Enhance Gmail and Fix Common Annoyances with Gmelius

I love Gmail. It is my primary web email client and I use it in Google Apps for Business as well. My only gripe is that you can\’t really control how it looks and there are little options to modify the user interface the way you like it. You get themes and Gmail labs experimental features but there are basic things that Google left out that\’s why I still look for ways to enhance Gmail using userscript and browser add-ons or extensions. Then comes Gmelius!

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Here are the features that I like in Gmelius:

Gmail without Ads

I don\’t hate ads. Some ads fit their purpose but for some people who really don\’t like ads, this is a great feature.

Clickable Gmail logo

For inexplicable reason Google removed this basic navigation practice to put a home link to Gmail logo. Gmelius puts the missing link back to Gmail logo.

Colorize Navigation Icons with Labels

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Google use monochrome icons for the archive, spam and delete in the latest version of Gmail. This is my number #1 annoyance in Gmail for me because it is easy to confuse yourself with the gray icons even if you know the order already. Gmelius can put the text labels back and also add colored icons to make the navigation more intuitive again. It\’s one of the best feature that really enhances Gmail UX. Great work!

Put Google Reader on the Black Navigation Bar Menu

It is fairly simple option that Google doesn\’t give to users. Finally, there\’s an easy way to put Reader in the top navigation menu. One caveat is that it replaces Google News so if you use both Google News and Google Reader, you have to make a choice. I use Google Reader much more than Google News so it is an easy decision for me to enable this feature.

Toggle Header and Footer to Save Space

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With Gmelius you can also remove the header and footer to get more viewing area for your email. The header could be toggled using shortcut (experimental) and with this feature, you can immediately click sign out at the upper-right corner.

More Features

Of course, there are more features available but those are my personal favorites.

See the screenshot below for more available features.

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You can get Gmelius for Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

There are more Gmail tweaks out there. Let me know what\’s your favorite so far and let me know if you like Gmelius.

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Customize Google Menu Bar Using Google Menu Editor

New Google Menu Bar

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I\’m not sure if the new Google Menu bar is already rolled out to all countries. I just received the update last weekend and the update is not affecting all my browsers yet because I think it is cookie-based. My only complain is that you can\’t customize Google Menu Bar the way you like it. There is no preference at all.

If you want to force the update to all your browsers to get the new Google menu you can use the cookie trick to enable it.

If you are still on the black strip menu bar and you wish to stick with it for the meantime, you can customize it too but eventually you will get the new Google Menu sooner or later.

Customize Google Menu Bar

At the moment, the only method I know to customize Google Menu Bar is only available in Chrome using the Google Menu Editor extension.

Using this extension you can drag and drop the order of the menu items.

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After getting the desired order, you have to close Chrome and when you go to Google.com or any Google site, you should be able to see the customized Google Menu Bar. See an example below.

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If you are unhappy with the settings you can go back and change the order or reset the menu to its original state.

So how would you customize Google Menu?

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Personas for Firefox

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Mozilla Labs released a prototype extension for Firefox that lets you use different background on top of your currently existing theme. At the moment, this prototype is compatible with the default theme of Firefox. I have tested other themes and they looked ugly at some parts so I want to see more customization option in the next release of this prototype extension to change more than just the background in Firefox.

\”The Persona selector is dynamically loaded and populated from a JSON feed and all designs are loaded via URLs to remote resources\”.

I don\’t know the security model for these theme resources so anyone paranoid enough may worry that some theme authors can put arbitrary code in their themes if there\’s no special verification, digital signature or seal of approval from Mozilla. Even though it is really convenient for designers, I don\’t like the idea that it downloads the graphics on demand just like that from the internet. I don\’t even know if the graphics are coming from Mozilla Labs or any secure location. Maybe not?

There is an API currently being developed so there should be more changes on the way for this extension. It looks great on the default theme but someone will immediately notice that it simply adds background picture on Firefox toolbar with some transparency on tabs. Sometimes, I find it hard to read the tab texts when the background is too dark. There\’s no transparency option so you cannot customize it anyhow. You can only choose from the existing lists of background designs at the moment. I really hope they add more option in this extension because Persona looks like a bland IE toolbar background changer. Some users may find this useful because it make their plain themes colorful; however, some advanced users maybe annoyed with this. To a certain extent, I find Persona too simple to fit my taste. I\’ll uninstall it for now but I\’ll try Persona one again when a new version arrives. For now, I\’ll stick with the default theme of Firefox no matter how boring it is.

Link: Mozilla Labs: Persona for Firefox

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