Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Integrated Gmail - more about why open source rocks

Earlier today I was reading an article about add-ons for Firefox that mentioned something called Integrated Gmail. After visiting the web page for the Integrated Gmail add-on (here), I downloaded it and gave it a try. It's quite nice.

With the add-on installed and configured, I'm able to get access to my mail, Google calendar, and Picasa, all on the same web page. In the screen shot above, notice that I've hidden my mail away and I'm displaying the calendar (in month view); you can also see just the top of my Picasa Web Albums home screen, as well. Integrated Gmail has a number of other options, allowing you to view Google Notebooks and more. It's easy to configure.

It's not a huge deal, I admit. I'm pretty used to opening calendar and Picasa Web Albums in separate tabs. But I particularly appreciate closer integration of mail and calendar in Gmail. NOTE that this works only on the computer - not on my T-Mobile G1.

What I find particularly interesting about this is that it's possible at all. It is possible because Firefox is an open-source browser and because Google provides programmers with the inside info they need (an "API" or application programming interface) to write code that modifies or extends Google's own online applications. The closed approach to software development taken by Apple yields some good results, and a more open environment does produce a lot of garbage. Nevertheless, I prefer the open model and I think it's better for the world of computing in the long run.

About Me

I am an event photographer living in Dallas, Texas.