Google Mail Checker is a free extension that displays the number of unread messages in your Gmail inbox as a Chrome toolbar icon. Clicking the icon instantly opens Gmail in a new tab in Chrome. It also offers an animated notification of new messages in your inbox.
To use Google Mail Checker, you must have an active Google Mail account, but that's free, too, and easy to sign up for. As with other Google Chrome extensions, installing Google Mail Checker is simply a matter of opening the appropriate page in Chrome and clicking to initiate and allow the download. Google Mail Checker placed a neat little Gmail icon among the other extension icons on the browser's toolbar, with a small question mark superimposed. We clicked the icon, and Gmail opened instantly in a new tab, already signed in to our account. The Google Mail Checker icon immediately displayed the numeral 3, the number of unread e-mail messages in our Gmail inbox. We sent an e-mail to our Gmail account via a different client; when it arrived, the Google Mail Checker icon did a little animated rotation, and the number changed to reflect the new inbox total. We opened the extension's options page, which offered a URL field for using Google Mail Checker with Google Apps in your own domain, but that was it. Since this extension is designed to do a simple thing quickly, it doesn't need anything more.
Google Mail Checker is highly recommended for Chrome users. As with other Chrome extensions, it adds a useful capability to what is quickly becoming a viable alternative in the Web browser wars.