September 16, 2008

Google offline access and contacts

So I have switched a few months back to google apps. I mainly use the email client, and calendar. The spreadsheet, text processing are not nearly as useful, as I often get - can't open this file you will have to download it... The email client is very effective, fast, productive, name it, I like it. What I truly don't like about mail and calendar is that they are still not available offline.

It's mis-informed of google to think that I will always be online. I like to work offline, not only because sometimes I'm on a plane, but because I like to shut things off - cut myself from the world in order to get things done. I will make myself unavailable from IM, Skype and etc, and just plow through my to-do list(Remember the milk, which is available offline). I need just like in the physical world sometimes to shut my door, put on my headset, and hunker down to get stuff done.

With Gmail or calendar I can't do this, without being online and interrupted by incoming mails. My problem is if emails come in my inbox I will always find one that is important enough for me to stop what I'm doing now  and answer it.

  • I would like Google to make gmail, contacts and calendar available offline. Google can you do this? I hope Chrome is a step in this direction and not just smoke and mirrors.
Now for the real rant... Can you say "address book" - no really what is this half baked implementation of contacts in gmail. Google are the champion of new generation of internet companies, yet they see themselves as an island when implementing the address book. Contacts need to be available wherever I am, using whatever device I want. Scream whatever you want about outlook, but you can sync your contacts with just about anything you want.

Outside looking my conclusion is google is an engineering driven organization. How many engineers in your organization really care about their contacts enough to enter them religiously in their address book and are willing to sync them regularly with their mobile for example? I suspect only a few - because they don't need to have access to their contacts when not in front of their computers.

If google was more driven paying attention the non-consummers of google products in addition to their target market, the former being always bigger than the later,  I don't think we would have the same features available in the gmail address book. Engineers at gmail are concentrating on making sure that the hot-keys are there, the emails are organized in a new and eleguant way, efficient and intellectually attracting.

My opinion is you see a lot of engineering prowess from Google, but not nearly the same energy in market assessment smartness. Google is about helping you find information - it's about time they get on the band wagon and live the motto in this case.

  • I would like Google address book to sync with my Blackberry reliably.

end rant.

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