Gmail annoyance

Miniature of men harvesting wheat with reaping-hooks, on a calendar page for August. Queen Mary's Psalter (Ms. Royal 2. B. VII), fol. 78v (from Wikimedia)

As part of my preparation for leaving Carey I’m moving to Gmail. On the whole I find the web interface nearly as good as (if quite different from) Thunderbird especially given the limitations imposed by the choice of living in the cloud. However, I am not yet a convinced cloud dweller,1 so I wanted the “offline” feature. That meant installing and using Chrome (I use Google for my diary too). That’s OK, Chrome is hardly bloatware :) BUT while in FF mailto links open Gmail in Chrome they persistently ask me why I have not installed and set up Outlook Express !?* :(

I’ve searched the rabbit warren of user comments that serve Google instead of an organised help feature, to no avail. Apart from a couple of third party2 plugins there seems to be no way to remove this weird “feature”.

I thought Chrome was supposed to be nearly as tweakable as FF or even (God forbid) IE3 but no, as a matter of simple basic functionality Chrome is a locked down Microserf shop. Weird!

PS Here’s a hack a friend just found (9th Feb 2012):

Open Gmail in Chrome. Press Ctrl-Shift J.

Paste this into the code window:

 navigator.registerProtocolHandler("mailto",
                                  "https://mail.google.com/mail/?extsrc=mailto&url=%s",
                                  "Gmail");

Chrome will ask if you want to use Gmail, say yes. Problem solved.

Now why could Google not tell me that?

  1. Being often out of Internet contact – I have a 3G phone but don’t use the data services because of cost, and because 90% of the time I am not within cell phone coverage. []
  2. And lacking any seeming “official” acceptance. []
  3. Which at least back in the Dark Ages when I last used it, let me set up other email clients. []

5 comments on “Gmail annoyance

  1. Andrew Vogel

    Mailto links for me opened in chrome while I used gmail as my primary email. Hmmm… Chrome and gmail are awesome by the way.. Tags, conversations, fast browsing.

  2. Stephen

    Can’t you point Thunderbird at gMail? Why use the web interface at all?

  3. Stephen

    I mean use the web interface if you need to live in the cloud, but if you use a single machine as your primary way of doing email then use a mail client on it, and the web interface when away from that machine.

  4. tim

    I’ve thought about that. The big disadvantage for me is that then my mail will not be synched between laptop, netbook and phone…

  5. tim

    I.e. since I discovered Dropbox I do (to some extent) “live in the cloud” but because I am often out of Internet contact I also need stuff on my local machines… Is it so unreasonable tp expect Chrome to be capable of opening a mailto in Gmail? The same Google that made Gmail made Chrome!