If you're tired of waiting for Google to make some much-needed improvements to Gmail, Better Gmail has been adding useful functionality to the e-mail client since earlier this year. An update earlier this month finally gave Gmail what users have been clamoring for: integration with Google Reader.
Written by Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani, the extension is basically a collection of her favorite Greasemonkey scripts. It does more than just slap your feeds onto the bottom of your in-box, though. It adds a Collapse/Expand Gmail link to the top-left nav, just under the Compose link. This hides your e-mail and pulls the Reader up to the top, and swtiches to Expand when the in-box is hidden. It also adds a control panel to central left nav for managing your feeds, a neat work-around so that you can collapse the Reader's built-in navigation. The Reader pane is collapsible, too, so you can hide the perpetual distraction of feeds from the perpetual distraction of e-mail.
The only drawback to the integration is that the Reader page gets imported in its entirety, so you'll see two sets of Google navigation: one at the top of Gmail, and one just above your feeds. But that's a small inconvenience to have the luxury of checking both e-mail and feeds in the same place. We've talked about Better Gmail before, so there's no need to reiterate how it has all kinds of neat functionality like colored labels, a hotkey for TinyURLing, forced secure browsing, an attachment reminder and more.
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