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Developer Takes Our “Mark as Read” Gmail Idea, Makes MarkAsRead App

Back in January, we wrote up a “Gmail Feature Request” that focused on the need for a third button in Gmail notifications, specially a “Mark as read” button. That post gave one developer in particular the motivation to make it happen, since there is no telling if Google will ever even consider the idea. And with that, MarkAsRead was born and is now available on Google Play. 

The developer reached out to us last night to get us to take a look at the app that was based off of our idea, saying that he “found a clever way of intercepting the notification and allowing you to mark an e-mail as ‘Read’ straight from the notification.” With it now installed and up and running, I can say that my Gmail dreams have almost been realized at this point. The app works well, and does indeed put a “Mark as read” button in your notification for new Gmails.

Once installed, all you need to do is select which Gmail account you’d like it to use (multi-account support coming soon), give it notification access, and then click “Start.” Your new Gmails received through the specified Gmail account will now show a third button.

For those concerned about security, here are the permissions that the app requires:

INTERNET – To flag the email as read
ACCOUNTS & USE CREDENTIALS – To automatically authenticate you into your gmail account using Android’s build-in account manager (this is much more secure as we do not have to store or save your username/password anywhere)
NETWORK STATE – Helps us determine your internet connection stability.
CONTENT PROVIDER – Read unread count of your gmail account
RECEIVE BOOT COMPLETED – Allows MarkAsRead to launch on startup

Update:  The developer works for the MIT Media Lab as well, and had this to say in response to a couple of security questions we had:

It’s just a one-time thing that they don’t need to worry about. I think there’s a way to remove tokens through Google formally but I’m not 100% positive. Happy to look it up for you. It’s a pretty common technique used for Google authentication by apps 🙂 and it’s the technique Google recommends b/c then I don’t have to store or upload a username or password anywhere. There are no servers, everything happens on the device.
If you want to disable it, you can disable notification access and it won’t do anything anymore.

Play Link ($1.31)

  • Danny

    Greedy ass bastard.

  • Sammy V

    I would love to get those 3 buttons for hangouts, and would gladly pay for it.

  • DanSan

    is there anything for this or an xposed module for hangouts? When i use to rock AOSP messaging i loved the tweaks to add mark as read and delete to drop down. i miss it

  • Lawrence_Hart

    Maybe if we buy this app Google will see that it will be a worth while feature and implement it.

  • At some point this has to be baked into Gmail. ITS A MUST HAVE for now have to buy the app.

  • SplashMTN

    I think people are underestimating the programming required to add “just one button”. If $1.31 is too much for you then do some Google Surveys and save up. I was able to pay for it using the play credits I accumulated from Google Surveys, but even if I hadn’t I still would’ve purchased it because it’s good to support Devs. It’s no wonder why Android users get stereotyped as cheapskates.

  • kevlar

    WOW! You guys are a bunch of whinny lil babies! This dev made an app that the masses would want, and is trying to get payment for his time into this app. Lets get the pitch forks out!!!! Dont like it? Dont install it! You want it, but dont want to pay for it? Then create it yourself. Im sure with each purchase and the more $$ this dev makes, he will make it even better with each release.

    • Adam Marr

      I think some people on here are getting a little too used to living with Mommy and Daddy. Not sure when we decided everything we wanted should just be given to us for free. Its not like he can pull in ad-revenue from this app.

  • Today, on Droid-Life, people are cheap and are only happy with free handouts.

    No wonder Obama won a second term….

  • Synacks

    Does a single button really justify $1.31?

  • Wow everyone hates spending the $1.31. You could just buy it then go into the email google send you and click order history and have the app refunded. It will keep the app on your device. You wont get updates but at least get the app to try for longer then 15 minutes. Im not saying to do this to fraud the DEV or google play. This is just to extended the 15 min window.

    • CheeseMcGee

      There are various dirtbag methods to getting an app for free, including the method you posted. #don’tbeadirtbag

  • D.Moto.X.

    The extra $0.31 goes to DL for ideation? lulz

    Seriously though, what an odd a$s amount to charge people…

    • Adrynalyne

      Google takes 30%. They accounted for it in the price.

  • Chad Baum

    Says it’s incompatible with my LG G2… sad times.

