Mac users who aren’t happy using the default Mail app have the choice to use other desktop email clients like Thunderbird or Sparrow. Many are satisfied with just using their email service’s web interface. If you’re a Gmail user and like to stick to its web interface but at the same time receive notifications for all your emails, Mail Ping is an app worth $1.99 in the Mac App Store that might interest you. The app works with Notification Center in Mountain Lion to give you alerts every time you receive a new email. The app supports multiple accounts, just like Gmail’s web interface, and allows you to open your inbox or the compose message page for any of the configured accounts from the Menu Bar.
Once installed, the first thing to do is to add your email accounts. Mail Ping supports both Gmail and Google Apps accounts. You don’t have to be signed in to each account in your browser. Though if you are signed in to multiple accounts, make sure you add those accounts to Mail Ping in that same order. The safest bet here is to sign out from all accounts in your browser first. After adding your email addresses to the list, access all of them one by one and sign in when prompted. Mail Ping adds an envelope icon to the Menu Bar that is black when you have zero messages in all your inboxes, and red when there are unread messages. You can add as many accounts as you like, and remove them later by going to the ‘Manage Accounts’ option.
Once your accounts are all set, Mail Ping will automatically start giving you alerts for new emails. The alerts can be dismissed just like any other Notification Center alert.
The Mail Ping button in the Menu Bar allows you to force the app to manually check for new email. The ‘Open Inbox’ and ‘Compose Email…’ options are both self-explanatory, and perform their respective operations in your browser for whichever account you choose.
Mail Ping works pretty well and while we wouldn’t call it overpriced, there is something missing. When a new email is received, the notification alert does not tell you which account it was received in. This is a considerable shortcoming, especially for an app that costs. While being able to check for new email across multiple accounts is great, it’s equally important to know which account is the new message for. Hopefully the developers will address this shortcoming in a future update.