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Switching from Outlook to Gmail without losing all functionality



mailbrowserTypically, people become dependent on Outlook for the folders, the contact management, and the searchability. The Outlook-dependent sometimes harbor a silent jealous of people with a snazzy Gmail account but the jealousy fades when the two are compared because Outlook outperforms Gmail despite how ugly and clunky Outlook is.

This article was originally published on on January 26, 2010.

MailBrowser is a Gmail browser addon that sits quietly alongside Gmail that gives Gmail much of the same functionality of Outlook. Many people don’t know that some time back, Gmail added tags and folders which solves the first objection to most Outlook users. But Gmail has yet to become a robust contact manager, so MailBrowser has stepped in and calls itself akin to Xobni (for Outlook).

I am currently a Gmail user, recovering from many years of Outlook use and this addon excited me for their robust features:

  • searches text not only in mail but in attachments
  • view thumbnails of all attachments between you and a contact
  • simple contact management
  • users can manage multiple accounts
  • the program functions in the sidebar
  • adds the ability to tag contacts
  • stats “determine the balance of a relationship”
  • auto sync across multiple installations
  • offers desktop search for attachments

Aside from the endless Gmail options (like themes, tagging, Gmail chat, etc.), MailBrowser steps in to make Gmail a robust alternative to Outlook. What email client do you use today and which will you use tomorrow?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Loren Nason

    January 26, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Im going to try that out NOW!

  2. Susie Blackmon

    January 26, 2010 at 3:10 am

    I converted to GMail quite happily and easily a while back but need additional help in deleting/archiving (bulk) and CM, etc. This is a must add! Hugs Ms. Lani.

  3. Fred Romano

    January 26, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I love Gmail right out of the box! It is simple and easy to organize your contacts, group them, and blast email them. I couldn’t run my business as easily without it. I also love the add on features (labs) available like canned messages.

  4. Lani Rosales

    January 26, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Loren, Susie, I know most people will use it because of the client management, but I’m most drawn to the ability to search INSIDE of attachments, not just for their title- I find myself remembering bits and pieces and have a tough time narrowing it down sometimes with how frequently I use email (it has truly replaced the phone for me). Let me know how y’all end up liking it! 🙂

  5. Jonathan Benya

    January 26, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Awesome add-on, I just added it myself. I’m a big gmail fan, and the lack of functionality out of the box can be easily corrected with free add-ons like this one. I’ve found gmail to work best with firefox, and have been working that way for some time now. It’s much better to be on that instead of outlook because I have better access remotely this way. I also ended up adding my gmail to my iphone, and I use Calengoo to sync up my gmail calendar to my phone. The gmail calendar beats the pants off of iCal!

  6. Anna Altic

    January 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Love this and can’t wait to try it. I am a new mac convert and don’t like outlook for mac. Thanks for such a useful tip.

  7. Jamey Prezzi

    January 26, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Just in time! Going to do this right now!!

    Thanks for the tip!

  8. teresa boardman

    January 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I have used outlook since it first came out, I also self host my email accounts. I will look at the add on I wouldn’t mid dumping outlook however I will probably always host me own email account. 🙂

  9. Marissa Myers

    January 27, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Oh, wow! I’m downloading the app as I write. I’ve been looking for a CRM bridge between gmail and MailChimp, my email marketing provider. I love MailBrowser’s potential for segmenting customer lists with tags, then uploading those lists to MailChimp for email marketing. Thanks, Lani!

  10. April Groves

    January 31, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    ****Holding my nose and closing my eyes****

    Seriously, ya’ll. Like Teresa, I have ALWAYS used Outlook for the awesomeness of it all. But I am also using Google Groups. Docs, calander, House cleaning service….okay maybe not that last one. But I can see where converting to gmail can be productive…

    But I am supppppper nervous.

    Question – I have an assistant and Outlook doesn’t play well across the accounts (sharing contacts, calanders, tasks, etc) does gmail and this new add on address that at all?

