I’ve been a Gmail user since 2006. Before that I hosted my own email server. Yes, I said that I hosted my own server. Why? To learn. My job at the time was in IT support. I was then and am always about learning new things. So, I had my own Exchange server at home that I could play around with which helped me keep up on valuable skills for my job.
However, in 2006 we sold our house. While waiting for the new one to be ready we lived with my mother for 3 months. Since my email was housed on an actual computer in my home, I was iffy on unplugging it and carrying it to my mom’s house. There just wasn’t space. And each time it was unplugged and moved I risked losing mail, contacts, and my schedule. So I decided to make the huge switch of moving my mail to Gmail. I never looked back. I admit that there are a few things that I miss about using Outlook, a standalone mail program. Kiwi for Gmail helps bridge the gap between Gmail on the web, and the desktop client that we may crave.
It’s Gmail… on Your Desktop.
If you look at Kiwi for Gmail, you will notice that it looks as it should… like Gmail. You are not forced to learn a different interface. Kiwi brings the familiar Gmail GUI (graphic user interface) out of your browser and on to your desktop.
Switching may take some getting used to. I’m getting used to working in a different way. I usually keep one tab open at the left of my browser with Gmail open. It stays there all day. When email comes in that I want to act on right away, I pop them out to a new window. As I act on them, I close them. This usually works out ok. However, sometimes (like earlier today), Chrome can go funky and crash my Gmail. This is usually due to an extension crashing. When this happens all of my Gmail windows crash with the sad “Aw, snap” screen. This means that I lose all of my windows and have to remember which emails I wanted to act on right away. However, with Kiwi for Gmail open when Chrome crashes my email is not affected. Score!
Even though Kiwi for Gmail looks exactly like Gmail running in a separate window on your Mac, it is it’s own program. Because of this there are some other useful features that add more functionality to your email.
Do Not Disturb or Important Only notifications – I often put my phone on Do Not Disturb, or turn off my phone’s Facebook notifications so that I do not get distracted while working. However, this doesn’t stop me from seeing the notifications on Gmail on my Macbook. And usually when I do, I click over right away to see what’s there. It’s a bad habit!! Kiwi for Gmail allows you to easily turn off all notifications, or choose to receive only those from emails that you have marked important.
Access Multiple accounts with one click – I use 4 Gmail accounts: my primary account, one for my job search, one for newsletters and entering contests, and one for joint mail with my hubby. Being able to enter them all into the settings on Kiwi for Gmail is awesome. This gives me a quick glance at the number of unread messages in my each account. It also provides quick one-click access for switching between accounts right in the toolbar. You can add up to 6 Gmail accounts.
Compose Mail in a New Window – This makes me very happy! On Gmail.com I have to pop out a new windows with a combination of keys. Kiwi for Gmail has the option of having Compose automatically open in a new window. This is awesome for me because I often open an email next to another document when referring to it for relevant info.
What I Would Love to See Added
Sorting – One major thing that Gmail lacks is the ability to quickly sort columns by Sender, Date, or Subject. You pretty much have to jump through hoops to get it done. This is something that I miss in a standalone email program. I would love to see Kiwi somehow enable this ability. It would be awesome to be able to click on a column to sort.
PC Support – Right now, Kiwi for Gmail is only available on the Mac and iOS. I would love to see a PC version created. The website says that they may work on this in the future.
Plugin Support – Since Gmail usually runs in Chrome on my Macbook I can take advantage of extensions to add functionality. Since Kiwi for Gmail is an standalone program it cannot use those extensions. However, the creators promise that some plugins will be added soon to add more features.
Overall I am enjoying using the Kiwi for Gmail app. If you would like to give it a try download it from the Mac App Store. While there is a Kiwi for Gmail Lite version available for free, the full version is $9.99. See the full list of differences on the Kiwi for Gmail website.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kiwi for Gmail. All opinions are my own.
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I’m trying out the Lite version and find that Kiwi lacks a couple features:
– Keyboard shortcuts (e.g., compose an email, call up the inbox, etc)
– Menubar Icon should pull down to present a view of my inbox
Those would be great additions.
Excellent review – thank you. A couple of question from a new(ish) gmail user.
1. I have migrated my email from outlook but have difficulty understanding labels in gmail. Messages appear to be duplicated if using a rule to move incoming messages from inbox to a ‘to do’ folder. Is there a way round this?
2. Does Kiwi allow re-sizing of folder (label) and message columns?
3. I import messages into gmail from yahoo mail and my UK ISP mail account. Is it possible to import these separately into 3 Kiwi windows to see what is coming from which source.
@Porkington:disqus Hi. I am SO sorry that I am just seeing this. In Gmail, once you label (move) a message, use the Archive button at the top to remove it from the Inbox.
No, Kiwi does not allow resizing.
Kiwi is just a GUI to access Gmail, similar to Outlook, but not as robust. So, however you import your messages into Gmail will be how they show in Kiwi. But, you can setup a Gmail rule to move messages from the different accounts into different folders (labels) as they arrive. Just be sure to set the rule to also Archive, so it is not in the Inbox as well.
I hope this helps.