Fluent review: An innovative new interface for Gmail
The right side of the screen is taken up by Fluent's to-do panel. (I told you we'd get back to that soon.) To-do lists are actually a native feature of Gmail, but they've always remained curiously buried in Google's interface; if you didn't happen to know they existed, you'd probably never find them. Fluent brings the feature front and center, and once again, the execution makes you wonder why Google hasn't done the same.
With Fluent, every message you view has a single-click option to turn the conversation into a to-do list item. Clicking the option instantly adds the item onto your to-do list; you can also long-click to add an item and simultaneously set a reminder.
By default, Fluent provides an infinite inbox scroll -- meaning that new messages continue to load and show up as you move downward, without your having to click forward to a new page. The need for page-to-page clicking has always been a pet peeve of mine in Gmail, so I found this functionality to be a much-welcomed addition.
Fluent has intelligent handling of multiple Gmail accounts, too: Once you add a second account into the program, an icon appears for it on the left-hand navigation bar. The icon allows you to see at a glance if the account has any new messages and, with one click, flip over to its inbox without having to sign out or load a new page.
Fluent has an impressive-looking mobile/tablet interface under development as well, but it's not yet available for public testing.
For all its positives, using Fluent isn't all roses. For example, while Fluent offers a series of keyboard shortcuts that mimic Gmail's, some of the more advanced shortcuts -- such as the "G-I" sequence to return to your inbox from any screen -- are not currently available. As a frequent shortcut user, the absence of those commands was a frustration for me while navigating through the system.
Another speedbump: Fluent, in its current beta form, handles only a limited amount of mail. Right now, Fluent loads your most recent six months of messages. The company says it'll eventually offer a "premium" subscription that will provide complete mail access along with other extra features; it's not yet clear how much that subscription will cost or how the basic free service might change once paid plans are introduced.
Finally, you can't discuss Fluent without discussing privacy. While Fluent doesn't have direct access to your Google password -- you authorize the program using Google's OAuth service -- the system does require access to all of your Gmail data.
- Google updates the Maps Explore Nearby feature -- for some users
- Chrome gets sharp after dumping 30-year-old Windows technology
- Google moves closer to selling smart contacts
- Google goes mum on Glass release plans
- Samsung Gear Live vs. LG G Watch: A real-world evaluation
- Android Wear deep-dive review: A smart start to smartwatch software
- Google's Larry Page talks of killing the 40-hour work week
- Google terminates Quickoffice apps on Android, iOS
- Google I/O looks to be about more than Android
- Google eyes 3D vision tech for experimental tablet
Read more about Web Apps in Computerworld's Web Apps Topic Center.
- How Network Connections Drive Web Application Performance Users around the globe, on all sorts of devices, expect Web applications to function as seamlessly as desktop applications. This paper discusses the...
- The Truth About Virtual Computing for CAD If you're a user of graphics-intensive software such as 3D modeling, simulation and analysis, and visualization, you might be skeptical about moving to...
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- ESG Lab Report: Virident FlashMAX Connect Performance Advantage with vCache on a single Oracle instance View Now>>
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Why Are Customers Really Deploying an NGFW? It seems every IT Security expert is talking about the NGFW, but what are people really doing? This webcast covers 5 real-world customer... All Web Apps White Papers | Webcasts