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March 3, 2008

A Feed for Unread Gmail Messages

Gmail has a very cool feature not available in other webmail applications: feeds for unread messages. For example, the feed shows the most recent unread items from your inbox. Gmail also offers feeds for your labels:, but it would be nice to have a comprehensive listing of all the unread messages, not just the ones that have a certain label. As you probably know, "unread" is one of the many built-in labels in Gmail, so you can use it to obtain this feed: In the URLs above, you can replace "http" with "https" for more security.

Gmail's feeds require authentication, so they don't work in many feed readers, like Google Reader or iGoogle. There are some feed readers that support password-protected feeds:

* assuming you're logged in to your Gmail account, you can add any of the feeds to Firefox's Live Bookmarks (this is more like a workaround than true support for authenticated feeds)

* you can subscribe to the feeds in Opera if you don't like the built-in mail client

Desktop feed readers
* some desktop feed readers listed by Google that support Atom 0.3, SSL/HTTPS, and HTTP authentication

Online feed readers
* Netvibes is a notable example of online feed reader that supports authenticated feeds

Gmail recommends to make sure that the feed's content is private. "Keep in mind when you subscribe to your Gmail feed that some aggregators allow you to share, syndicate, or otherwise re-publish the feeds you subscribe to. This means that even though your Gmail feed is private, its contents could be made public through one of these methods. So you'll want to double-check the privacy settings in your aggregator to make sure you aren't sharing any information you don't want to."


  1. Of course it doesn't work in Google Reader that would make too much sense. I love Google reader, and have been wishing for gmail in my Reader ever since I started using it.

    Google is a very frustrating company. With Microsoft my expectations are so low, that when their software fails to deliver I'm not really disappointed. But Google is another story... 90% great solutions. And the 10% that isn't great isn't that way because it would be hard for them to do... it's like they do it for spite.

    Exhibit #1: Gtalk desktop client vs. gmail-gtalk vs. gtalk widget.

    It's exasperating.

  2. Google reader on th iphone is killer.. I have been waiting nearly a year for the Reader People to talk to GMAIL to find an easy interface...

    if nothing else, scrap the Gmail mobile for iphone, and tweak reader as the iphone mail client

  3. I think this is not about a Gmail - Google Reader integration. Google Reader simply doesn't support password-protected feeds, probably because other features were more important.

    I simply don't understand why Gmail's customized clips don't automatically show headlines from Google Reader.

  4. I would disagree so far, as you need to be logged into use your reader... hence high level sign on verification is already in place... My reader account, is the same ID as my GMAIL account..

  5. Hello! I really appreciated this feed. So I'd like to say that I love one feature built in the google toolbar the option to create custom buttons so I'd like to create custom buttons for these features described in this post. How could I do that???
    I had problems because in the google custom button's tutorial they just explained one way to create custom buttons but this way doesn't match into this case.

    Please help!!!



  6. Its not working in my case, neither with BlogLines.
    Can it be because of my company has blocked access to GMAIL?

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I have Google Apps for Domains and I had to tweak my URL to get the same effect. FYI:[]/feed/atom/[label]

  9. this is of no use for me if doesn't work in Google Reader...

    Its odd that it doesn't work while i have same id for both google reader and gmail. (i understand security issue, but why no give option of makng google reader secure so that one may access gmail feeds directly in it.)

    this odd behavior is something expected from Microsoft, not from a google product.

    Google, please make it work...

  10. Internet Explorer 8 supports Feed Authentication.

  11. cyneuron - Au contraire. This is not something to be expected of Microsoft. If Microsoft had a reader, you would definitely be able to read hotmail in Microsoft's reader - and only Microsoft's reader.

    Microsoft usually over-integrates its products, while Google often doesn't integrate its products enough.

  12. Hmm, doesn't seem to work for me, I see a lot of emails that are not unread.

  13. View in google reader by following these steps

  14. There is a Gmail gadget you can put on iGoogle that shows your most recent inbox messages.

  15. why there is no support for rss2 ??

  16. Most feed readers support both Atom and RSS, so I don't think it's necessary to provide two flavors for each feed. The trouble with Gmail's feeds is that they require authentication.

  17. It's not possible to get multiple labels this way, is it? I tried:,label2

    Can anyone confirm?

  18. i find gmail on my mobile quite good these days, just the java client, even monile web version is fine too...

  19. possible to increase the email size in the feed?

  20. @Anonymous
    ("possible to increase the email size in the feed?")

    Yes I would like to know the same thing. I can never read more the the first few words its seems until it gets cut off!

  21. What is the feed for rssreaders that doesnt support auth?
    I tried

    But i doesnt work...
    What is right feed???

  22. Same trouble... none working for me.

  23. can ne one help me i can not get out of my gmail message to check my mail it pops up in to a message that i did not type up every time i discard it just closes down how do i get back into my gmail box so i can read my mail

  24. How would it work for Google Apps Gmail users? I tried these, they fail:

    I thought that retrieve a feed of all unread but it seems to fail. I can get it to work with my non-google apps gmail account easily. ;(

  25. I can't seem to get it to work with my google apps gmail trying these combinations:

    I can get it working with my non-google apps gmail

    But not with the unread tag

    Anyone have a clue, is it not support on google apps or do I have the syntax wrong?

  26. it's just reply with the title i want all message content someone know how ?