Google has been cleaning house of services and features over the last year or so, with Google Reader and iGoogle among the most notable casualties. While not so widely mourned, the recent scrapping of Google Notifier was also disappointing, as the app had been a rather helpful way to stay on top of incoming Gmail messages on Mac.
Notifier Pro for Gmail (Mac App Store link) effectively picks up where Google left off, as the third-party option puts a tally of unread emails on the menu bar, letting you click to drop down a preview of the last ten inbox messages with sender name and subject listed. Clicking a note immediately pulls it up in your default browser without hassle, plus you can quickly hit the Go to Inbox link and be there within seconds.
The drop-down menu also lets you quickly mark an email as read or send it to the trash, although it lacks the ability to archive an email or file it into a folder. And there are more fully-featured Gmail-connected options available in the Mac App Store—like the appealing MailTab Pro for Gmail, which takes visual cues from the Gmail mobile app and includes full Google Talk support, as well as gesture commands. By contrast, the menu here isn’t distinctively styled, though it’s simple and effective, offering enough core functionality without feeling cluttered.
Gmail Notifier Pro does have one big advantage over MailTab Pro and some other options: it allows you to plug in multiple Gmail accounts and monitor all of them at once, which should be of major benefit to anyone with separate personal and work/business accounts. Otherwise, as a lightweight way to keep tabs on your Gmail inbox with notifications, Notifier Pro is a fine replacement for Google’s dearly departed original.
This review is part of Macworld’s GemFest 2014. Every weekday from July until September, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a standout free, low-cost, or great-value program. You can view a list of this year’s apps, updated daily, on our handy GemFest chart, and you can visit the Mac Gems homepage for past Mac Gems reviews.