Should You Make Gmail the Default Mail Client in Google Chrome?

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Reader Bob recently started seeing an unexpected message in his Google Chrome Web browser: Should he allow Chrome to act as "the default Gmail client"?

Bob's response: Yes or no? Why or why not? What does it mean?

As PC World reported a couple months ago, Google updated Chrome to allow it to open e-mail links in Gmail. That's why you're seeing the message: the browser wants to know if you want to take advantage of this new capability.

Do you? It depends on a few things. Based on your e-mail address, Bob, you're obviously a Gmail user. The question is, how do you interact with Gmail? Do you open it in Chrome proper, or do you send and retrieve mail via a software-based client like Microsoft Outlook or Windows Live Mail?

If you're in the latter camp, and you click an e-mail link inside a Web page (like, say, this one:, you'd probably want your regular mail program to open.

However, if you typically access Gmail in your browser (in this case Chrome), it stands to reason you'd want that mail link to take you directly to the service and create a new message to the address you clicked. In other words, you want Chrome to act as the default Gmail client.

Ah, but what if you also use, say, Yahoo? Or Hotmail? And you want one of those services to be the default destination for mail links clicked in Chrome? Check out GmailDefaultMaker, a simple utility that, its name notwithstanding, will change your browser's default mail client to AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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