    • SplashMTN

      Should be compatible once you get 4.4. It’s working for me on my at&t G2

      • Chad Baum

        Yeah, I was afraid of that. I’m on Verizon on a custom ROM and I’ll just be waiting til 4.4 version of that ROM comes out. Oh well. Anyway, ever since I switched to Android I’ve been dying to know why this feature wasn’t baked into Gmail. I don’t use archive at all.

        • SplashMTN

          That would be nice, maybe they’ll take note and include it in an update eventually. I never use archive either.

  • Major flaw is that it only Marks as Read….it doesn’t both Mark As Read and Archive.

    • Rohan Puri

      Hi! I’m the dev. I’m working on this feature as we speak 🙂

      • jwildman16

        I’ll second Brad’s request. The best setup for me would be Delete / Mark as Read and Archive / Reply. Extra bonus to Reply All by long-pressing Reply.

  • mcdonsco

    Asesome, but i would love to see these features for non gmail email too.

  • Mudd

    Can we add this functionality to Hangouts as well? The SMS XPosed does not have full funtionality with Hangouts. I will cough up another buck to buy that too. I guess after a few of these apps I may need to forego a beer at the bar.

  • Trooper

    Is mark as read that big of a deal? 🙁

  • trixnkix637

    i didn’t know people were so bad off they couldn’t afford a $1.31 app.. Especially when they’ve probably spent $5-10 on the same type of icon sets just with different shadow accents or just to get the wallpapers. Supporting the devs is how innovation comes in Android. Or you could always wait until Google decides to do it (if ever).

    • PoisonApple31

      You know that Nexus program, it just brings out the cheapness in everyone.

      • The Narrator

        Your stupidity is amazing.

        • D.Moto.X.

          Awwww, look at @disqus_YiSsbJ7b9F:disqus. Jumps in on the attack here, but as soon as you talk about his old semen locker self he’ll flag you and contact admins for help lol

        • PoisonApple31

          I feel privileged that the joke of the community took its time to send an insult my way.

    • Adrynalyne

      Or they could simply not buy it if they do not like it. I wouldn’t want someone paying on my applications if they didn’t like them.

      • trixnkix637

        Very true.

    • Rohan Puri

      Hi guys! I’m the dev. I explain a little bit about how this app does a lot behind-the-scenes below to make it look so simple on the front end. I didn’t realize the $0.31 would be such an issue , but happy to listen to your thoughts and see what you think would be best here!

      • trixnkix637

        @rohan_puri:disqus don’t worry about the price. You can’t please everyone all of the time. If you feel that’s a fair value for the work you put into this project, so will the customers who buy it. Great to see a dev on the boards though.

        • justwundering

          I’m sorry, but this feature is so basic, it should NOT be a paid feature.
          The fact that Rohan created this app before google, makes him a demi-god + a really famous person.
          Real heroes dont need money 😀

      • michael arazan

        I have a problem with the price, can you make it 1.313, makes my ocd feel a lot better : P

      • Andrew Merewitz

        Why does it say its not available for my device? I am on a galaxy nexus, running 4.4.2 in the US.

  • Intellectua1

    This used to be an option on PA I believe. I remember having this option on my Note 1

    • Miguel

      You’re correct, PA has this option, actually it was part of the Rom.

  • J.J. Valenzuela

    Now he just needs to add a Send to Trash button.

    • Hothfox

      That would be delete.

  • I just hit the archive button and rely on this Google Apps Script http://mikecr.it/ramblings/marking-gmail-read-with-apps-script

  • That’s a lot of money just to add a button…

    • BrandonWhite116

      You should of made the app then, since its so simple to do and all.

      • More like Google should just implement it into Gmail.

        • trixnkix637

          Well call them up and let’s make it happen.

    • Rohan Puri

      Hi Geoff! I’m the developer. There’s actually a lot going on with this app, despite its simplicity. I’m injecting an action into the default Gmail notification using a displacement technique that no one has used before. This allows it to work completely behind the scenes and never get in the way — while still allowing access to the Gmail app (it’s actually very hard to launch specific parts of an app you don’t have receivers and code for). What would be a more reasonable price to you?

  • Nick

    Charging for this? That’s a little ridiculous for something that really isn’t adding value

    • Joe W

      Whether it adds value is subjective. If it doesn’t add value for someone they are probably OK not using it, thus not paying for it.

