Enhance Your Google Apps with Greasemonkey Scripts


Like a lot of Web Workers, I am fairly dependent on the Google suite of applications, and with good reason. They are feature rich, they’re reliable, I can get to them from anywhere on just about any hardware, and they’re free.

That doesn’t mean that they are perfect though. Each application has it’s own quirks and improvement is always possible. Thankfully, if you’re a Firefox user you can tweak these and other applications to add some really great functionality using the Greasemonkey add-on. We’ve talked about the benefits of Greasemonkey in the past, and with an impressive library of scripts available it can be used to modify quite a few web applications, including those made by Google.

Here are some of the more useful scripts I have discovered in my travels that help my Google experience be even more productive:

iGoogle – The iGoogle home page is a great way to consolidate everything from all of my Google services into one place, calendaring, email, docs etc.. Add my Jott‘s and my Toodledo tasks and I really do have a dashboard with just about everything I need.

Unfortunately Google uses an overly generous area at the top of the page for the logo and search box. Enter iGoogle Max, a script which adds a toggle menu item which collapses the header area and search box. With them out of the way when I don’t need them, I have much more room to dispaly my useful widgets.

iGoogle - Collapsed Header

Reader – I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds in Google Reader and the handy Show Feed Favicons script replaces the generic feedicon with the favicon pulled from the site. It’s very useful for picking out your favorites when scanning your unread list.

img wwd 514If you are also a Twitter user, you may like the Share with Twitter script. This adds an option to your Reader that will automatically submit / send an item to your Twitter account. Built in options to shrink the URL and count words make it super handy.

Gmail – I consolidate all of my various email addresses into one Gmail account and take advantage of the ability to choose which one I am sending from. Gmail does offer the ability to add a signature but it doesn’t differentiate which account I am sending from making it a less than viable option for me.

The addition of Gmail HTML Signatures solves that problem. This is a very handy script that automatically inserts a customized signature based upon which account I am using to send the message from.

A lot of the best Gmail scripts have been assembled into the indispensable Better Gmail 2 add-on from the Lifehacker folks. Get a lot functionality all wrapped up into a nice self updating package.

I wonder why these features aren’t already available as they often seem so obvious and really are indispensable once you get used to them. It’s not unusual for user contributed functionality to make it into new releases, but in the interim this is a great way to customize your apps to work your way. And if a script doesn’t already exist, you can always create your own.

These are my favorites – which Google related scripts do you use that I missed?



Gmail has no concept of an automatic BCC field. If you’re using CRM and you want to log contact info, you could BCC it, but with Gmail, and Google Apps, you must *manually* paste it in. There’s a Greasemonkey script that automatically BCC’s email to a pre-destined address. Now, if I could just figure out how to get it to work…

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