  11. James Malanowski

    February 5, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Grr … Interesting concept but no Linux support.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

      You’re right, it’s not a full suite. Maybe some day! 🙂

  12. James Malanowski

    February 5, 2010 at 1:11 am

    From the comments on the site the authors didn’t seem opposed to a Linux port they just didn’t think the demand would be high enough. I think they’d be surprised.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 5, 2010 at 1:18 am

      I absolutely agree. I’m not a Linux users, but since I’m in a high tech city, I know a LOT of people that are.

  13. Marlow

    January 30, 2011 at 1:03 am

    I was hoping this would make Gmail usable for me, but, sadly, it does not. Even with this download, Gmail is inadequate, inferior and unusable for me.

    Important features that Gmail lacks:

    Limited to 100 emails per page instead of ALL emails shown on one page
    Inability to create newsletter-style emails with embedded photos
    Inability to alphabetize and view all emails from the same person on one page
    Inability to have a signature inserted after your email message

    • Lani Rosales

      February 1, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Marlow, even though I’ve switched, you hit on some things that drive me crazy. I miss being able to sort like I could in Outlook, but I’ve learned a few tricks that make Gmail usable:

      1. When I just want to see unread emails, in the search bar I type “in:inbox is:unread.”
      2. When I want to see only emails with attachments, I type “in:inbox has:attachment”
      3. I do newsletters via Gmail (drag images into the compose box and they embed rather than attach), but it gets flagged as spam more often than when I do it through
      4. Gmail in labs now allows an HTML signature in all emails. It’s new.

      Sorting is a problem and capping at 100 is, but maybe these other tips have softened the blow? 🙂

  14. Joe Loomer

    January 30, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I’d love to go to the cloud permanently, but in my position, the Xobni interface and the issues Marlow mentioned are just too important to give up Outlook right now. I’m sure there’s a future for that in Gmail.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  15. Bryan

    January 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Developing a growing disdain for Outlook. Will definitely give MailBrowser a try! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Nicole Boynton

    February 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Lani –
    Do you know if this add on allows you to create follow ups/to dos or appointments directly from the contact list? Had someone looking for this feature the other day.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Nicole, you can’t do that from the contact in standard GMail but you might be able to from MailBrowser. What I do is I keep the calendar widget on the sidebar of my Gmail and immediately schedule it in the “quick add” portion and note in my contact that I did so. But no, it’s still not robust enough to do that on its own but there are likely browser extensions on Chrome that offer it…

  17. MH for Movoto

    February 1, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I use Outlook at work and Gmail in my personal life. And while I never want my personal life to feel quite THAT organized, i definitely prefer it and it’s nice to think that maybe someday we’ll use nothing but gmail, all the time!

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Tech News

AI’s reading abilities catch up with humans – scary or awesome?

(TECH NEWS) Measured by Stanford University’s reading comprehension test, AI achieves a major milestone and some people fear being replaced, others admire the innovation.



ai robot not human

Going into 2018, I decided not so much to set major resolutions off the bat, but rather set mini goals along the way. One of those mini goals started in November, when I challenged myself to watch 100 new (to me) movies in 365 days.

A few days ago, I hit number 35 which was the award-winning Joaquin Phoenix film, “Her.” Without giving too much away, the plot is set in the near future where a man develops a relationship with a life-like operating system (OS).

During one of their first conversations, the OS states that she read an entire book in under a second. While watching it, I couldn’t help but think that we’re not too far away from that.

Turns out my thought wasn’t far off, as artificial intelligence (AI) developed by Alibaba and Microsoft have out read humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test.

“This is the first time that a machine has outperformed humans on such a test,” Alibaba said in a statement.

Experts in the field of artificial intelligence at Stanford developed this test to measure and assess the growing reading abilities of computers. The test creates comprehension questions based off of a selection of Wikipedia articles.

Alibaba scored an 82.44, beating humans by a hair as they scored 82.304. The next day, Microsoft’s AI software also beat humans with the score of 82.650.

While this is a monumental feat for technology, it will pose a problem for humans as more jobs will be at risk. This is a continued issue for humans as robots are designed and trained for their jobs (i.e. Amazon).

The technology has already been put to work for the Singles Days shopping extravaganza, as a large numbers of computers were used for customer service queries. It’s suggested that the technology can be used for other customer service outlets, as well as having the ability to give museum tours.

