Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

GMail: One app to rule them all

The new ‘Google Chat’, as scooped by the New York Times (and who says newspapers don’t break anything anymore), at least on face value would appear to be of little significance (click here for screenshot via Inside Google )

After all, Microsoft has had a similiar service built into Hotmail for a long time and nobody has ever really given a stuff.

However, what excites me is the symbolism of what this could mean for the evolution of GMail.

GMail is by far my most-used application. It’s my first Tab in Firefox and it stays there locked all day. I do most of my web searches from GMail. I even suffer its woeful Contacts engine. I also do a hell a lot of websurfing from the RSS feeds it now pitches up to me, as well.

But I want more. The storage and retrieval system in GMail based around archiving, stars, labels and search is easily the most efficient way I’ve ever found of working and organising myself. So much so that I now email myself almost as much as I email other people. If I have an important document I think I’m going to need to access later, I email it to myself. If I have a task that I need to complete I turn it into an email so its see in my Inbox until I action it.

So I want to see GMail evolve so that it essentially becomes a central repository of every item I work with. Mail, RSS feeds, task reminders, documents, etc all feed into GMail and are then routed according to filters, either into my Inbox for actioning or labelled for storage and retrieval. This is not far from how I work at the moment, it’s just that I have to manually email myself all of these items.

When Google can deliver this model, the browser truly becomes the operating system. And GMail becomes your desktop. You’ll find you give up almost all depency on the operating system level. For most of the day, my Firefox browser is the only application I have open (bar my MSN messenger, but with this latest initiative that could be on the way out too) and it’s remarkable how little I find myself needing to hit the Start button anymore.

When Google makes GMail, or whatever it turns into, the centre of a user’s universe suddently the bigger Google picture suddenly snaps into plays. The Google Cube really does become a viable initiative, for example. And sure, you’ll be able to use Writely instead of Google Write, MSN IM instead of Google Chat or any other best of breed app instead of the Google alternative. But, in the end you’ll probably just go with Google because you’ll want GMail to archive everything and tag it or make it available for search.

I have no doubt that whichever email package you decide on, will be the application ecosystem you live in. And I think Google may just have worked that out.

UPDATE: Google has now officially announced Google Chat on its official blog.

Filed under: Email, Google, Instant Messaging

32 Responses

  1. Asher Moses says:

    I’m in total agreeance with you here. I use GMail pretty much exactly the same way as you do, and love being able to take my email, contacts, important files, RSS feeds, etc, wherever I go. The way GMail sorts emails into a hierarchy and the superb search feature completely annihilates anything else i’ve used. My two main Firefox tabs are GMail and Del.icio.us.

    I’m still using Outlook for work though. I don’t want my work emails being forwarded to GMail, for obvious reasons.🙂

  2. abc says:

    The title made me think this would be a description of how to set up Emacs to read your gmail account.

  3. Rodrigo says:

    Googlemaniacs… everything that google launchs (even if that´s a faulty product like Video Search), get great user reviews…

    Come on…

  4. Vat Cristian says:

    I love GMail, it’s also my first open tab in firefox..and it stays open for days🙂
    I think it’s good to incorporate as much aggregation of different information sources as possible, because there is always some link between your emails, your IM conversations, your rss feeds and others..so why not have One Interface to Rule Them All?🙂
    ..I can’t wait till the chat activates in my gmail account too😀

  5. Peggy says:

    I use Yahoo Mail, and My.Yahoo exactly that way (email, calendar, rss feeds, contacts, news, etc). For some time now, I find I use FireFox for most tasks and the desktop less and less as you mentioned. I also do the email ‘me’ thing for important notes/docs 🙂

    It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

  6. Ivan Minic says:

    Only good stuff from Google…

  7. SkingComputerGuy says:

    I think Google is on the way to being the center of our workspace, just like it was mentioned in the article. All the Gmail Team needs now is to impliment a calendar with alert reminders along with incorporating Picassa for all our photos. All in the same workspace. But as always, continue to keep it clean, just as they have.

    I could never go back to using an email system that doesn’t group conversations together. That was the magic that has kept me using Gmail for nearly a year now.

  8. Tamara says:

    I hate gmail. Go back to Outlook Sim🙂 This blog rules.

  9. I agree with you, maybe hotmail already had those feature for quite some time, but the beauty with everything that google releases is that their product are Simple and CLEAN. You never see over bloated user interface with their solutions. People may call me a google fanboy, but I don’t care. In my head, I’m only a practical and efficient individual. If Microsoft releases a revolutionary product that is better then what the competition has, I will switch, but I doubt that it will happen anytime soon🙂

    Cheers!

