If you use a Macintosh and also use Google's Gmail, read on. I have been using a new program for several days and am impressed with it. Mailplane is for users of Google Mail (Gmail). It replaces your web browser when using Gmail: Mailplane makes you more productive and saves you time.
I have been using Gmail for several years and love it. The free e-mail service from Google has numerous options. It uses labels instead of folders and can store tens of thousands of messages. Using Google's search technology, Gmail can locate and retrieve old messages within seconds with great accuracy.
As of this time, Gmail offers more than seven gigabytes of storage space to each user account and that storage space slowly increases all the time. As a result, Gmail can be used as a filing cabinet for all the e-mail messages you receive. I often look up old messages that I received two or three years ago. With Gmail's search technology, I can find those messages within seconds.
I suspect that most Gmail users open a web browser to access Gmail. However, the program also offers IMAP, POP3, and SMTP options that allow it to be used with any standard e-mail program, such as Apple's Mail program or Entourage. The problem is that none of those programs were designed to handle Gmail's advanced features, such as archiving messages, instantly searching tens of thousands of stored messages, or of assigning labels. Use of a standard e-mail program means that you lose the features that make Gmail so worthwhile! That's why I have been using Gmail in a web browser instead of with an e-mail program.
Mailplane is a free-standing application that is designed to use all of Gmail's features. In operation, Mailplane looks like a web browser. In fact, it uses Safari as the core of the program. However, when launched, you will notice that a new line of options appears across the top of the program and that numerous Gmail-specific commands are now in the pulldown menus across the top of the screen.
Mailplane continues to use the Gmail web interface you know and love, but from Mailplane instead of your web browser. Mailplane adds new features to Gmail or improves existing features. The newly-added features include:
- Drag and drop attachments
- Use multiple Gmail accounts
- Get new mail notifications
- Send screenshots
- Send photographs directly from iPhoto
- Mailplane automatically resizes and optimizes your pictures to reduce the size of your message
- Enjoy Gmail shortcuts
- Integration with OmniFocus
- View attachments directly without use of an external program, including TIFF (FAX), jpg, and PowerPoint files
- Gmail Video Chat Support
- Enable Google Talk Window
- Mac OS X Address book integration
- Clicking on a mail link in a web browser launches Mailplane
Mailplane still requires the user to be online to use the program, the same as using Gmail in a web browser. However, the company is working on an Offline Gmail and expects to release a beta version of the new offline software soon.
Mailplane works with Intel Macs and PowerPC Macs that run 10.4.11 Tiger or 10.5.5 Leopard. The program sells for $24.95. A family option is available for $15 per user and educational pricing is also available. You can download a free trial version of Mailplane that includes all the features but works for only thirty days.
For more information, or to download the 30-day free trial of Mailplane, go to http://mailplaneapp.com.