Brands such as Facebook, Tencent, and Samsung have submitted AI models for the Stanford test in the past. “These kinds of tests are certainly useful benchmarks for how far along the AI journey we may be,” said Andrew Pickup, a spokesman for Microsoft. “However, the real benefit of AI is when it is used in harmony with humans,” he added.

AI continues to grow and shows no sign of stopping, and some humans are concerned what this will mean for the future – some fear being replaced, others laud the ability to innovate our world. What do you think?

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Tech News

Practice for coding interviews, live with another human

(CAREER) Looking to practice coding interviews with a real human? Earn yourself a sweet win-win situation with this online solution to acing technical interviews.



technical coding interview

Practicing for interviews with a friend helps prepare you for the real thing. When the time comes, unless y’all seriously slacked off or you got the company totally wrong, you should at least feel comfortable interviewing since you practiced with a pal.

Just about anyone can help you prep for standard interview questions like listing your strengths, weaknesses, and talking about a five-year plan. But when it comes to coding interviews, your friends may not be able to offer as much help if they’re not in the field.

Technical interviews typically include demonstrating not only solid communication, but also CS knowledge, coding, and demonstrable problem solving.

Well, count your blessings and say hello to Pramp, an online platform that helps you practice technical interviews for software engineering roles. Named for the acronym version of “practice makes perfect,” Pramp pairs you with a peer for a live HD video interview practice session.

Personal matching considers experience, education, target companies, practice topics you’d like to cover, preferred programming language, and availability.

You and your peer take turns being the interviewer and interviewee for 30 minutes each. Pramp provides the questions to ask 24 hours prior to the interview, and gives answers as well. There’s even a collaborative real-time code editor to share your work.

Pramp supports twelve programming languages, including C++, Java, and Python. You select multiple programming languages for your interviews.

Once the interviews are over, you provide feedback and rate each other’s performance.

There’s no limit to how many interviews you can participate in, and you can choose your level of anonymity. Pramp will only share what you allow, but if you go the public route, they’ve got a pretty sweet perk…

After a few coding interviews, Pramp assesses your strengths to match you with relevant opportunities. From there, you can schedule a phone screen directly on Pramp with a hiring manager. You don’t even need a resume.

Passing the phone screen gets you an onsite interview with the hiring manager. All that practice sure paid off, huh? You don’t need to install anything to start using Pramp, and mega bonus: it’s is free to use. Check them out now if you’re a prospective employee or employer to get connected with talent.

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Tech News

Upload a pic, this site sizes it for 7 social media sites at once

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Creating the correctly-sized images for each social media platform can take a lot of time and patience. A new app helps to make this process simple.



A goal that most all of us have is to always be increasing efficiency and productivity. The more that we complete repeated tasks, the more we are able to cut out unnecessary steps and get to the end result faster.

I have found this to be true in terms of social media management. Each platform has their own rules, their own means of posting, and it takes time and attentiveness to get your message across each individual site.

One of the most time consuming aspects of this is the visual component. It’s not only time consuming, but also crucial to have as part of your post as that is what draws an audience’s attention.

The issue with this is that there are different settings for each platform, forcing us to have specially-sized photos for each social media site. This was a problem I ran into a few months back when I was attempting to create a logo for my company to be used for each platform. What looked good on Facebook, wouldn’t translate to LinkedIn, and so on.

Now, I’ve learned of a one-stop-shop to create sizes for each social media site. This was found in the form of Landscape.

Landscape describes itself as “streamlined image resizing for social media.” The app lets you prepare images that meet the aspects for each social media site.

The free app was created by Sprout Social and it’s easy to use. First, you select an image and upload it to Landscape. Then, you choose the social networks that you want the image to be sized for. Finally, you crop the images to their respective sizes and upload them to your pages.

“Landscape is a powerful image resizing tool designed to help social media marketers, content creators and business owners develop a standout presence in an increasingly visual social world,” says Sprout Social.

“Our tool offers social media professionals an efficient way to produce multiple image sizes optimized for social media profiles, messages and campaigns – ultimately giving them more time to focus on what matters most: fostering engagement and authentic conversations through social.”

It’s as simple as that and helps save you time and aggravation.

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