Archive for the ‘gmail’ Tag

AIM in Gmail: Google’s Strategy to Take Over Chat

Google has added integration for its web-based Gmail with AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Google Talk, the company’s chat client, competing with AOL, Microsoft’s Windows Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger, has been embedded into Gmail for months. Since practically nobody uses the Talk software, Google’s chat network was little more than people browsing the e-mail in their inboxes and messaging others doing the same at the same time.

But AIM integration changes things. AIM is the most popular instant messaging network in the United States, so now when you login to Gmail, you might end up staying longer to chat with friends. Since Gmail keeps logs of your chats alongside your inbox, it even offers features not traditionally present in the official AIM client. This new feature doesn’t bode well for web-based IM startup Meebo.

Is this a step in the right direction for Google, who would rather its own chat network be the standard, not AOL’s? I think so. It keeps its core e-mail user base, the only ones using Google Talk right now, on the site longer. And maybe when people start seeing their friends using one web site to manage their e-mail and chats, more people will signup for Gmail, in turn creating wider access to Talk in Gmail. Google is taking it one step at a time.


Todoist: Handy Web-based To-do List

I’ve mentioned before how much I use the to-do function in iCal. It’s a great way to keep your daily tasks organized. Mac users have a pretty good option for keeping tasks and appointments in one application — and it’s only going to get better with iCal-Mail integration in the new version of the OS, coming next month.

Unfortunately there hasn’t been a great all-in-one on the Web. Google Calendar is a pretty good web app for logging events, and Google has recently dropped an iPhone version that’s pretty nice. Gmail users will also appreciate the mail-calendar integration (if someone mentions a date in an email, it’ll suggest you create an appoint out of it).

But Google Calendar doesn’t provide a to-do list, instead encouraging its calendar users to use the ToDo gadget on its iGoogle home page.

There’s a better option. This tip comes from Stowe Boyd’s /Message blog, which has been featured on Bigthawt before.

Todoist is a great web-based to-do list. You can keep a simple to-do list, and check items off as you complete them. Boyd provides a tip to tie your list in to Firefox’s sidebar. Another great tool is the bookmarklet that plays well with Gmail — or any page on the net — that lets you connect multiple links or mail messages to a to-do task. It’s an awesome feature that I would love to see in iCal.

How Facebook Kept Its Users Coming Back

Facebook is by far one of the most fascinating web phenomena of the past few years. It came in with a service that fulfilled the exact same purpose as Friendster and MySpace were already offering millions of users. And not everybody could use it for the first few years!

So how did the site go from obscurity to being one of the top used web services? Aside from a clean, user-friendly design, and an isolated network system, there are two distinct trends that seem to be very successful.

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Apply Google’s ‘20% Time’ to Your Own Life

Google Inc. has long offered its coders a very compelling proposition: for one-fifth of the time they’re at work, they can do just about whatever they want.

That’s not exactly true, but that’s the basic idea behind “20 percent time” for employees. It means coders can devote a few hours each day to a personal project, pending approval by administrators.

Such “personal projects” that have resulted from the program are Gmail, Google News, Adsense and Google Reader.

The concept is so successful because it gives some of the smartest technological minds the freedom to pursue those ambitious projects that never would have gotten done if someone wasn’t paying them for the time they were working on it.

Not every employer will pay a handsome salary for doing whatever you want on company time, but these personal ambitions are important for maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle. Ambition is one of the most important ingredients for self-satisfaction.

So try to set aside about 20 percent of your time away from work — the time spent watching TV or surfing the Web — for your own project. If you have wanted to build a birdhouse, start a blog or write a book, but you’ve been putting it off, stop reading this and start working on it!

And of course, once you finish with that, start something else. Try not to keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Pownce integration for Digg

Here’s an idea that I can’t be the first to have come up with. After seeing founder Kevin Rose’s much-hyped (at least on Diggnation) web-based instant messaging application, called Pownce, I wouldn’t expect it to really catch on as a standalone project.

Cue Digg-Pownce integration. Private messaging has been the gaping hole in the Digg experience since the community-driven website launched in 2004. How can you expect to sustain a community, where members can’t contact each other?

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