, with the google app that seemed To Work First Time, same name and password.

h

Re:FireFox extension (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | about 10 years ago | (#10022338)

It is still in Beta, I suppose. I haven't had any problems with it, but I have noticed it won't throw login errors, it'll just sit there. On our corporate intranet I have to goto a regular webpage and log in before I can have the notifier log in. Slightly annoying, but not a big deal in my case.

So when do we get Gmessenger? (4, Interesting)

silverbyte (213973) | about 10 years ago | (#10022138)

This is obviously the first step by google towards integration of search and the personal interaction space.
How long before our contact lists in gmail are moved to orkut and into a messenger?

percentage (2, Interesting)

kc0re (739168) | about 10 years ago | (#10022143)

I wonder if Google collects statistics on how many and what type of operating systems hit google a day... I am betting a large percentage of people that use Gmail don't use Windows. I reserve the right to be wrong.

Re:percentage (2, Informative)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 10 years ago | (#10022230)

This was covered recently [slashdot.org] here on Slashdot. Google does keep stats, but they're not for any real analysis. That doesn't stop people from trying to use them for real analysis.

I'm betting that a large percentage of people that use Gmail are using Windows. Everyone I know that has an account - including nearly two hundred people at my friend's company - is on a Windows box.

Re:percentage (1)

stephenbooth (172227) | about 10 years ago | (#10022382)

I suspect that there would be a lot of people like myself who are Linux (or which ever OS you prefer) users by choice at home but Windows users by necessity (i.e. it's what's there) at work. Until we get more work places onto Linux, Windows will always dominate stats. I'm pretty sure that if you looked at the logs for /. you'd see a lot of Windows hits, same for the websites of any of the big Linux vendors even. Where I work it is actually impossible to access the web from a non-Windows machine as the proxy (Novell Border Manager) authentication uses client side VBScript!

Stephen

Re:percentage (2, Interesting)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 10 years ago | (#10022270)

Oh God, are you wrong. And that's certainly your right.

The breakdown of people using Gmail will be close to the same breakdown of the fools using their blogs or regular folks using their search engine.

Here's [google.ca] your small percentage of Linux users.

Re:percentage (1)

slungsolow (722380) | about 10 years ago | (#10022423)

The market saturation of Windows OS's alone should tell you that they will have the largest footprint when it comes to gmail accounts.

Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022150)

Sure it tells you about your email, but does it block pop ups?

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022152)

Anonymous Coward.

Google being evil already? (5, Funny)

tehcyder (746570) | about 10 years ago | (#10022156)

I bet this has caused some confusion in /. readers minds.

Google...good

Windows...evil

Windows only Google app...does not compute!

Re:Google being evil already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022214)

What are you talking about. The Googlebar has been around for ages and has always been Win IE only.

Re:Google being evil already? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022392)

Cognitive Dissonance. Need I say more?

Re:Google being evil already? (1)

bookemdano63 (261600) | about 10 years ago | (#10022396)

Maybe Google had the crazy idea to make something that will work in 80+% of the computers out there.
It is really boggling why they didn't make a version that would work on only 7% of the computers first.
I would link to Zeitgeist but- oh well.

Am I alone (1, Funny)

RLiegh (247921) | about 10 years ago | (#10022157)

in the fact that I've just been sitting on my gmail accounts and not actually using them?

Re:Am I alone (1)

ack154 (591432) | about 10 years ago | (#10022271)

Yes.

Re:Am I alone (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 10 years ago | (#10022290)

I'm waiting for Google to open up gmail with POP3/IMAP/SMTP access before I really get into using it much.

Re:Am I alone (1)

bwhaley (410361) | about 10 years ago | (#10022298)

Ha, nope. I do the same thing. 1000MB of storage, 0 KB used.

Re:Am I alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022301)

Same for me. The features just aren't compelling enough to justify changing mail providers, and things like lack of hiearchical folders makes it unusable (I use hierarchied 4-5 levels deep in ADDITION to labels, thank you very much, so don't for anyone thinking of wasting their time extolling the virtues of labels, forget about it - I use coloring, labels AND folders extensively, I'd not be happy with any one of them on their own).

