External Address Highlighter for Inbox by Gmail

Behold, the External Address Highlighter for Google Inbox!

2 ​​min

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Hi there! Just wanted to quickly let you know, that we published a new web-extension. It’s called External Address Highlighter (github) and does just that (in Inbox by Google).

You can get it for Chrome and for Firefox. I haven’t had the time to port it to Edge yet—but I will, eventually!

Update November 2018:

The web-extension was taken down from the Chrome Webstore, because the icon resembled some other icon too much. And since Google Inbox was deprecated anyways, we’re discontinuing the extension as well.

What the External Address Highlighter does

While composing an email, the extension gives visual feedback when a recipient has an external email-address, which typically means outside of the company. This can be configured with a regular expression, though.

Here, have a screenshot:

External Address Highlighter in action

The use-case is sending email in a business context. Sometimes, it makes a difference, whether the email is sent to colleagues only, or to external recipients like customers as well. The external address highlighter helps by reminding about external recipients, so you can double-check the content of the email, if need be.

Why we developed it

Two reasons: Curiosity and that one specific use-case.

Browser extensions (or plugins, or add-ons) for Chrome and Firefox have existed for quite some time, but they used different underlying technologies and APIs. It was not straightforward to build extensions compatible with Firefox and Chrome from the same codebase. That has changed recently with the advent of the WebExtensions API, which I wanted to check out.

How it works

We inject ourselves into Google Inbox and watch for elements representing mail recipients. These elements have a data attribute containing the recipient’s email-address. That address is matched against a regex to determine whether it is internal. Then, the element’s style is changed accordingly.

There’s an options page as well, where you can configure the regex used for matching. The default works for us here at inovex. But if you don’t want to go through the trouble of changing the preferences, there’s another solution: come work with us—then you won’t need to change it 😉


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