For those of you who obsessive-compulsively check your email and chat, Google's got something to ease you. They've started desktop notifications for email and chat. You can even choose which senders' emails you receive notifications for. To turn the feature on, go to Settings in the top right corner and choose whether you want to receive notifications for chat, email or important email.
This feature is HTML5 based and only works in Chrome but Google says that they have plans to make notifications part of the standard web platform. In the meantime, non-Chrome users can use a service like GWatchman to receive instant notifications for email. It's good to see that Google's recognizing the importance of email notification and the arrival of the feature for standard web platforms is something to look forward to.