A few months ago I installed Xobni and since then my experience of Outlook has improved tenfold. I was looking for something similar for Gmail in order to better navigate my bulging inbox, and I came across MailBrowser. This free little extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer adds an Xobni-style sidebar to Gmail, giving you a much clearer view of your contacts and allowing you to sift through attachments much more easily.
After installing MailBrowser, open up Firefox (or IE) and you’ll see the MailBrowser sidebar displayed on the right of the browser. You can toggle this sidebar on and off using the MailBrowser icon that appears underneath it. Click ‘Add an account’ and enter your Gmail credentials. The app will then begin indexing your contacts and files, which can take a while if you have a big inbox. Make sure you have plenty of memory, because all this data is downloaded to your hard drive.
Your contacts are displayed in the sidebar à la Xobni, and you can ‘star’ any that you wish to mark out. Now, if you want to manage your Google contacts or schedule Google Calendar events with any of your contacts you can do so simply with the click of an icon.
Click on a contact and you can view all manner of information about your dealings with this person, including a log of previous conversations, exchanged emails, and details extracted from their email signature. You can even apply tags and notes to a contact to facilitate better searching in future.
There are a few settings you can tinker around with using MailBrowser, available via the ‘Preferences’ icon. For instance, you can choose to show only received files or display all inline signatures and images too. To further streamline your contacts list you can choose to show Google contacts only, or only display contacts to whom you have sent at least one mail. MailBrowser supports multiple Gmail accounts, and lets you set specific rules for each one.