Swamped by GMail invites ? (5, Funny)

vi (editor) (791442) | about 10 years ago | (#10022159)

I wonder if someone here has the same problem as me: I get constantly swamped with GMail invites. Far too much people are sending me these stupid invites and it's really getting on my nerves.
Well, it was fun for the first 20 or so, but now it's really annoying. Even people I just remotely know are sending me this stuff.
I usually sign them up with bogus data just to stop this madness but it doesn't really work.
Does anyone know when Google is stopping its beta test ? I hope soon otherwise I see a nervous breakdown coming.

Re:Swamped by GMail invites ? (1)

linnorm (92823) | about 10 years ago | (#10022199)

Send them this way. I'm sure there's plenty of people here (including me!) who'd love to have one.

Re:Swamped by GMail invites ? (1)

ElDuderino44137 (660751) | about 10 years ago | (#10022274)

"(if you are lucky enough to have one already)." How does one get in on the invite avalanche? --The Dude

Re:Swamped by GMail invites ? (1)

FosterKanig (645454) | about 10 years ago | (#10022369)

It's a real easy to get invites if you have friends.

Re:Swamped by GMail invites ? (4, Funny)

ElDuderino44137 (660751) | about 10 years ago | (#10022431)

Damn stupid social interaction!

Re:Swamped by GMail invites ? (2)

Dogers (446369) | about 10 years ago | (#10022289)

You're lucky then!
I've had an account for almost 3 months now and I've not had a single one..
My girlfriend almost killed me when I took the original account (all she has is Hotmail!) but I and another friend, who also had a gmail account, promised you get invites every 2 weeks.. whoops!

Re:Swamped by GMail invites ? (5, Funny)

saderax (718814) | about 10 years ago | (#10022329)

Well, it was fun for the first 20 or so, but now it's really annoying. Even people I just remotely know are sending me this stuff.

What's your email address?

Gmail Notifier (5, Informative)

Stypen (720346) | about 10 years ago | (#10022163)

This is something that has been in the fires for a while for Firefox users. Doron Rosenberg authored an extension that allows the same functionality. You can find it here [nexgenmedia.net] .

Re:Gmail Notifier (1)

Doomie (696580) | about 10 years ago | (#10022373)

Why would you use an extensions for FireFox, which needs the browser open anyway, if you could just have a tab open with GMail and periodically check yourself (it refreshes automatically and even changes the title of the page so that you can see how many new messages you have)?

skins (2, Interesting)

Texodore (56174) | about 10 years ago | (#10022170)

Why don't they just skin Windows? They have the toolbar, mail checker client thing, searcher bar that can sit in the task bar. I mean, just have google be a part of every single app on the desktop.

Re:skins (1)

SightlessMind (806966) | about 10 years ago | (#10022275)

A Gmail litestep module would be a nice step in that direction. It could even be combined with one of the current news-feed modules.

Re:skins (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 years ago | (#10022315)

Forget skinning it. Release an explorer.exe shell replacement. *THAT* would be more worthwhile.

XP SP2 (-1, Offtopic)

5m477m4n (787430) | about 10 years ago | (#10022179)

Does Windows XP SP2 block this like it blocks remote control software like VNC?

uses http and not https (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022209)

and there is no option to configure it to use https. Wouldn't it have been nice to have http as default, but ability to use https too ?

Strategic move towards the desktop... (1)

markkellman (662190) | about 10 years ago | (#10022213)

In preparation for facing Microsoft, any move towards the desktop bodes well for Google.

The alerting space is also a growing one, especially considering the success of the third-party alerting Google Alert [googlealert.com] service based on the Google API.

lucky enough to have a gmail account? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022216)

Lucky enough? Gmail is mediocre at best. Yahoo mail is much better.

What about Linux? (2, Interesting)

jbash (784046) | about 10 years ago | (#10022232)

I wonder what operating systems the users of this will be usuing. Maybe a larger-than-average percentage of people who use Gmail are on Linux instead of Windows. What then?

