The most used email system in the world is Google’s Gmail. It’s free, packed with features, handles email spam very well, and if you don’t mind Google rummaging through your messages to learn about you, a bargain.
Gmail has spawned a cottage industry of Gmail add ons which enhance the email experience (although I think an enhanced email experience would be the demise of email altogether). If you’re a Gmail user, and who isn’t, here’s an almost free add on you’ll like.
Glance At Status
Apple Watch has a handy Glances feature which lets you view a variety of apps and data with little more than a finger flick. On the Mac, the Dock and the Menubar also make it easy to view status, including number of email messages waiting in the inbox.
Aura is a Mac utility which works with your Gmail account to provide notifications and status without having to use Apple’s built-in Mail app. The claim to fame here is a simple one. You get notifications for Gmail and the Pro upgrade version works with multiple Gmail accounts.
Aura is free at the basic level and settings are simple, both for accounts and notifications, plus, it handles Gmail labels with no problem, segregating regular email from important email messages.
All Aura does is check Gmail and list unread messages for each account in the Mac’s Menubar. One glance can tell you the status of multiple inboxes, and one click divulges which account has x-number of messages in the individual account inbox.
Aura is elegant, simple to use, and cheap. The basic version is free so you can try-before-you-buy the multi-account version.
The real question to ask is ‘Do you need such notifications?’ The obvious answer is, ‘No.’ But they’re handy and they help to keep Gmail out of Apple’s Mail (the two have never played nice-nice together). I still have and occasionally use a Gmail account, but never for any serious email because then Google has the opportunity to browse my messages, learn more about me, what I write, to whom I write, and I figure they have enough about me already.