I think Google changed something in relation to Gmail yesterday evening. I use two Firefox addons to make managing my email a little more efficient – Better Gmail and Gmail Manager – and as of yesterday, both addons now seem to be broken. I first noticed a problem when Gmail tried to refresh and issued a ‘Could not build contacts’ error and subsequently logged me out. No amount of cajoling or urging could get me logged back in. Initially I thought it was a Gmail problem, but when I tested it out, I found I could still login normally from IE7 and Safari. My next thought, then, was that maybe somehow the Better Gmail addon I use with Firefox to restyle Gmail and add a few convenient functions might have broken. I disabled it and restarted Firefox, and sure enough, I was logged back in just fine. I’m a little annoyed now that some of the features that Better Gmail added are currently unavailable, but I’d much rather not have them than not have access to my email at all.
The other plugin that no longer functions is Gmail Manager. This little addon puts a little module on Firefox’s status bar that allows to check and manage multiple Gmail accounts quickly and easily. Well, Gmail Manager no longer works, showing all emails accounts as having no email, despite there being mail in most of those inboxes.
My guess is that Google changed something in their Gmail API that has caused most, if not all, Firefox addons for the service to break. I haven’t had a chance to do much in the way of research into the issue yet, so I don’t know how widespread this issue is and if it’s affecting everyone or if it’s just something screwed up with my particular instance of Firefox.
If anyone knows anything about this, do please let me know. I’ll try to keep you posted in the meantime.
Update: Turns out this is a known issue. There is a comment from the Better Gmail developer that Google rolled out a new version of Gmail recently. They are currently working on developing a new version of the addon to be compatible with Gmail. No word yet on whether Gmail Manager is being updated.