Re:What about Linux? (1)

random_culchie (759439) | about 10 years ago | (#10022394)

Yes but unfortunatly larger than average in this case is still not alot compared to the operating system with by far the biggest desktop install base in the world...

And for autohiders? (2, Interesting)

judmarc (649183) | about 10 years ago | (#10022237)

I mean those of us who autohide the taskbar. It's not clear whether the notifier will pop up or not (and we may not want it to - the possibility for distraction is obvious).

You can get it to play a sound, but the FAQ says it may notify in error up to two minutes after all new mail's been cleared. Beep! Beep! BEEP! Urrgh....

Re:And for autohiders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10022429)

If you don't want the notifier to annoy you, just don't install it. It's not like somebody owns a patent on not installing software you don't want.

At least, I'm pretty sure nobody owns it.

This makes GMail 2x better (4, Insightful)

six11 (579) | about 10 years ago | (#10022246)

This is great! I know people who have been holding back on using GMail because of the notification thing. I sometimes still get email at my Yahoo account, and I am notified when I receive them. Every time the Yahoo notification thing pops up I am reminded of how almost-but-not-quite perfect GMail is. This little icon in the tray will end up being a bigger deal than it looks.

I've installed it and it works great. It uses the same slide-up text bubble idiom that AIM and Yahoo and Thunderbird use. But the bubble not only tells you that you have mail but also who it is from and if there is room, the first part of the text of the email. If you missed it, you can right click and select 'Tell me again...' and it will scroll through all your unread emails, so you can get a quick overview of what's going on in your Inbox right now without having to use your browser. Much nicer.

Maybe it's me, maybe it's not (4, Insightful)

fiftyvolts (642861) | about 10 years ago | (#10022258)

I don't understand why we are jumping through hoops to have auto refresing JavaScript-full convoluted html webmail that interacts with some little utility in your tray. I mean, I understand the convenience of webmail, but I think that installing this is whre I would draw the line between simple & easy and flakey & klunky.

Isn't 100% easier and more smooth to interact with POP3 and your favorite email software? Maybe it's just me. I've been using a hosting service for my website and email and I guess having that much control over the set up and delivery methods has made me skeptical of free webmail in general.

Google's open source developer legion (1)

otisg (92803) | about 10 years ago | (#10022302)

I wonder if Google, but virtue of leaving certain portions of their systems open and accessible in a variety of ways, is really creating a large legion of creative and technical individuals who, without maybe even realizing, are working for Google for free, creating software like GMail notifier.

Even if Google cannot directly adopt somebody else's work, they certainly get a pile of high-quality ideas from 'the Lazy Web', which they can then use to direct their internal development.

Google is really playing this game so so so well, and it goes far beyong their technical PhDs.

If you think about it, this is much like the openness of Linux - does any OS out there have so many developers working on it 24/7? Nope.

Please stop (1)

Sp00nMan (199816) | about 10 years ago | (#10022343)

teasing us people who do not have a gmail account! This kind of information just leads us on and gives us information on tools 95% of the IT population can't use. I mean, how many times do you have articles on Windows Longhorn beta that talks about the cool new features that the beta users are using, when the rest of us can't use it???

Re:Please stop (1)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | about 10 years ago | (#10022436)

Email me and I'll send you an invitation to gmail. I have a gmail account that I don't use and I still have the ability to send some invites to people.

John.

Doesn't work with NT4 (3, Informative)

Kuad (529006) | about 10 years ago | (#10022375)

Generally, I'm not logged into the net at home on a 24 hour basis - I disconnect my DSL whenever I don't need it. Paranoia can have its advantages.

Anyways, I need this tool at work. And some of us are still stuck with NT4 at work until the end of the year (when support dies and they finally upgrade us). This tool doesn't work with NT4, and I gather it doesn't work with 95/98/ME from the installer's error message. Just a heads-up for everyone.

Personally, GTray [torrez.us] works fine for me.

