To be honest, when I first heard about Kiwi for Gmail, my first reaction was one of skepticism. After all, why would Gmail users want a Mac desktop app that looks just like Gmail in a web browser?
After giving it a spin however, I am convinced that the enhancements that the app brings to the Gmail experience makes it worthy of consideration for Gmail users. This is particularly the case if you are using more than one Gmail account – and don’t we all?
Doing Gmail better
But what is Kiwi for Gmail? Zive, the company that created it says Kiwi for Gmail is the first Mac desktop email program that was developed exclusively for Gmail users. In fact, the app was actually the result of a successful Kickstarter project that was completed in June last year, and put together by a seasoned team with stints in companies such as Apple, Bose and iRobot.
I access a handful of Gmail email accounts for both work and personal use, and personally found Kiwi for Gmail quite useful for day-to-day use in its own minimalist way. For one, the centering your Gmail experience within a standalone desktop app eliminates the need to search for the correct Gmail tab among your zillions of Chrome tabs.
I liked how easy it was to toggle between different accounts by simply clicking on the appropriate color-coded icon on the title bar area. Indeed, all windows that are created are color-coded with a ribbon – can change the colors according to your preference – at the title bar area, hopefully reducing the chances of an email sent from the wrong account.
And if you’ve ever tried to compose a new email and needed to refer to another email in your inbox, then you’re love Kiwi for Gmail’s ability to compose emails in a new window. This means that you can quickly bring up the main Kiwi for Gmail app window like you would on Outlook, and then tab back to your new email to complete it.
My favorite feature is probably the ability to click on its icon on the menu bar to quickly compose an email using the correct account. To speed things up even further, you can also assign a global hotkey to bring up; I’m actually quite a fan of keyboard shortcuts.
And yes, Kiwi for Gmail can be configured to automatically start upon boot up.
Different, yet the same
It is necessary to point out that aside from the enhancements, Kiwi for Gmail behaves just like Gmail – it uses a standard browser engine under the hood to load Gmail’s interface. This means that you do need Internet connection for Kiwi for Gmail to work, as unlike a proper desktop email client, email messages are not actually downloaded onto your machine.
Indeed, during the occasional times when the page failed to load fully due to transient Internet issues, I was able to reload the “inbox” by clicking on it, right clicking on my mouse, and selecting “Reload” from the menu. Just like a normal web browser.
Kiwi for Gmail has other features of course, such as filtering and showing only notifications that are important, support for large attachments, and support for gestures on your MacBook to navigate your emails. These features didn’t interest me, though your mileage may vary.
If you are looking to give Kiwi for Gmail a spin, the “Lite” is available for free, though it is limited to just one Gmail account with some features absent. The full version Kiwi for Gmail costs $10 for all of these, including the ability to work with a maximum of six Gmail accounts.