TECHNOLOGY

This Gmail Tool Lets You Spy on Who is Opening Your Emails

Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes (digital edition).

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BY Tom Popomaronis - 10 Feb 2018

This Gmail Tool Lets You Spy on Who is Opening Your Emails

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Read receipts are nothing new. Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Instagram all inform users when someone reads or opens their message. However, there's one service without the mainstream feature baked-in - Gmail. As a serial entrepreneur with a burning desire (translation: selfish want) to know whether my tactfully crafted content has been opened, being in the unknown was a problem for me.

Forever put the unknown to rest.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of when Gmail finally reached a billion active users. With so many people using Gmail for their needs, it's quite astonishing that the service doesn't allow users to enable native read receipts.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of useful apps and extensions and one I've been using for years is none other than Mailtrack.io.

The basic account is free and has extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera users. They boast over 2.4 million users, 850,000 Chrome installs, and 2,600 customers paying for a premium subscription. Every read email will receive a checkmark (similar to Facebook Messenger) and you can also proactively receive push notifications.

Currently, Mailtrack is the leader in this field with far more Chrome users than comparable services like Streak and Yesware. The company has seen incredible growth over a short amount of time -- doubling the number of downloads and new customers each year. They're also the first email tracker that fully integrates with the official Gmail app and the first software that can send tracked emails using the new Gmail add-ons (doing my happy dance).

The quest for transparency.

Email transparency might seem like a strange concept to some, but many startups such as Buffer and Stripe have embraced it with open arms.

"There are many reasons we default to transparency at Buffer, and perhaps the most important is that I genuinely believe it is the most effective way to build trust," wrote Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne. "This means trust amongst our team but also trust from users, customers, potential future customers and the wider public who encounter us in any way."

Email transparency also helps by reducing the number of follow-up messages asking someone if they read your previous email, which is something that doesn't just apply to sales people, folks (sorry for taking so long to respond, Aunt Georgette).

Undoubtedly though, perhaps this service is best for salespeople and marketers for the recurring, ongoing utilization. However, if you want to get a good laugh, whenever a friend opens an email that you have tracked, send them a text saying "I see you" -- just too funny.*

*I do not recommend doing this to prospective clients but if you do, please share it with me.