Google Mail – Gmail to its friends – hovers in the number three position among free webmail providers. In first and second place are Yahoo! and Live Hotmail. Still, people who use Gmail are evangelical about it in a way that reminds us of the love Mac fans reserve for their computers. It has a clean, uncluttered interface, is extensible (through Google Labs) and can be used to consolidate all your other email accounts using POP or IMAP. There’s limitless storage too, so you should never have to delete a single email.
Not everyone can make the leap from the sense of security offered by desktop mail clients to the convenience of webmail. Sure, you can connect any mail app to Gmail via POP – even Apple’s own Mail app – but that means you lose the management, filtering, labelling and advanced tools that make Gmail worthwhile.
Mailplane is the compromise solution. Using Webkit, it’s a bespoke browser dedicated to Gmail, wrapped in an interface that adds a ton of useful features. There are all the buttons you’d expect from a desktop mail application – you can compose new mail, reply and send with the click of an icon. You can also drag attachments from your desktop; a big improvement on Gmail’s standard behaviour.
Our favourite feature is the ability to juggle multiple accounts. In the browser you have to sign out and log back in manually. Mailplane saves multiple account details in your keychain, so you can switch between accounts with a couple of clicks.
If you use Google Mail on your Mac, Mailplane adds extra features and consistency to an application that’s already great. Give it a try.