Context Is Everything: Introducing Zoho Mail Contextual Gadgets

Keeping focus on users’ information and its context in connection with other applications and services has always been the Zoho way of developing apps. We have after all been altruistic to have integrated our top apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Projects and Zoho Invoice with external applications such as, for example, Gmail for the benefit of Google Apps users with whom we compete in some market segments.

Considering the fact that Zoho’s own portfolio of apps is one of the broadest around, developing tighter integrations between Zoho Apps tops our list of priorities. The goal is to move towards a ‘one Zoho’ experience so that whichever app a user happens to be, it pulls relevant information from other apps, and displays it in the right context.

Today, we are happy to announce contextual gadgets in Zoho Mail. You will now notice an uncanny strip with action icons at the bottom right corner of the Zoho Mail UI (can be disabled/enabled under Zoho Mail settings), when you open an email message.

These action icons provide connections to Zoho CRM, Zoho People, Zoho Contacts, Zoho Tasks and Zoho Notes, right when you go through your daily dose of emails; your mind fresh and ready to take action in context to the messages received. Here is a quick summary of how each gadget action can help:

We are confident that Zoho CRM users will love this Zoho Mail gadget. From within a message view in Zoho Mail, users can view existing tasks, events, notes and potentials related to the sender from the associated CRM contact records and also add new items.

Let’s say you are an ardent sales person, ever ready to garner information about your prospects. When you click the CRM gadget action, all existing notes, events, tasks and potentials relevant to the contact will be automatically pulled from your business’ Zoho CRM account and displayed without you having to navigate away from the email view. Loaded with additional relevant information in seconds, email interactions with your leads and prospects can be fine tuned for better impact to close more deals in less time.

In combination with the MailMagnet feature in Zoho CRM, this means a 2-way handshake between the two services. And stay tuned for more news on the CRM+Mail friendship.

Have you realized that a simple phone call or a quick face-to-face meeting with someone within reach could save you a lot of time from having to go through frivolous exchange of emails? Ever sent classic one liners like “Hey, coffee at 4pm?”, to someone 3-4 cubicles away? In Zoho Mail, you can now rather use the info gadget to load the direct contact details of your peers, prospects and colleagues and communicate naturally during situations where exchanging emails is in fact redundant.

If you are not in the habit of taking quick notes while perusing emails, you have no idea how many key points, cool ideas and crucial information you are allowing to evaporate into nothingness. We do understand that it can be nagging to scribble away on paper or switch to a notepad app now and then. Well, using the Notes gadget, users can fire up a simple notes editor in seconds from within the email view, making it downright easy for users to cultivate the habit of taking notes. All notes can be accessed later from the Zoho Notes app.

The most productive way to deal with email overload is to convert incoming requests, suggestions, discussions that require action into tasks. With the Task gadget action, users can add tasks without having to move away from the email view. So not only does this make it easy to compile a list of tasks but also helps in defining tasks with utmost clarity with the context of the original email retained during task creation.

This is just the tip of the ice berg towards providing a tightly integrated experience while using multiple Zoho apps. Contextual gadgets for more Zoho and external services on the way; because context is everything.

As always we humbly request you to spare some time to share your opinions and suggestions to fulfill our appetite for feedback.


34 Replies to Context Is Everything: Introducing Zoho Mail Contextual Gadgets

  1. Love this tool - just please add calendar function so I can quickly add an event in my calendar if someone sends me an email requesting a meeting rather than a meeting invite !

  2. Congrats! I’m most happy with the element of worthwhile integration of select apps from within Zoho mail. The word ‘select’ is noted due to the fact that I’d dislike if mail became heavy and busy with every app possible able to be pulled in. However, the Zoho team has done it again and brought about a ‘select’ tinkering to the mail app that both brings ‘select’ apps to the front for use while in mail – and, also vets those apps so that they truly serve a worthy purpose directly useful when paired with mail. Thanks Zoho and keep, keeping up the good and THOUGHTFUL work!

  3. Excellent!Any possibility of adding sync ability for eM Client? I know you have decided not to pursue Thunderbird (my current email program) but eM Client seems to be maturing nicely and gaining popularity. Tight integration with ZOHO would probably be a good boost to both ZOHO and eM Client.

