Tired of Gmail's Crummy Task Manager? Try This

Last Updated Apr 20, 2011 2:36 PM EDT


If you live and breathe in Gmail, you've no doubt wished for a more robust task manager than the anemic one Google rolled out nearly two years ago (and has barely updated since). Good news: your wish has been granted.

Browser add-on Taskforce converts Gmail messages into tasks, then gives you the tools to organize, share, and manage those tasks.

Available for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, Taskforce adds a small floating toolbar -- and a couple new buttons -- to your Gmail page. For example, when you open an e-mail message, you'll see two self-explanatory new buttons under the subject line: Convert to New Task and Add to Existing Task. You can also create a new task -- independent of a specific e-mail message -- by clicking the Plus sign on the toolbar.

Each task can have a due date, collaborators, and comments. Taskforce also lets you create "lists," which are basically groups for related kinds of tasks ("Sales" or "Follow-up," for example). Individual tasks can be assigned to multiple lists if necessary.

If you add a collaborator to a task, Taskforce sends an e-mail to that person. Of course, you can involve multiple people if you want, but these folks don't need to be Taskforce users themselves; they can view a task's status just by clicking an embedded link. Collaboration is definitely a big part of what makes Taskforce a better option than Google's own task manager.

However, my one big complaint with the service is that it lacks reminders and alerts. Indeed, you can't even set a time that a task needs to be completed, only a date. Even so, Taskforce shows a lot of promise, and if you're a Gmail user, I highly recommend giving it a try.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.