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Safari extension highlight: Minimal Gmail

TJ Luoma, @tjluoma

With the addition of the Safari Extensions Gallery to Apple's website over the last few days, TUAW will be highlighting extensions that we think are special, useful, or just plain fun.

Minimal Gmail is my new favorite Safari extension. It allows you to "clean up" a lot of the GMail interface, including turning off several items that you can't disable any other way.

Yes, that means that you can disable ads, although to be honest I really haven't noticed the ads in Gmail for a long time. However, now that they are gone, it is nice to have that space for reading the message, especially if you are on a smaller screen. What's more exciting is the ability to hide things that I never use such as the "Invite" box. I mean, come on, when is the last time anyone invited someone else to Gmail? I'm guessing it was 2005. Also, I never use Gmail chat through the webpage, and never have it enabled, but Minimal Gmail allows me to hide that box completely.

Minimal Gmail will also hide the footer and header information. The footer alerts you to other IP addresses accessing your Gmail account, so some may want to keep an eye on that, but for me it was just clutter. Hiding the header means the links to Google Calendar, Documents, Reader, etc which I never accessed using those links anyway. That said, it also hides the links to the Settings and Labs on the right side of the header. I used the Google Lab "Quick Links" feature (which I was already using anyway) to make quick links to Settings and Labs, and then disabled the header as well.

There are a lot of other options as well, but that should give you a feel for it. If you use Gmail in Safari as often as I do, it's definitely worth checking out. (Yes, it also supports Google Apps too.)

Important note to uses of Minimal Gmail v.1.0: you will have to manually update to version 2, but from now on Safari should be able to automatically update it, if desired.

Thanks to the SafariExtensions Tumblr (which is where I learned about Minimal Gmail) for continuing to point out useful new extensions. I use that site more than Apple's official page.

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