Email is a great, useful, and convenient communication tool that’s been globally used by virtually anyone who uses a computer. But there is one thing you probably will never be certain when using email to send messages to the other party, you never know whether your message has successfully been delivered, when it’s been opened, and read.
We all know that Microsoft’s Outlook has a feature that you can request a delivery/read receipt when you send an email. The feature works fairly well in an Exchange environment but not so much when both sides are running different email server system. For example, if you are requesting a read receipt in an email from your Outlook to a Gmail address, then good luck with that. Or, for Gmail users, you don’t even have that feature natively built in.
BananaTag is a web service that tracks your daily emails so that you knows what exactly happens to your emails when you hit the Send button. It traces the path from your email client to your receiver, including the time when the email has been opened at the other end. BananaTag supports multiple email clients, including Outlook, as well as multiple mail services, like Gmail, with a backend platform that allows you to check the tracking details happened in your email.
Since this web service will be a great use to all Gmail users, let’s take look how it works in Gmail, which is fairly easy.
Let’s say you are using Chrome as the web browser to access your Gmail. Go to this Chrome Extension page, and add it into your Chrome. Once it’s done, refresh your Gmail page.
Once the Gmail page is refreshed, you will notice a new Tag icon next to Send button when composing emails. Simply clicking it sends your email with tacking capability using BananaTag service.
Once the email has been opened and read by your recipient, you will get an email with a link that points you to your account page on BananaTag page.
So what’s the trick behind the scene?
I was actually curious why BananaTag was able to track my test emails because it did accurately know when I opened it. I got email notification right after I clicked to open a test email sent from my Gmail account to my another email address. So I opened this test email in Outlook and click View Source. And here is what I found out.
See the line highlighted? That’s right, it embedded a tracking code within your email that tracks how and when the email is being read from the email client.
Quite tricky, I have to say. But that raises a potential concern relate to privacy. I’d suggest, in my own opinion, that if you are seriously considering using it in an formal situation, it’s better and safer you add a small line at end of your email kindly mentioning that this email will be tracked but ensures that no personal information will be used in this regard.
BananaTag offers a free service that tracks 5 emails a day with full metrics for single user. If that’s not enough, you will need to cough up $5 per month in order to increase that number to 100 emails per day.
Overall, I think it’s a great service to those who have been struggling to know what happen to their emails.
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Last updated: 10/28/2014