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Geeks to Peeps

Geeks To Peeps: Boomerang

I truly believe that this is the best thing to happen to Gmail since, well, Gmail itself.

Boomerang is a third party plugin for the Firefox and Chrome web browsers which adds a ton of functionality and productivity enhancements to your Gmail account. If you’re a believer in the Getting Things Done (GTD) method, the Inbox Zero method, or both, Boomerang is for you. If you’re not a fan of either, Boomerang is still for you.

What Boomerang allows you to do, in a nutshell, is resend yourself emails from your inbox. For example, if you have an email from your boss which tells you to perform a task at a certain time, you can have Boomerang send that email from your inbox and schedule it to return at a specific time, serving as a reminder to perform that task. Got a meeting coming up and want a reminder half an hour before? Send that email via Boomerang and schedule it to return to your inbox a half hour before the meeting starts. Its arrival back in your inbox (and the resultant new mail alert), will do the job.

Much the same way that Gmail will suggest a Google Calendar appointment if there is a date/time in the email, Boomerang will also offer to return your email a certain time period before that date/time. All you need to do then is just click on the link at the top of the email and Boomerang will do the rest. The suggested time interval changes based on the email, as well. Emails about meetings will suggest returning the email two hours before the start time, while emails about birthdays will come back one day before. After all, you don’t want to be reminded that you need to get an anniversary present for your wife mere hours before your dinner date, right?

What if you want to send an email, but need to wait until after a certain time? I actually needed to do this today when I had to send a client an executive report of the issues I worked on today. I had to leave for another client due to an emergency, but, through Boomerang, scheduled the report email to send near the end of the work day. I then could focus on cleaning of the rogue anti-spyware scanner which infected my emergency client’s PC, knowing that my report would go out as planned when I wanted it to. What’s more, I can schedule the email I sent to return to my inbox if nobody responds after a certain time period. If there’s a project which needs parties to communicate and respond to one another, this is a great way to remind yourself that communication has stopped and send a follow-up email to get the responses you want.

To get Boomerang for your Firefox or Chrome browser, go to http://www.boomeranggmail.com/and click on the big red “Install Boomerang” button on the main page. Download and install the extension, restart your browser (Firefox) or reopen Gmail (Chrome) and start playing with the toy. Boomerang is free, but, if you love how much better it makes Gmail, you can subscribe to Boomerang via PayPal. The amount is up to you, but any amount will help the devlopers at Baydin continue to develop and improve Boomerang. Boomerang is currently in open beta, so go download and install it now!