      • Nick

        That’s not what I’m arguing, it’s the fact that he’s nickle & diming people for a simple button. It just seems to go against the spirit of android when it comes to these little things. I bought TiBu because it’s paid for itself 100x’s over, but this just feels greedy charging for this

        • Jason Downing

          Google themselves hasn’t this, no one else has. I’m sure people would like this feature added. I’m sure if you go back to the article that droid-life wrote up, you’d see a comments section full of people who agree. That being said, it’s less than a price of a 20oz soda.. Go walk around for 30 minutes and you can probably find that much worth of change on the floor.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      imagine that, paying for notification toggles. And Android Wear only seems to grab your notifications and not run full apps. the timing is funny.

    • Chris Hughes

      Where does he get off asking for money for his app. This should be free!

      • Cael

        especially since he didn’t even come up with the idea >_>’

    • Jake

      What do you do for a living, Nick? I’d like to know what you’re spending your time on that should be free.

      • Nick

        I charge people 50 cents for helping them pick up dropped items on the bus. I’m in no way against charging for your work, my point is that it just feels like a money grab for such a simple feature when you have countless devs building entire roms for the betterment of the community without charging a cent…

        • Jason Downing

          So what exactly have you done for the community? With that mentality, every app should be free right?

          • Nick

            I haven’t done anything, nor have a tried to charge anyone for my efforts, rather the lack thereof. What’s your point? If you’re going to charge an admission fee I’d like to see some more substance when compared to what people are providing to the community free of charge.

          • Jason Downing

            If you haven’t done anything, there’s no effort to charge for. My question is if it’s of no real value to you, then why are you even complaining? You saw value in TiBU and you spent $7.00… If there’s no value or the value doesn’t meet or exceed the $1.31 then move on and stop whining. Think about the value this will provide to someone who gets an excessive amount of email. Maybe this isn’t a problem for you.

            How do you know how long it took him to do this? Even if it took 8 hours… he’s charging $1.31 for that amount of time. Yes, I do realize that more that one person is going to make the purchase, but I don’t think it’s going to be some astronomical amount of people. Let’s say a dev made $50/hr working for some company (they probably make more). 8 hours * $50 = $400. It’ll take roughly 300 people to make that $400 and if he does, good for him.

            All this said, he already has 7 5 star reviews and 1 4 star so it would seem your opinion doesn’t reflect everyone else’s.

          • trixnkix637

            The difference Nick, if I may play a peaceful voice, is that not everyone in the community can or will choose to use roms. Thereby eliminating their opportunity to use such development wholly unless it’s released in a app that they can install/use. This dev in particular is releasing a creation of his own doing that will enable those people to enjoy what those who can use roms have been enjoying for free as you put it.

            I’d say he’s fair in charging a nominal fee for his time, creation, & services (don’t forget this will need to be updated and possibly have features added down the line).

        • moelsen8

          ..it’s $1.31.

        • Rohan Puri

          Hi Nick! I’m the developer. I explained the process behind this above, as I worked really hard to make this little trick work. I didn’t realize that there would be such a pricing issue here, but totally understand what you’re saying. What would you recommend as a better price here?

          • SplashMTN

            $1.31 is an acceptable price because that’s what you deemed was acceptable. Don’t let people complaining about a ~$1 app deter you because they would probably complain if it was $0.50 or less.

    • BrandonWhite116

      What is with all these people thinking that developers should work for free. Do you work for free? You obviously have no clue how complicated app development is.

      • Nick

        No, i don’t work for free, mostly because I don’t work in a space where people offer similar services for free. And while i may lack coding experience, I think i have enough understanding to know that a rom is more complicated than this. But how many devs charge for that? Please, show me where i argued that devs SHOULD work for free? All I’m saying is that i find it skeevy when Devs charge for things that others provide for free. Now certainly he’s first to market for this specific app, but I’d be willing to be that there are plenty examples of free apps that had similar levels of dev effort

        • Adrynalyne

          Having done both applications and roms, I assure you, rom development is way easier than application development.

          Especially since most “developers” out there don’t code at all.

          • D.Moto.X.

            LOL! I highly doubt you made any apps or ROMs. When I read your posts on here you sound like a complete moron. No offense!

            Please link me to some of your work. I need to see this lol

          • Adrynalyne

            Not playing to the troll. Sorry.

          • Shawn Spring

            Adrynalyne has been around ROMs a real long time…something you’d know if you had been around them too. (this is for the mysterious D.Moto.X since one can not reply to this anonymous party)

    • 7h3_4pp12en7ic3

      And you are what’s wrong with the Android community. If it doesn’t add any value to you, don’t buy it and shut the hell up.