Friday, September 18, 2009

Customizing gmail

Did you know you can customize a little of your Gmail inbox by changing the so-called Gmail web clips? Web clips are the little pieces of text just above your e-mail inbox. You would think it was just a regular place to display Google’s advertising, but if you pay attention you might see some other messages come by too.
These messages can be customized. You can for instance add the RSS feed of your favorite blog or news site or add favorite quotes or other wisdom. For more information on what RSS feeds are see this article.
It could become a bit of a distraction, but I think it’s a nice variation for your inbox. For people who practically live inside their Gmail inbox, this is nice and it could even make you smarter by displaying trivia (or look smarter if you memorize the quotes).

They work like a mini one line RSS reader. You can click the link to read the article. You’ll see from what source the link is and how long ago it was published. Click the arrows < and > to browse through the different sources and links. Customizing is easy:
Sign in to Gmail.
Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page, and open the Web Clips tab.
Browse popular clips by selecting a topic link along the left. Search for feeds by entering topics that interest you – use this feature like you would Google Search. Or, enter specific feed URLs.
Click Add next to the clips you’d like to see in Gmail.
You can add specific feed URLs by entering them in the search box on the left. The feed URL of MakeUseOf is for instance Which you can copy and paste into the search field and your favorite tech tips will scroll by in your inbox. Another interesting one is the feed of our Geeky Fun collection: Gmail web clips add these to a list.
From this list random items are chosen to display, together with some of the advertising that is already there. You’ll see the list under “My Clips“. You’re not stuck with the web clips Google has already chosen for you. If you’re not that much interested in cooking or one of the others, simply click remove on the right. Having a small list makes every source come up more often.

Some other cool ones are quotes or trivia such as quote of the day, Quotes4all, TriviaTidbit and Funny Quote of the Day (right-click and choose “copy link“). Enter a word you are interested in in the search box and see what they have.
Of course you already know about the themes that Gmail has enabled to further customize your inbox. After rocking Terminal for a couple of days myself I have been using Ninjas to my full satisfaction.
For some more very convenient little Gmail tips you might not know about, see this article on MakeUseOf and everything else on Gmail. And of course let me know if you have found some cool web clips that are not in the suggested lists yet.

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