  4. @Hari Murali
    for auto-fill (with a demarcation) at message compose it’s better if it can seach from the first letter,cos in some other language like chinese,it’s very rare that people’s name is more than 3 letters,some of them are only have 2 letters name,in this situation it’s not working under compose time to get the CRM records..

  5. @ZOHO – Congratulations !!! You did it again … !!! Great feature !!!Would there be a possibility of using this gadget on the Email TAB inside Zoho CRM —– that way we could easily create new contacts and leads directly from our emails …. but INSIDE CRMThank youAriel Segall

  6. @Jon, Anthony, Eugene,We hear you! We are working on better CRM+Mail friendship. In fact, we have already made CRM Contacts & Leads’ email ids auto-fill (with a demarcation) at message compose time when you type in the first 3 letters. We will be rolling our automatic population of CRM contacts in Zoho Mail contacts soon.@Glenn,
    Do you still get this error? Please let us know.@David Rowe, Zoho User, Maryellen
    We do plan to build on to these contextual integrations within Zoho Apps and also external services. Stay tuned.@Scott,
    Yes, we do look through blog comments! We strive not to miss even one Our development team is working on making search more useful as you have mentioned. Thanks for your valuable suggestions.@Emmett Moore, Bill,
    Pardon us for having fallen short on providing you a smooth user experience. We agree that we need to improve technically, even in some basic areas. At times, it so happens that we tend to overlook the basics with our minds focus shifted to advanced features. We hope to improve so that we not only are seen as a true alternative but the go to email service.@All Others,
    Thank you for taking time to offer compliments. It sure does help boost our motivation levels even further.

  7. Hope you can pay attention to some small things. When a user enables IMAP, you can provide the IMAP server settings in the same screen. Why should a user hop around the help pages for a simple thing like IMAP setting. There are lot of small things that can make Zoho Mail, a really interesting alternative

  8. Zoho Mail needs faster updating with Gmail. I dont like waiting an extra minute or two minutes to see my Gmail from within ZohoMail. It should be much quickler…just saying.Also, in Zoho Creator there are two things i really dont like.
    1. Outputting embedded reports and forms should be easier to customize. The current system requires a ton of HTML tinkering, which is a waste of time and difficult for non HTML users.
    2. The lag time to input data into a form and then have that data show up in either Creator or Zoho Analytics is frustrating. Way too much lag time for real time applications.While I am at it. Let me also say that Zoho Analytics inability to embed graphics and only text really sucks.Ok, I said what I wanted to say. Its a good product, but just not at the technical level of Caspio.

  9. *** ZOHO STAFF: I hope you do look through these blog comments. Do you? ***This new feature CAN BE awesome, IF you add a related capability: The Search function should include the Notes contents. Many users are not sophisticated enough to use labels, and they do have drawbacks compared to my proposed solution.When you implement this Notes search capability, it should be included in the drop-down of the quick search (Subject, Sender, etc…) as well as the drop-down in the Advanced Search.With the additional search capability, this feature could almost be considered a “killer app”!Ask your customers whether they think this could be useful. I bet they will say YES!

  10. Well done ZOHO team. Excellent integrations and some serious productivity improvements. Could we please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaasssssssseeeeeeeeee have direct 2 way synchronizing of contacts between CRM and Mail. That would be just so fantastic and would really take to the next level a great package.Thanks again for what has been achieved so far.

  11. I find it simply amazing – Everything’s connected 360 degrees. @Eugene – have you tried Zoho’s Mail Addon feature? I guess that would solve your problem?

  12. This is great, but what I am reeeally longing to see is the ability to assign incoming emails to potentials in Zoho CRM, that way I would not have to search thru thousands of emails to find an email with info about a potential from 3 weeks ago. Are you working on a feature like this?

  13. When I use the task gadget and save I am getting an error:
    Please check the input values!!!As far as I can see everything else is great.

  14. Will you be able to eventually log calls from this feature? Also, for the tasks, is the ability to set the reminder from mail going to become a feature?

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