Gmail Adds Freshbooks Invoicing and Time Tracking Functionality

You do everything else via your inbox: To-do lists/tasks, contact management, daily correspondence, etc. Might as well track your time and invoice clients too. The Freshbooks financial software already makes it possible to quickly access your account via a link on your Google Apps menu bar. Now users can track time and submit invoices without ever leaving their inbox.

Of course to make this work, you need a Google Apps and a Freshbooks account (I can vouch for both because I use them daily). Read More

Offline Google Mail Service: Get to your Emails Sans an Internet Connection

If you’re a mobile warrior and have been known to set up shop at your local coffee shop to get some things done, you are at the mercy of that businesses Wifi to connect to the outside world. If for whatever reason, you can’t get a decent signal or no signal at all, you may have to relocate. If you use Gmail (or Google Apps) to send and receive emails and prefer the Google Chrome browser, you may just be able to read emails and do serveral additional functions by downloading the Offline Google Mail app from the Chrome Web Store. Read More

Boomerang Gmail Plugin Goes Mobile – Schedule Outgoing Email on the Go

The cool Boomerang Gmail desktop plug-in lets Firefox/Chrome users schedule when their outgoing messages are actually sent. Additionally, you can write reminders or follow up messages to yourself via email and make sure they arrive right when you’re ready to read them (instead of getting lost in all the junk mail your receive first thing in the morning). Think of Boomerang as a Tweet scheduler…just for email. To use the service, you had to install it to your desktop browser. Now Boomerang offers a mobile option that lets you schedule your emails at anytime from anywhere. Read More

Taskforce brings fully featured tasks to your Gmail account

Though Google Tasks has been available to Gmail account holders for several years, users may have noticed that the applet isn’t on Mountain View’s high-priority list, as Google has failed to provide any significantly upgraded functionality for Tasks since its initial release. Third-party developers, however, have created a number of excellent mobile Tasks apps, which allow users to sync their Tasks entries across devices. Despite the best efforts of these third-party developers, they’re still hindered by the inherent limitations of the Google Tasks API. For those who demand a more fully featured task application, yet still require seamless integration with the Gmail environment, there is Taskforce, who has reimagined the Gmail task management experience by creating their own bespoke task management add-on, which promises to deliver a number of productivity-enhancing features aimed at business and enterprise users. Sounds good so far; let’s see how it works!

Installing Taskforce is simple; just go to their website, enter your Gmail address, download the Taskforce browser extension (available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari—sorry IE users!), restart your browser, and log-in to Gmail. The Taskforce toolbar will now be floating in the upper-right-hand corner of Gmail, allowing you to view existing Tasks, create new Tasks, and monitor your “Activities,” which are automatically generated when you share your task with a collaborator (the Activities function works regardless of whether or not your collaborator has installed Taskforce on their computer). Multiple collaborators can be brought in on the same Activity, and specific emails can easily be associated with a particular Activity just by clicking on the “Add to Existing Task” Taskforce button that appears above every email opened in Gmail. Collaborators can comment upon an Activity, and everyone else associated with that Activity can then view those comments. There’s a lot of potential here for small business owners who frequently work with outside vendors, or are seeking to promote collaborative efforts amongst internal staff members.

The Activities function is really the highlight of Taskforce, as it provides a very simple, yet powerful means through which to link specific tasks with their relevant collaborators and corresponding email communiqués. Taskforce also does a pretty commendable job of converting emails into tasks, though as one might expect, this feature does occasionally require some post-hoc editing.

In its current iteration, Taskforce has two notable downsides. First, when you send a task to a non-Taskforce-enable collaborator, the program doesn’t provide any confirmation that the task has been sent, or received; if you’re working on a tight deadline, this omission could prove to be more than a mere nuisance. More problematic, at least for our readership, is Taskforce’s lack of mobility; the program is currently usable only on laptops and desktops running full versions of the compatible browsers. The only way to load Taskforce on a mobile device is through a special login on Taskforce’s website, which offers limited access to existing tasks and activities, and provides no integration with mobile versions of Gmail. If the majority of your correspondence and scheduling is done in the office, this might not be a deal-breaker, but if you’re handling the majority of your communications and logistics from a mobile device while on the road, Taskforce’s limited mobility could be a real source of frustration.

My advice? Try it for yourself: What Taskforce does, it does very well, and its mobile functionality is likely adequate for occasional use. At the very least, there’s a lot of promise in this app, and I’ll definitely be following its future developments. Who knows, maybe Google will take notice, and start to include some of Taskforce’s features into future iterations of Google Tasks.

Gmail Mobile Site upgrades to HTML5

Holding on to your feature phone with web access for fear of making the smartphone jump? Or maybe your exchange email setup on your smartphone is acting janky? These obstacles shouldn’t stop you from accessing your Gmail accounts via your mobile device. Gmail has a mobile site that breaks down the full desktop version and makes it “mobile friendly”. Now with the conversion to HTML5, the improved Gmail mobile site could get you out of a “I have no email access” jam.

One of the main advantages to moving to HTML5 is that pages load faster. Unlike before when you opened a page and got a separate “loading” page letting you know what is happening; emails, labels, and even options load within the same page and with minimal delay.

Another advantage is instead of searching your actual contacts on your phone, the mobile site searches your Gmail contacts. When you compose a message and start adding recipients, Gmail will display a drop-down list of possible contact results in an attempt to guess who your are addressing.

This last advantage may just be a reason why a smartphone user may opt to only use the Gmail mobile site over setting up an account on your phone – The ability to search ALL of your emails and not just those dating a couple months back; which is the average time-frame most people select when setting up their email account(s) on their smartphone. If you are vigilant and label, file or Archive your emails like you’re supposed to (instead of deleting them), you can now dig DEEP into your account and pull out some ancient emails all via the mobile site.

If you truly claim to be a mobile professional, why not use all of the mobile tools at your disposal? The Gmail mobile site, now upgraded to HTML5 has just become one of my tools. What about you? Check out the new site by visiting on your phone and let me know what you think? Do you see yourself using the mobile site more often?