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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)

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