Better Gmail 2 Firefox Extension for New Gmail [Exclusive Lifehacker Download]

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Google updated Gmail, and now we're following up with Better Gmail 2, a Firefox extension that adds features to the new Gmail interface. Like its predecessor, Better Gmail 2 is a compilation of Greasemonkey user scripts that add features to Gmail, but Better Gmail 2 works with Gmail's overhauled interface. We'll maintain the original Better Gmail extension separately from Better Gmail 2, for users still rocking the older version. However, if you've got the snappier Gmail interface enabled and you're ready for some tweaks courtesy of scripters far and wide, hit the jump for the Better Gmail 2 Firefox extension download.

Better Gmail 2 Firefox extension

Version: 0.1
Released: November 8, 2007
Creator: Gina Trapani, using scripts by Mihai Parparita and others, compiled using Anthony Lieuallen's Greasemonkey Compiler.

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License: Better Gmail is licensed under the GNU General Public License as specified by Anthony Lieuallen's Greasemonkey Compiler. All user scripts are copyright their original authors and maintain their original license as specified by their original author. (User scripts are located in the content/user_scripts folder in the Better Gmail 2 .xpi package.)

What it does: Adds a menu of optional extra features to the new version of Gmail.

IMPORTANT: Better Gmail 2 only works with the NEW Gmail. (You're using it if there's an "Older Version" link on the top right of your Gmail.) If you are NOT using the new Gmail version, grab the original Better Gmail download.

To view Better Gmail 2's enabled features and get more information on each, in Firefox's Add-ons dialog, click on Better Gmail 2's Preferences dialog, as shown:

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See screenshots of each extra feature in action:

Installation: Click the Better Gmail 2 download button above in Firefox. A yellow bar will appear across the page that reads "Firefox prevented this site (lifehacker.com) from asking you to install software on your computer." Click the "Edit Options" button and allow lifehacker.com to ask you. Then, click on the link again. Press the Install button in the dialog box, and restart Firefox.

Usage: Once you've installed Better Gmail 2, go to your Gmail account to see the enhancements. To turn a feature on or off, visit the extension's Preferences dialog (from the Tools menu) and select or deselect the appropriate checkboxes. Refresh Gmail to see the changes.

Credits: Better Gmail is a compilation of user scripts written by several Greasemonkey scripters. The full list of Better Gmail user scripts and their authors is as follows:

We compiled the scripts using Anthony Lieuallen's Greasemonkey Compiler, and modified the output of the compiler to include multiple scripts with the ability to enable and disable individual scripts.

Better Gmail Q&A

What version of Better Gmail should I be using?

If you can see a link on the top right of your Gmail that says "Older Version," you are using the NEW Gmail interface and should use Better Gmail 2. Otherwise, you are using the old version of Gmail and should install the original Better Gmail.

Why did you split Better Gmail and Better Gmail 2 into two separate extensions?

The user scripts Better Gmail includes either support the new Gmail, the old Gmail, or both. Since Gmail's upgrade to the new interface is not linear—not all users have it, and users who do can opt out of using it with the "Older Version" link—it made sense to maintain these two extensions separately instead of overloading a single interface with lots of "old only" and "new only" information. Presumably Gmail users are interacting with one version of Gmail, so you can pick which Better Gmail you need.

Should I uninstall the original Better Gmail after I install Better Gmail 2?

Yes—if you're not accessing a Gmail account using the older interface, there's no need to keep the original Better Gmail extension installed.

Will the original Better Gmail ever go away?

When Google phases out the older version of Gmail, we will halt development on the original version of Better Gmail and only support Better Gmail 2.

Why does Better Gmail 2 have so few options compared to the original?

Most script and style developers have not yet gotten around to updating their scripts for the new version of Gmail. Therefore, Better Gmail 2 has a LOT fewer features than Better Gmail. As developers update their scripts, I will update Better Gmail 2.

Where did all those cool skins go?

Sadly no Gmail skins I could find were yet compatible with the new version of Gmail. If there's a skin you've tested with the new Gmail and want to be included with Better Gmail 2, please post it in the comments.

What can I do to help get Better Gmail 2 as robust as the original?

Contact the script developers, tell them how much you love and appreciate their work, offer to support them however they need, and ask them to update their scripts for the new Gmail interface. In the original Better Gmail's About tab or on Better Gmail's homepage, click on any user script to visit its homepage and contact the developer.

Bug reports and feature requests: Got a favorite Gmail Greasemonkey script you'd like included in Better Gmail? A bug, a critique, a suggestion? Leave a comment here. Newcomers, here's how to get a comment login.

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