When I signed up for a Gmail several years ago I wasn't convinced it would ever replace Outlook for me. And it hasn't. However, I cannot imagine managing my personal email without it today. With message threading, Gchat, calendar suggestions based on email content and the seemless integration with Google Reader, I keep better track of my friends, family and social calendar. I'm lucky that I can keep my work and personal life somewhat separate. Most small business owners don't have that clear definition in their own lives.
So, I was excited when I read that Google's Gmail Labs recently launched gadgets help track meetings and documents – features small businesses need. These gadgets can be added to the left navigation where the chat and labels functions exist. Here are some of the tools:
– Meeting reminders from Google Calendar
– List of recent Google documents from Gmail
– Access to Google docs straight from Gmail.
– Add any gadget by pasting in the URL of its XML spec file (e.g. http://www.google.com/ig/modules/youtube_videos.xml).
– Works across all popular Internet browsers
Additionally, as part of the launch, Google announced the introduction of support for third party gadgets, giving users the chance to add features to Gmail beyond what Google offers. Remember the Milk has already taken advantage of this and created a gadget for users to list their to-do items on Gmail.
While many of the gadgets are still in the beginning phases, they're a great tool for small business owners who use Google Calendars, Google Docs and Gmail as a way to manage their business.