Outlook expatriates may have fond memories of Xobni, a kind of address book on steroids. Smartr Inbox for Gmail brings that same goodness to your webmail, packing contact info, social-network updates, message histories, and related contacts into an attractive sidebar that you can view or hide as needed. It's available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and it's one of those tools you'll quickly find you can't live without.
13. Keep branded messages out of your inbox
Admit it: Half the clutter in your inbox comes from stores, social networks, and other "branded" sources. PhilterIt for Chrome "philters" all that stuff out of your inbox, relegating it to an icon-laden Gmail sidebar where you can review it later, at your convenience. It's a quick and easy way to excise inbox clutter, while still keeping the stuff you might want to see.
14. Add attachments from services other than Google Drive
If you're a Gmail user, you know how easy it is to attach files from your Google Drive. But what if you want to attach something from Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, or Flickr? Cloudy for Chrome lets you attach files from those services and other cloud hangouts. Just click the Attach button while composing a new message, and then choose a cloud service or social network. You can even attach multiple items from multiple services.
It came from the lab
15. Reply to mail faster with canned responses
Do you routinely find yourself typing out the same replies over and over? Labs feature Canned Responses can save you time, as long as you keep the messages short. After enabling it, just compose or reply to a message, click the More Options arrow, mouse over Canned responses, and choose the one you want. You can also create new ones as needed. It's not the most elegant addition to Gmail, but it's definitely a handy one.
16. View messages without clicking through
Gmail annoyingly lacks a preview-pane option, which means you have to click any email you want to read and then go back to the inbox and click another--a slow, time-wasting process. Thankfully, Labs feature Message Sneak Peek simplifies things a bit: Just right-click any message to immediately see its contents in a preview window. Even better, enable Preview Pane, which gives you a bona fide preview window alongside your inbox.
17. Mark messages as read with one fewer click