How To: Add Gmail to the Message Menu in Ubuntu 11.04 & 11.10 (Unity)



So, you have Ubuntu 11.04 or 11.10 and have no interest in using the default mail client (Evolution or Thunderbirdrespectively), but instead you'd rather have integrated access to your Gmail account? It's actually a pretty simple thing to accomplish with a great little notifier called gm-notify. In fact, I made a nice little video about it at

Why gm-notify? True, there are other notifiers for Ubuntu that do similar things, but out of the ones I tried this was the only one to integrate into the Message Menu, use the OSD Notifications and successfully launch Gmail in my browser. Plus it's easy to configure once it's installed and can be installed multiple ways... so, if you prefer using the Ubuntu Software Center it's easily installed that way, if you prefer Synaptic Package Manager it's in there as well, plus if you find the Terminal is your preferred path, it's a quick apt-get away.


  • Ubuntu Software Center: Simply open USC and search for gm-notify, you should only get one result. Then it's a matter of clicking install and letting USC do it's thing. Keep in mind USC tends to run slower, so don't be alarmed if it takes a few minutes, but for new comers to Ubuntu this is usually the easiest option.
  • Synaptic Package Manager: First, you have to install this from USC, but if it's what you usually use to install, then you probably already have it. (if not... search USC for Synaptic Package Manager and install. It can then be opened from the Dash). Open Synaptic, input your admin password and then in the search bar at top type gm-notify. Again, this returns only one result... click on the box next to gm-notify and select Mark for installation. After you've accepted the message telling you what needs to be installed, go to the top of Synaptic and click Apply to start the Install.
  • Install with Terminal: Open a terminal window and at the prompt type:
    sudo apt-get install gm-notify
    and press enter, when prompted enter your admin password (it will be hidden), you may get another prompt asking if you want to install the needed components, type y and press enter to continue. When you're back to your normal prompt, you're all done and you can close the terminal.

Configuring gm-notify is a pretty simple process. once you've installed it using one of the three options above, you can close whatever window you have open. Then press Alt+F2 to bring up the run prompt, this will look like part of the Dash. You'll see a Run a command bar at top, in it type gm-notify-config and press enter.

A small window will appear where you can enter your email address and password, it will validate your credentials. You can select whether you want to open in the Gmail web interface (browser) or in your current default mail client (as far as I know this just opens you mail client but doesn't show your Gmail). In the Enhanced tab, you can select a sound to play when new mail arrives and whether or not you want gm-notify to run at start up.

Once configuration is complete you'll have a Google Mail section in your Message Menu that will show you your unread email count as well as use the standard OSD notifications to let you know new mail has arrived. Clicking on the Inbox under the new section will launch your browser, or a new tab in a currently opened browser, and take you straight to Gmail. And there you have it, how to integrate Gmail into Ubuntu's Unity Message Menu.

Members online

Latest posts