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Posts from the ‘Google’ Category


Seeking Better Email


As I was writing my column yesterday for Blogging Tips, something dawned on me. That as much as I love Gmail, there aren’t many alternatives out there.

I wondered aloud on Twitter why there were no viable competitors for Gmail and got a slew of good responses. One of the best came from user @lance_ who said that “It takes a lot of market clout or money to get past spam filters. There isn’t a huge market for b2b & consumers already got an address.” (fixed quote for tweet-speak).

Others seemed to feel that the market was saturated while others still were quick to remind me about Microsoft Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, neither of which really hold much of a candle to Gmail in terms of features. When you consider that Gmail, for free, offers nearly unlimited space, free IMAP access, threading, powerful search, good spam filtering and more, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail look like weaklings.

Gmail is pretty much the undisputed champion right now, at least in terms of features and power, and, sadly, there is no real competition on the horizon. Yahoo! and Microsoft seem to have rolled over and other companies, like Zenbe, would rather build off of Gmail than create something truly new.

The result is that Gmail has stagnated. What was revolutionary when it was first created has slowed to a crawl. Most of the “Labs” features are either mistakes that should never have been in Gmail, such as Signature Tweaks, Title Tweaks, etc. or outright catchup with other systems, such as Canned Responses.

Gmail, which is still in beta, hasn’t blossomed and though it seems to announce new features regularly, most seem outright trivial. So where’s the competition to keep the fire hot? Where is the upstart company with a bold new vision and a competing ideal? It isn’t there.

It’s time for some competition. Time for an upstart group of rebels to really attack this issue and see what they can do. Will it be easy? No. Is it impossible? Maybe. But the future of email may depend on it. Read moreRead more


Google: Stop Acquiring Companies I Like

google-logo-3Dear Google,

I love you guys, I really do. Your search is top notch, your Gmail/Google Apps is a killer product and even you Google Reader is the best RSS reader I’ve found, online or off. You guys have a knack for producing exciting, reliable products that change the way we use information.

However, I do have one tiny favor to ask you. One small, minuscule request. Can you please stop buying up companies of products that I use? If so, that would be great. Because I’m really getting tired of you screwing up the things that were going along great without you.

If you have any questions about this request, I politely direct you to the article below. It will answer many of your queries and give my reasons for thinking that the Web would be better off if you kept your pocketbook a little closer to your chest. Read moreRead more


Fixing Gmail: How the Best Can Be Better

Gmail is the best Webmail client in the World. I get that. However, winning that contest is a bit like being named the “Most Talented Baldwin”. The competition is thin, to put it generously.

Sure, some people swear by Yahoo!’s mail offering. It is pretty and it does deal with some of the issues I address below, but it also doesn’t load on slower connections, has a terrible search function and can’t import email (seriously, are you THAT stupid Yahoo?). Compound that with no IMAP access and a paid account that doesn’t equal Gmail’s free offering, you have a rather distant second at best.

Outside of a few startups that are doing promising things with Web-based email, such as Zenbe, Gmail stands alone. There is no one out there that really competes with Gmail in this area. They were the first to introduce the super-sized mailbox for free, they were the first to use tags not folders on Webmail (Opera did it first in their mail client), they were the first to give free IMAP access and they were the first to actually put one iota of thought into usability.

But can it be better? Damn right. Nothing in the world is immune from improvement, except perhaps Joan Jett, so what can one do to make Gmail just a little more awesome? Here’s my pick of five things that can push it to eleven. Read moreRead more