Using Gmail as your default mail app

If you are anything like me, you probably have an abundance of email accounts spread over various hosting providers, clubs and at the companies. I personally have a couple of active email addresses in my consulting company, a number of private email addresses, a couple at the Taekwondo club and of course an account at my current employer.

At the time where I used the PC platform on my private computers, I tried to keep an archive of all the emails by using Microsoft Outlook at first, and later moved on to Mozilla Firebird. Now, being all in on the Mac platform I have had a couple of options: Should I import everything into the Apple mail client, download Mozilla Firebird and see if I could import the old archives (or what is left after several system migrations), or something else.

Considering all the issues I have had maintaining and retreiving old stuff on the various systems, I finally decided to use Google Mail for everything in the future. The excellent search engine that comes with Google Mail and the ever increasing disk space made available by this fine company made it an easy choice.

The only thing left is that I needed Google Mail to be launched when selecting a mailto: link on a web page. The default option is to launch the native Apple Mail client – it would get the job done, but this is not what I wanted.

Firefox 3’s new ability to register webapps as link handlers has lots of potential usage. Here is one good example. Until recently adding GMail as your default mail application was just not an option. With Firefox 3 there is now a solution.

Follow these steps:

  1. Type the following registration request into the address bar of Firefox and hit enter:
    javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler("mailto","https://mail.google.com/mail/?extsrc=mailto&url=%s","GMail")
    
  2. Firefox 3 will ask permission to add Gmail as default mailto handler. Click the Add Application button,
  3. Now, if you click a mailto: link—try anything and Firefox 3 will ask which application you want to use. Choose Gmail, and select “Remember my choice for mailto links” to set the preference permanently.