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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google+ and Gmail Integration

What I envision in the future is sort of a highly integrated, but scaled back, Gmail, Google+, Buzz, and Wave. That sounds like a lot, so let me clarify a little.

For one, I don't want a dozen Google Apps on my Android cell phone, and a dozen Tabs on my Google/Gmail interface. I would like 1 App for most communications functions. I want to see an an App that aggregates most of my Google feeds - email, Buzz, Google+, etc.

What would this look like? Well, I get an email, or maybe a Google Voice text or call. That email address or phone number is in my Contacts, so when I click on that message, I see not only the message (at the top) but also a short Buzz like summary of all the social activity that person has allowed to be shared with me. Think threaded email message type integration. Then I can drill down on any other stuff that person has posted, or shared - relevant documents, Videos, Buzz, Conversations/Hangouts in Google+, Shared Calendar events, etc. And under the email, and under each of those entries is a reply, forward, Google+, +1, comment, chat, Buzz, Twitter, etc. share options.

This would allow me to see my friends or associates complete social stream. I am sure your interface experts can conjure up an elegant, moderately light weight, easy to use layout. Wave had a lot of good ideas, but was too heavy, even on modern hardware.

Additionally, this would limit the storage used on my phone for all these different Apps, and would streamline communications. Google has SO MANY great products, but integration is not what it should be. Google Health, for example, was a great idea, but no one knew about it, which is why it didn't catch on. Likewise the Power thing.

And while I am on the topic of integration, and simplicity, why is it so hard to get to my Contact Manager interface at Google? I have to specify the URL (google.com/contacts), instead of clicking a link in Gmail or Calendar.

Mark, despite privacy concerns, I love Google's products. The main thing lacking is integration, and a good way to be informed of new products and features.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on Streamlining the Google Experience for your customers. Perhaps it is too difficult to accomplish short-term, but if Google starts working toward a more integrated product set today, it will be unstoppable in a few years.

Change the game. It is time for a new approach to communications.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google Health and Google PowerMeter Being Given the Axe

Official Google Blog: An update on Google Health and Google PowerMeter: "In the coming months, we’re going to retire two products that didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped, but did serve as influential mode..."

ATTENTION GOOGLE: Maybe the reason some of your technologies don't catch on is because you do such a poor job marketing them. I didn't even know there was a Google Health until about 2 months ago when I noticed that my Android CardioTRAINER App supported upload to it. Considering your poor marketing savvy it is a miracle you have become the company you have. And the Power thing? Didn't know about it until just now.

Maybe I am a bit more in the dark than most people, or maybe not. Was anyone else as clueless as me about these 2 projects? Perhaps, Google, you should use some of that white space on the Google search page to feature a different Google product every week. Not a ton of gaudy advertising, but just an image and a few lines of description with a link to learn more.

You guys come out with TONS of ideas and test products every year, too many for us mortals to keep up with on our own. You need to help us a little to know what you are up to, keeping in mind that not everyone in the world follows you on Twitter, but almost everyone in the world uses your search page.

I for one am sorry to see Google Health go. I may not 100% trust Google with my data, but I hardly trust Microsoft HealthVault at all. Guess I will be cozying up to it over the next few weeks. Maybe my opinion of HealthVault will change as I learn more about it.

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