Are you waiting for an answer to an important email and can not check if the recipient has read it? Many of you will have experienced this situation once. In Gmail, the possibility of receiving a notification when the recipient of a message opens it is reserved for those who have access to a account from your work or your school (whose addresses do not end in gmail.com). Holders of a Microsoft Office package can request confirmation of delivery or read a sent mail when using the Outlook service. But those who can not opt for solutions of this type would have to look for alternatives between extensions for browsers and applications.
There are dozens of services on the web that allow us to expand the possibilities of managing an email account and offer functionalities normally not allowed in basic services. Among them, many have options that enable tracking of an email sent and provide information on whether the recipient opens them, when and even with which devices. EL PAÍS has proven the effectiveness of four of the best known. When installing them, all ask the new user for permission to view, manage, delete and send emails. It is always advisable to read the privacy policies and the terms and conditions of each extension before you start using one.
One of the most popular offers among those available is Mailtrack. It is an extension created in Spain and available for Chrome, where it has more than one million users, Firefox, Edge and Opera. It also guarantees the option to open an extension for Android. It works for Gmail accounts and has a free base version. Once installed, Mailtrack allows you to activate the tracking of an email that you want to send. In the tab of the emails sent, next to each mail will be displayed a double tick similar to that of WhatsApp messages. When the recipient opens it, they turn green and the author also receives an email that alerts him that the email sent has been read and at what time.
If you use the free version of Mailtrack, when you open a new email to write, you will see an automatic signature that refers to the service. It is possible to remove it so that the recipient does not know that message tracking has been activated through this product. To eliminate it automatically, you have to acquire one of the payment options offered by the company. It should be noted that in the test conducted by this newspaper, the service has not worked the first time. It was necessary to uninstall the extension and restart it.
Another extension intended for Gmail users is Streak, available for Google Chrome and Safari browsers and, in the mobile version, for Android and IOS operating systems. After the installation and activation of the option to follow a message before sending it, Streak introduces the icon of an eye next to each email sent. When the recipient reads it, the icon turns green. When you mouse over this small drawing, a tab opens where information such as the time of the display, the type of device from which the mail was read and how many times it was opened.
Streak is an American service designed for professionals who, apart from the free version with the included option of tracking a sent message, offers many more options for managing an email account. The installation phase of the extension is longer than the Mail Track, because the proposed tutorials provide information on a greater number of possible applications.
A third possibility is offered by the Swiss service Gmelius. From the name, it is easy to deduce that this extension works for Gmail accounts. It is available for Chrome and has a mobile version for Android devices. The tracking option for an email sent works in a similar way to MailTrack. Gmelius sends a notification in real time when the recipient opens a message. In addition, it allows direct connection from the account with a control panel where the activity log is indicated. In the case of the messages for which the tracking option was activated, it also indicates which device the mail was read from. In the EL PAÍS test, for the service to work properly it was necessary, after the installation, to repeat the access to the Gmail account.
There are also payment services that offer a free trial period. Among the best known is Yesware, American extension available for Chrome and Firefox, with a mobile version reserved for IOS devices. Part of the services of this extension can be tested without paying for two weeks. With respect to the previous ones, Yesware offers its service also for Outlook accounts.
As in Streak, the notice that an email has been read is given through an icon of an eye, which turns green when the recipient opens it. A notification, also visible in a drop-down menu, informs the user of the reading in real time. In the control panel, open and unopened mails are divided into two columns.
The services described above are some of the most popular among those found on the network. Among those indicated on specialized sites, options such as the WhoReadMe website and the BananaTag, MailTag and MailTracker extensions are also indicated.
Not all recipients of an email may be interested in the author knowing when they read it. There are also solutions for them. The read confirmation request offered by Microsoft Outlook, for example, may be rejected. "There is no way to force a recipient to send it," reads the company's website.
The version for companies and educational centers of Gmail gives the recipient the possibility of postponing the confirmation of reading a message. The request will be repeated at the next mail opening.
Mail tracking services usually work thanks to the ability to detect the opening of an invisible image that they incorporate into the message when it is sent. This is clear from the pages of some of them, as Gmelius or Yesware. Deactivating the automatic display of images in Gmail can be a valid, though not infallible, method for tracking to fail.
The extension PixelBlock, available in the Chrome online store, It is presented as a service capable of blocking attempts to alert that an email has been read. An icon of an eye can be red when one of these attempts is verified, explain the creators.