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Goodbye Gmail! (Or the Best Gmail Alternatives)

Goodbye Gmail! (Or the Best Gmail Alternatives)
    Gmail Logo from Google

    Last week we helped you identify some of the best alternatives for Google Reader. Google has made some significant changes to the Gmail interface in the past few months – all which lineup with their direction towards a more “Google+” type of world.

    Google has introduced their new, more simplified interface for Gmail which they have been toying with for a while now. Some people love it. And of course, some people can’t stand it. I tend to be somewhere in the middle because as a geek I usually don’t do too well with change but don’t overreact.

    The new Gmail interface is intended to provide the user with a simplified experience. You can even choose how you want your line spacing (“display density”) to be – Comfortable, Cozy, or Compact. And, heck, you can even “temporarily” revert back to the Gmail’s old look.

    So, instead of keeping up with Google’s relentless quest to change everything that you are use to in the name of G+ and the word “temporarily” scares you, here are some alternate interfaces (mail clients) you can use with Gmail.

    Sparrow

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    Sparrow Mail Client

      If you are a “won-over” Gmail user and you use a Mac, then Sparrow is probably something you have checked out, if not changed to as your email interface of choice.

      Sparrow provides the user with a clean interface as well as all of the awesome Gmail shortcuts that you’ve come to know and love. The thing I like about Sparrow is just how easy it is to setup and use. Just take a peak at the preferences pane and you will find that it isn’t bloated at all.

      There is a free trial, but if you want to use it after that it will set you back $9.99 (a small price to pay for native Gmail client perfection on the Mac).

      Thunderbird

      Thunderbird
        Thunderbird

        has been around for while and it’s maintained by the Mozilla foundation, the same people that give you Firefox web browser. Thunderbird is a standard IMAP and POP email client that can be setup for just about any email address including your Gmail account.

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        Thunderbird is free and open source. It’s a decent, simple, and with some of the latest iterations, quite attractive (at least on the Mac). Also, setting up Gmail with Thunderbird is as easy as signing in with your Gmail credentials and then telling Thunderbird to use IMAP. Thunderbird is a cross-platform mail client available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

        Microsoft Outlook

          Ahh, Microsoft Outlook. The one app that I love and hate all at once.

          I’m not a Windows user at home but I do use Windows 8 hours a day at work and during that time Outlook is always running. For using simply as a Gmail interface, Outlook may be a tad bit expensive and sort of overkill. But, if you’re on Windows and you want a good integrated experience as well as some nice calendaring and mail rule features, then Microsoft Outlook may be a good application to look at.

          There is one thing that I do like about Outlook quite a bit though; you can integrate your email, calendaring, and tasks all in a single app.

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          Mail.app

            Mail.app

            is the default mail application that ships with the Mac OS X. Since the new Lion 10.7 update, Mail has taken on a new form (a new form that has made some Apple users quite upset). Once again, if you’re an avid Gmail user, you may find some of the new features of Mail make you feel like you’re right at home.

            You can archive messages (about time), view messages in conversation form, flag messages, etc. There’s also better searching which was something that Mail has needed for a while. In my opinion, Mail.app for Lion is a great upgrade to that of Mail.app in Snow Leopard.

            Another nice thing about Mail.app is that you can use any email settings, not just Gmail.

            Evolution

            The Evolution mail client is available for Linux and there is even some builds out there for Mac and Windows (for all you hacker types). This is the email client that was default with Ubuntu, but appears that it has been replaced by Thunderbird mentioned above.

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            Evolution is simple and has many features that you would come to expect from an email client. Evolution can support IMAP and POP and integrates mail, calendar, address book, to-do lists and memos.

            Evolution is open source and of course free.

            Opera Mail

              Opera Mail

              “ships” with the much loved Opera browser and is super easy to set up to work with Gmail and other email providers.

              One thing that I don’t quite like about Opera Mail is that it is integrated into my browsing experience (that is if I used Opera for my default browser). I like to have a clean seperation of my email and everything else.

              Regardless, Opera Mail can be used inside of Opera and has offline support, great searching capabilities, a cool “attachments section” that allows you to see all of your attachements in one place, and good folder/label support.

              What’s awesome about today’s technology is that we have a bunch of options. This is a good thing, especially when something you use like an email interface can be such a vital part of your workflow. If you are not happy with Gmail’s recent changes or just want a new way of viewing your email, the above email interface options are the best to date.

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              CM Smith

              A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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              Last Updated on May 14, 2019

              8 Replacements for Google Notebook

              8 Replacements for Google Notebook

              Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

              1. Zoho Notebook
                If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
              2. Evernote
                The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
              3. Net Notes
                If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
              4. i-Lighter
                You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
              5. Clipmarks
                For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
              6. UberNote
                If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
              7. iLeonardo
                iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
              8. Zotero
                Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

              I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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              In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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