Gmail and Google Reader’s favicons are more than just that

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September 13, 2010

Favicons instantly help us which website is contained in a tab. Gmail’s Favicon can be more than just a favicon. It can be very informative in terms of showing the number of unread emails. Google Reader’s favicon can also be used in a similar manner. This can be done easily with a Firefox plugin and a handy greasemonkey script.

Gmail shows the number of unread emails in the tab itself. The title of Gmail gets updated whenever you receive a new email. But the favicon remains unchanged. You can apply a tweak so as to show the number of unread emails in your Gmail favicon. It can also let you know if someone has sent you a chat message. So, far this can be done just in Mozilla Firefox.

First head on to the Mozilla Firefox Addons page for the Faviconize Tab plugin. Now install it and restart your browser. This plugin lets you reduce the size of a tab to just about the size of a favicon.

Firefox Faviconize Tab plugin Now, you’ll need a Greasmonkey script that does the trick for you. Install “Gmail Favicon Alerts” script to your browser. Installing is easy; just click on the Install button but make sure that the Greasemonkey is enabled on your browser(via the button at the bottom of the browser). After its installed, open up Gmail and you’ll notice that the number of unread emails are shown on the favicon.

When you have unread emails, you’ll see the number on a yellow badge on a blue Gmail Favicon.

Gmail Favicon alerts unread emails

When you have no unread emails, you’ll see a red Gmail Favicon.

gmail favicon alerts all read email

When you get a chat message, you’ll see a chat bubble instead of the Favicon.

gmail favicon alerts chat message

Similarly, the “GReader Favicon Alerts” script for Greasemonkey shows notifications on the Favicon for the number of unread feeds. When the number of unread feeds, is below one thousand, it shows the exact number. When the number is above 1000, it simply shows, 1K+ on the favicon.

With these scripts, you can make the favicons of Gmail to show the unread emails and show the Google Reader items that are unread.

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