by Tony Gamble
I was doing some online window-shopping today, looking for a new MIDI controller to best compliment my synth rig at the lowest price I can find. I discovered an incredible new offering from Behringer that I immediately decided to send to my better half for approval. File, then Email Page Location and *boink!*, up pops my Mail app (I’m on a Mac). Ordinarily fine and dandy, but I’ve recently decided to immerse myself a bit more into the Googleverse as I seek to understand this thing called Google Plus. As such, I had removed my Mail icon from the Dock and started using the Web interface to Gmail. So how do I go about getting that Email Page Location functionality become part of my Web-based Gmail experience?
In my search, I found plenty of options for changing the behaviour of the mailto: links that you find on a page. These are any clickable email addresses that you find on a web page which, if coded properly, contain a tag that triggers your default mail application. That reminded me of an app I had talked to you about before, called Fluid, which allows you to turn any website into an app. I used Fluid to create a Gmail app and changed OS X’s default mail application to this new Gmail app. This is not done through the System Preferences, by the way. You have to set it from Apple’s Mail app General Preferences.
I went back to my Chrome browser and tried mailing the page. The Gmail app launched, but did little else. A blank screen stared back at me. I restarted the application and sure enough, my inbox triumphantly appeared in a flash. I tried emailing the page again, and now I was faced with a very empty new tab. This wasn’t going to work.
As it turns out, I had already installed a Chrome Extension some time ago that is designed to do exactly what I wanted. Send from Gmail, developed by Google themselves, adds a little red envelope icon to your toolbar which, when clicked, composes a ready-made Gmail message in a popup window. Brilliant! Exactly what I needed. Why this functionality wasn’t built into Chrome, Google’s own browser, as an optional setting is beyond me.
What about those mailto: in-page links? Well, it turns out that when you first install Chrome, you’re given an opportunity to set Gmail as your default mail application for email links clicked in Chrome. Whatever you choose, it won’t ask again unless you remove the setting by navigating to chrome://settings/handlers. You’ll see a window pop up a couple of levels deep with an “ignore” setting. Delete this and now you’re sending email without leaving the Googleverse.