    Kiltak
    [Geeks Are Sexy] Tech. News

  10. davidputnam says:

    I agree with you Kiltak about the product being clean. The reason why everyone digs google’s solutions is that they are all simple and clean. I believe the web is shifting back from cosmetics to function. Sure there is a need for flash, graphics, and complex layouts; but there are many times when those things have to take a backseat to functionality.

  11. Gerhard says:

    I still have this sinking sensation about google… like its gonna turn out to be the monster in the fairy tale

  12. bu says:

    Google works by developing its own web-based apps and siding with non-microsoft people who make better products than they do in the non-browser world (mozilla, irfanview . . .) pretty soon i hope they’ll ditch Apple (as the main plugin handler for media – look to MPC or something) and the coup de gras that microsoft fears is that google will finally start endorsing it’s own Linux package, about which there are already rumors . . .

  13. GTH says:

    This might make some sense if 99.99995 of hte wolrd/country were big geeks like you. But most people do NOt use G-mail. And many that tried it stopped using it, or at best, don’t use it as their primary e-mail. Why? Well, it is pointless. It’s SPAM filters are failing like crazy, and other e-mail services are catching up in storage.

    G-mail is just another in a long string of poor to average Google products. The only thing they do well is their search page. Yet forsome reason, idiots keep postingthat they are set to take over every aspect of computing life. No, they won’t, becuase peple want GOOD products. Not a bunch of medicore ones all in the same place.

  14. bu says:

    and yeah, of course they will only turn out to be another microsoft if they win . . . but in the meantime, while they’re just fighting the good fight, we’ll get decent products from both sides. Oh, and look to the OS interface masters like SUN to start translating heavily used microsoft apps like outlook and even word and Excel to the superb mobile environmetn that is Gmail

  15. alex says:

    I personally dont like the gmail integration.

    I agree with Gerhard, Google will definitely be a monster soon😦

    I hope we have a lot of options.

  16. Wes says:

    http://www.live.com offers everything you desire, with RSS feeds, Live Favourites, Hotmail (soon to be Windows Live Mail), Live Contacts, Microsoft Gadgets too!

    Ditch Google and join the M$ bandwagon!

  17. Lego says:

    Spam filters of Gmail are solid, no problems with it. Google has woken up the M$ monster and its starting to improve, we can atleast all agree to that. Competition is king and its great that we are getting unlimited email storage and all these great services that Hotmail, Yahoo and others wanted us to pay for are now free. You google bashers are enjoying the benefits of googles fight so pay respect.

    Lego

  18. […] read more | digg story Posted by Erikstotle | […]

  19. ktec says:

    Great post, i see great things for gmail.

    Something i believe is missing, but only just under the surface is google making moves on the very popular and valuable social networking market.

    Sure, they have Orkut, and yet, underneath its VERY clever with the way it allows you to quantify and qualify all relationships you have. But i dont want to have to get all my friends to use Orkut, they already use gmail, so i want to see this power within my gmail contacts list, organically growing as i, and my relationships do, through the use of my gmail/gtalk account.

    I’ve just written to them and told them that, so hopefully they’ll sit up and listen…..Its coming tho, i’m sure…..

  20. Simon says:

    i agree with you, gmail would appear to be the number one most used app in my browser, however I still use msn simply because it is more functional – and has a larger user base.

  21. […] I found that this blog entry was interesting. The rising importance of online workspaces is opening a larger and larger market, one that Google is poised to own. The value of steadly more integrated and AJAX’ed web apps is astounding. […]

  22. Harvey W. says:

    “For most of the day, my Firefox browser is the only application I have open…..and it’s remarkable how little I find myself needing to hit the Start button anymore.”

    So what your saying is you DONT have a JOB and you surf porn all day long. GET A JOB YOU BUM!!!!

  23. Phil Sim says:

    Yeh, exactly Harcey. Wow, what incredibly perceptive deconstructive powers of subtext you have. Excuse me, I’ve got to get back to The Hun…

  24. […] An interesting look at what Google is trying to do with their new Google Chat application, which basically joins GMail and Google Talk. […]

  25. theCreator says:

    Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

  26. redelephant says:

    Just spreading the word ..

    Firefox has an extension called Gmail Manager that allows you to manage/check multiple gmail accounts.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1320&application=firefox

    I’ve got it up on my toolbar near the top of the page and it’s really nifty.

  27. Ryan B says:

    NYT is clearly on top of things.😉

    Redelephant – that’s been around for a few months.

  28. […] Squash » Blog Archive » GMail: One app to rule them all (tags: google) […]

  29. linickx says:

    I wish I was on the ‘cool’ list, my gmail account doesn’t have rss feeds let alone chat😥

  30. […] Two and a half years ago I wrote a post GMail: The one app to rule them all that made it to #2 on Digg. Its looking kinda prophetic […]

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