Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Two Nuggets of GMail Joy

I am consistently amazed at some of the innovations that appear in GMail. Google has some smart folks working on this product and the rate of innovation must be making lots of people nervous. Here are two recent items I've noticed that blow me away. If you are replying to an email message in a conversation and the person your corresponding with emails you before you reply you get a notification that asks you if you want to ignore the new message or view it. Odds are you'll probably want to see it and it alter your response. I like this feature because it helps optimize email usage. Maybe you don't have to reply at all. The next feature I've noticed is that regardless of what chat client you use with GTalk, Google saves the contents of your chat under the Chats link in GMail. That means if you use iChat as opposed to the GTalk client or the web chat client integrated into GMail you still get a complete searchable archive of your chat sessions. The greatest thing about all of this, which is easy to forget sometimes, is that every GMail user gets these features, and any new ones Google creates, automatically without upgrading, buying new software, installing new bits, etc. It's hard to imagine traditional software competing for much longer under this model. Companies like Microsoft must eventually succumb to this kind of pressure. They will either evolve or die. It will be more difficult to counter Google for Your Domain with Exchange especially when Google releases off-line support for reading and composing emails when not connected to the network. Of course, my wireless broadband card keeps me on the network virtually anywhere I travel so off-line mode or not, if GMail's web interface is good for a power mail user like me shouldn't it be good enough for anyone?

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