The iTunes model (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | about 10 years ago | (#10022379)

What I find increasingly interesting is how Microsoft's competitors-- now that it's been made clear that united states antitrust law is not going to be enforced-- are trying to get around the Microsoft OS monopoly with what amounts to shareware. Microsoft has the power to create the default configuration for the vast majority of PCs, and since traditionally few users have stepped away from the default configuration this means Microsoft has the ability to dictate many things, from what formats will gain popularity to what web standards succeed or fail. If Microsoft desires, it can install a piece of software on every new copy of Windows in the world. Those companies that are not Microsoft do not have this luxury. Some of them now appear to be circumventing this by just trying to create random pieces of "must-have" software for free and bundling the service or format that they are actually making their money from with it.

For example, iTunes. Apple needs people to have support for Quicktime; however, they have no way of making Windows users want to install Quicktime. Webpages that require Quicktime will, of course, force you to download it, but such pages would seem likely to become scarce as webmasters realize that every computer has WMP already and using WMP instead of Quicktime will not require their users to download a plugin. Apple's solution is to create a music player program for Windows that is considered by many to be the best there is, which everybody then wants to download and try out. As a process of doing this, these people inadvertently wind up installing Quicktime. End result: every computer has Quicktime already.

Google here is just another example. Google appears to be anticipating that at some point Microsoft will start using its space within the desktop to promote some engine of its own and dissuade the use of Google. Google is reacting to this by trying to get a toehold into the desktop of their own, using things such as the Google Toolbar and now, the GMail notifier. Both of these things will be installed by users for purposes largely irrelivant to Google's search-- the former for popup blocking, the latter for mail-- yet doing this means that Google builds up inertia with everyone who "just has" to download their Google tools after every system upgrade. This means that when the system update comes where Microsoft decides that every time you accidentally control-click on a word displayed on the screen it will open up Internet Explorer and search for it in MSN Search, Google can use their toehold in the desktop to undo this change and replace it with something (1) useful and (2) involving google search.

This approach hits Microsoft hard where it hurts; Microsoft is excellent at creating software. However, historically they have by and large failed at creating good software. Microsoft's strategy of destroying competitors by bundling their own special brand of mediocre with roughly equivilent functionality for "free" with the OS doesn't work anymore once people start to wind up downloading the software of Microsoft's competitors free just because it's better.

Why such a big fuss? (4, Insightful)

manavendra (688020) | about 10 years ago | (#10022384)

Isnt this kind of notifier common with other email service providers (yahoo and hotmail)?! So what makes it so special?

And with other email service providers beefing up the storage space, one would have thought this pre-occupation with a gigabyte email-storage would be over!

Re:Why such a big fuss? (2, Interesting)

bookemdano63 (261600) | about 10 years ago | (#10022440)

The gmail search and threading interface is the best I have seen.
I am currently using 1% of my gigabyte.

Open source it (0, Troll)

Pastis (145655) | about 10 years ago | (#10022400)

if they were smart, they would open source it.
That would be one less thing to support, and the insurance that other plaftorms would be supported.

5 invites (1, Interesting)

Capt_Troy (60831) | about 10 years ago | (#10022403)

I have 5 invites if anyone wants one. email me at tfandango_@_gmail_._com (remove the _s).

-troy

When will it be ready for the rest of us? (1)

digitalamish (449285) | about 10 years ago | (#10022407)

This looks like a nice addition and all, but for the seemingly few of us that don't have Gmail (it's still not available for general signup), do we have any idea of when Google will finally open this up?

Shame there isn't a google IM (0)

tod_miller (792541) | about 10 years ago | (#10022410)

Y! IM tells me when I have mail - on that account...

Gee even I am sick of me trying to debunk GMail as unecessary :-)

I just wonder why I installed it - considering I have yet to have an account. Perhaps I want to see the icon it uses?

*polite cough*

Linux users don't deserve email notifications now do they? Oh, you mean they spend all day compulsively checking? Oh well, you are excused.

I would have thought they would write this for the platform they are using initially, but I guess they wrote it for the majority of their user base.

Not much to write one that works over http though.
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