It’s one of the more useful Gmail gadgets out there and it’s just got better. If you are a user of the Twitter Gadget For Gmail, you may have noticed a couple of cool improvements lately. For those of you who don’t know what the gadget is, it’s an extremely useful small box which you can place at the side of your Gmail inbox to send your tweets to Twitter. The box itself is of rather simple design but it’s not until you click on your name that you begin to open up the gadget’s best features.
We’ll take a look at the features but first, let’s take a look at how to set it up for the benefit of first time users.
To place it on your Gmail sidebar, you need to go to your Gmail settings and to the gadgets tab. There you will see an input box for Google gadgets and there you need to put this link.
After this, refresh your Gmail page and this box should now be in your sidebar underneath your labels:
Now you need to sign in. Just click on the link provided and you will now be taken to a secure Twitter page where you will see the following message:
Click “allow” and Twitter will give the gadget access to your Twitter account. You may have to sign into Twitter or you may not, it will depend on your cookies and if your browser already has you signed in or not.
Now refresh the gadget using the second link provided and you should now see your Twitter account showing:
Now sending tweets is extremely straight-forward. Just write the tweet in the text box (a character count is provided) and then press “update”. Zap! Your tweet is instantly away to your feed. I was rather impressed at the app’s speed.
But this app can do a LOT more. Just click on your name inside the box and your email inbox will disappear to be replaced by a huge list of recent tweets as well as other features.
The first tab (home) shows you all the tweets from your followers with various options underneath. You can virtually run all your tweeting from Gmail and never have to go back to the Twitter website ever again. Or install a desktop client.
There’s one downside which I can see so far which is that it doesn’t automatically show new updates. You are notified there are new updates and you have to click on a button to make the app reload with the new ones. If you have lots of new updates constantly coming in, clicking this button can get tiresome. It would be nice if there was an auto-updating function which requires minimal user interaction.
As well as seeing all of your tweets inside Gmail, you also have other options which you can see along the top.
The “friends” one is interesting. Here, you can see and share tweets with the contacts in your Gmail address book.
According to Steve Rubel, this only works if your friends have the Twitter gadget installed as well. If they do, then you can share tweets with them using the “share” button in the options we just showed you and they will all appear under the “friends” tab. Tweets they share with you will also appear here. As Steve points out, this is pretty much the
Twitter version of Google Reader shared items. The only drawback, as I have said, is getting all your friends to install the gadget.
The rest of the tabs are fairly self-explanatory. I would like to, just for a moment, draw your attention to the “search” tab. Some of you may use Twitter search on a regular basis to track keywords and monitor trends. If so, you can now do that inside Gmail with this gadget with all the results being shown underneath.
For the Twitter newbies, @ is if you want to find posts addressed to a specific Twitter user and # is the hashtag to find specific words in a Tweet.
All in all, this is an amazing app which seamlessly blends Twitter in with your email. I can’t wait to see what new features the developer offers next.