Google everything

Over the past couple of months I’ve tried out most Google services in the quest for research efficiency. Ratings, in no particular order:

  • Gmail: I use it but admit that I don’t yet “get it”. I expect to experience Gmail epiphany some day soon.
  • Docs/Spreadsheets: Nice idea but needs more features to convince me fully.
  • Notebook: probably my favourite. Simple and cleanly executed, makes gathering notes from the web a snap.
  • Web albums: not bad. I can see their potential for sharing e.g. gel photos. For non-work related photography, Flickr all the way.
  • Reader: also not bad and good for sharing feeds, but I prefer a standalone such as Liferea.
  • Groups: useful but not one of their better offerings. Needs work and better features.
  • Calendar: barely used it so can’t comment much. I don’t do a lot of scheduling, probably useful for those who do.

On the topic of Google Groups – our lab has set up a couple of private groups, one for general lab stuff and one for a specific project. This is working quite well but there are a few annoyances. In particular:

  • Registering users who have a Gmail address but would prefer to use an alternative address. Basically, they can’t.
  • Calendar integration would be really, really useful for group event reminders.
  • Page creation is extremely limited. It would be great if you could add e.g. the code that generates an RSS feed summary from Google Reader, or gadgets, to a Groups page.

Criticisms aside, I’m a big fan of Google services on the whole and recommend that everyone give them a go and provide feedback to Google.

3 thoughts on “Google everything

  1. Deepak

    Cool thread. My take

    Gmail – I don’t use any other email service anymore. Unfortunately I have to use Outlook at work.

    Docs/Spreadsheets. I use it for my Worldchanging blogging (to keep a record, since articles go through an editor). Otherwise mostly for jotting down stuff

    Notebook – I use it a lot to dump information, but find it a little limiting (no tags)

    Web Albums – Don’t use, since I am married to Flickr

    Reader – The best thing since sliced bread

    Groups – Use it heavily in collaborative fun projects with friends, but we have switched to basecamp for the real serious stuff

    Calendar – Use it heavily (in fact all the time)

    Analytics – Use it a bit and like it. Does more than I need.

    Calendar integration into Groups and Gmail would complete things for me.

  2. nsaunders Post author

    Mmm, just today I had my Reader epiphany. All those standalone readers on different machines, trying to keep the OPMLs synchronised, no way to share them…hey, Reader!

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