Shared Inbox for Google Gmail lets you create multiple shared inboxes for functions such as customer support, general questions, or help desk.

Jim Rapoza, Contributor

May 2, 2011

3 Min Read

Gmail Add-On Boosts Support Features

Gmail Add-On Boosts Support Features

Slideshow: Gmail Add-On Boosts Support Features (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

For many businesses, especially those in the small and midsize business bracket, Google Apps has become a very popular business office package. In particular, Gmail has become a common choice as a mail and communications tool in many offices.

However, while Google Gmail is an effective tool for many types of common email tasks, by itself it isn’t designed for many other business tasks. In particular, when it comes to certain types of functionality, such as help desk and service tickets and some forms of business collaboration, Gmail doesn’t tend to have the same level of offerings as popular enterprise systems such as Microsoft Exchange.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of developers rushing to fill this void through add-ons and modules for Google Apps. One tool that I recently tested, Shared Inbox for Gmail, is specifically designed to add improved help desk and customer support ticket features to Gmail.

Shared Inbox for Gmail was created by RunMyProcess, providers of a cloud application platform, and the product can be easily installed into a Google Apps for Business account.

In functionality, Shared Inbox for Gmail is pretty simple. It adds a graphic box to the bottom of user emails in Gmail that can be used to assign that email to another user of the Shared Inbox.

It is possible to create and maintain multiple shared inboxes, possibly for different types of functionality such as customer support, general questions, or help desk. The inbox is tied to a specific email (for example, [email protected]) and each user in the related department would have access to that shared Inbox.

So, for example, if I received a support request in email, I could assign that email to another support staff worker and include comments in the Shared Inbox. Basically, it works as a very simple support ticket system.

The full thread of the support email is shown within the Shared Inbox area. And in the lower-left bar of Gmail, a Shared Inbox task area is shown, which makes it possible to view all of the tasks and, potentially, multiple Shared Inboxes being used.

A very basic Web-based administration interface makes it possible to view and create users and shared inboxes. When compared to dedicated help desk and support ticket systems, Shared Inbox for Gmail is a pretty barebones offering. But for many small companies, this type of basic functionality can still fill a need and be a better fit than a full-fledged support system.

The standard plan of Shared Inbox for Gmail, priced at $10 per user per year, includes an unlimited number of Shared Inboxes. But email attachments, while available in the original emails, will not be accessible from the Shared Inbox history. The premium plan, priced at $15 per user per year, includes an unlimited number of Shared Inboxes and also includes the storing and transfer of file attachments, which will be accessible from Shared Inbox ticket history.

You can find more information on Shared Inbox for Gmail here.

Recommended Reading: Google's New Page Top 15 Cloud Collaboration Apps Gmail, Hotmail Pose Government Security Risk Google Says China Is Hindering Gmail Review: Google Adds Faster Engine To Chrome 10 Google Apps: A Love Story See more by Jim Rapoza

About the Author(s)

Jim Rapoza


Jim Rapoza is Senior Research Analyst at the Aberdeen Group and Editorial Director for Tech Pro Essentials. For over 20 years he has been using, testing, and writing about the newest technologies in software, enterprise hardware, and the Internet. He previously served as the director of an award-winning technology testing lab based in Massachusetts and California. Rapoza is also the winner of five awards of excellence in technology journalism, and co-chaired a summit on technology industry security practices. He is a frequent speaker at technology conferences and expositions and has been regularly interviewed as a technology expert by national and local media outlets including CNN, ABC, NPR, and the Associated Press.

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