Monday, November 15, 2004

Can you say "Gmail Inbox Atom Feed"?

If you've got a Gmail account and an Atom/RSS aggregator, you really should try subscribing to this feed:

https://gmail.google.com/gmail/feed/atom,

It's an XML feed of your unread email messages. Now, if you're a webmail fan, you might not see the use of opening another application just to read your email. That's where this link comes in handy. Yes, it's a link to the Firefox browser Home Page. See, using the Live Bookmarks feature in Firefox (now in version 1.0), your browser automatically becomes an aggregator. Just go to Manage Bookmarks, then click on File->New Live Bookmark, and type in the URL of the feed (in this case, the Gmail Atom Feed URL given above). Voila! You can now read the feed right in your Bookmarks sidebar.

What's so great about this? Well, say you're the kind of person who hates logging-in to check you inbox, just to find out that there's nothing worth reading. With the Gmail Atom Feed and Live Bookmark combo, you can simply glance at the Bookmarks sidebar to see if there's anything interesting. This could save valuable Internet time, especially if you're a busy person. The only downside is that if you do see something interesting, clicking on the particular Live Bookmark entry will just bring you to your Gmail Inbox, not to the email message itself. But heck, with Gmail's super-fast interface, what's another click, anyway?

Thanks to this blog entry for the tip.

Edit: If you aren't a fan of webmail (preferring offline email-reading features of email clients), then you'll be happy to know that Gmail is phasing-in its POP mail server to its users, so you can now download your Gmail Inbox to your computer. Also, you might want to check out the Thunderbird email client, which is another Mozilla project.