Posts tagged with "google"

Damnit

On one hand, I no longer have the annoyance of not being able to click the “update all” button.

On the other, McTube has disappeared from the US AppStore (at least, probably the entire AppStore).

Damnit.

Email Services…why must they all suck?

Like a lot of nerds, I use Google for email, and have since 2003. Until about 2011, I used a personal Gmail account, forwarded my @peelman.us aliases to Gmail, and had my family living on Dreamhost’s email service. In October of that year I finally signed up for Google Apps and moved everybody into that bucket, a move I regret more every time Google opens their press room and makes another announcement.

I didn’t undertake that move lightly. I researched several alternatives, including free services, paid services from Rackspace, etc., and even considered hosting my own server for a spell. In the end, the annual cost of the paid services was absolutely outrageous and Google was the only free service (at the time) that was a serious contender in allowing native third-party domain support. Outlook.com didn’t launch until a few months later, and doing a second move so soon after that one to an unproven service seemed like asking for trouble.

Yet, Google continues to disappoint:

  • Killing ActiveSync support (for new accounts)
  • Killing CalDAV
  • Never fixing IMAP (admittedly it has gotten somewhat better)
  • Limited to 10 user accounts, yet still having to endure ads
  • If you want 11 users you pay for 11 users, not 10 free + 1 paid
  • Contacts Sync has always sucked. (even with ActiveSync, it still sucked)

Outlook.com has several flaws of its own that make me not want to switch, even now. The biggest of which is that they support ActiveSync, but not IMAP. So one step forward, two steps back. Typical for a Microsoft product.

So here’s is my question: why hasn’t some Dropbox-ish or GitHub-ish startup started work on solving this problem?

As much as we all wish Email (in its current form) would die:

  • That’s going to be a long process
  • There’s always going to be a need for an async message protocol
  • The hypothetical service in question could/would be staged to switch protocols

Ideally, a freemium email service would:

  • Support third party domains
  • Support ActiveSync & IMAP
  • Decent webmail interface
  • Allow individual users to upgrade their mailboxes for a monthly fee And/Or
  • Allow the administrator(s) to upgrade mailboxes under their purview

I envision something akin to Dropbox or GitHub, where I can set up my domain, invite users, who can set up their account and attach them to my domain. Users could belong to multiple domains, have multiple aliases, etc., all going to a single inbox. Domain admins can configure lists / groups.

At this point, I’m hoping that Apple will do an iCloud-For-Domains service at some point in the near future, but I’m not holding my breath. Dropbox’s recent foray into email with their purchase of Mailbox gives me limited hope that they might wade into the hosting territory, but the pragmatist in me knows that is unlikely. Yahoo still does cool things with their offerings, so maybe they might develop a solution that solves some or all of these needs and wouldn’t be exuberantly priced. All I know for sure is that at this point, I’m stuck with hating Google, and I don’t like that.

Pre-post update: This post has been queued for several days now, and I just wanted to add this before it went live: at some point, before spring’s end ideally, I will be moving email hosting away from Google. The inability to set up push email for my account (and anybody else under my umbrella who upgrades their phone or device) is going to be the last straw. Having just replaced my iPad mini and soon upgrading to a new iPhone, neither device can/will be able to use ActiveSync. Its far from the only reason, but its the last one.

Apr 8

Link Nationwide Google Fiber would cost $11B over five years, probably will never happen | Ars Technica

Does $11B sound cheap to anybody else?

Link Daniel Jalkut: NetNewsWire Cloud

Don’t get me wrong: this is no small order. I would not fault Black Pixel one iota for looking at the challenge and deciding to take a pass. But if they are truly passionate about RSS, this is their moment. This is the time when accepting the impossible challenge will reap the greatest reward.

Inspiring words, and like Marco I would love to see this become reality. But I’m not holding my breath.

Maps on iOS: Google vs Apple

Caution: Obligatory Google Maps (gMaps) for iOS post.

I can’t say I was excited about any impending Maps app from Google. I didn’t loathe the iOS 6 Maps application nearly as much as some out there. But I have to give credit where its due: Google did a stupid-fantastic job on this. The UI is incredibly well thought out, intuitive and fluid. Drag handles seem to be all the rage lately, and Google’s use of one for layer management is much more engaging and modern-feeling than the skeuomorphic page curl used by Apple’s Maps. Oh, and while Maps and gMaps both have vector road names now, Google’s are both more prevalent and easier to read. Maps almost never gives me the name or number of a road or highway where I’m looking, I have to scroll several “pages” worth of map before I find an occurrence, and that’s if I find one at all.

Performance-wise, holy shit does it blow Maps out of the water. From routing and re-routing to simple tile loading, gMaps is 100Mb Ethernet and Maps is dialup.

I definitely had my doubts about Turn-by-Turn navigation; Apple’s unique ability to hijack the status bar and lock screen would give them an edge, or so I thought. Between the background audio directions and Google’s effective use of notifications, I was very surprised at how present directions were, regardless of the foreground activity. Even the voice is more pleasing than Siri, and the voice prompts seem to come with better timing, either earlier in general, or they adapt based on your speed. Given my ‘spirited’ driving, the Maps app always felt like it was reminding me of the upcoming turn or exit a little later than it should have.

The only two nitpicks, I could really muster after two days of use: 1) the over-eager re-routing algorithm. Stopping at a stoplight or for construction traffic isn’t reason for me to dive off on the side street or make a U-turn. 2) The “my dot” indicator could be a little easier to spot, and a little less pastel.

I wasn’t happy with the way Google and Apple parted ways on the maps thing, and while I was mostly content with Apple’s solution, gMaps bests it in every way practical. Google’s polished UI is matched by their refined mapping data. I haven’t looked at the SDK they released for iOS developers yet; but I’m looking forward to see what apps are wrought from it as well.

Link Foursquare Ditches Google Maps For OpenStreetMaps

parislemon:

This is interesting because maps are obviously a vital part of location-based services. And while a few have picked Bing Maps over Google Maps, I can’t recall any service as big as Foursquare, which was using Google for so long, ditching them in favor of the open alternative (as they note, several smaller startups have, often due to cost — which was also why Foursquare started looking for other alternatives).

Worth noting that this only impacts the Foursquare website right now — the iPhone and Android apps will continue to use Google Maps since both of those OSes offer Google Maps in their SDKs.

But that brings up something else: how long is Apple going to stick with Google Maps? At the time of the iPhone launch, it was really the only good solution (and they had a great relationship with Google). Now there are several options (and the Google relationship has gone to shit).

I think it’s quite possible that the only reason Apple hasn’t switched to another alternative at this point is because they continue to work on their own solution.

Agreed.

Link It's Unnatural

parislemon:

Sarah Lacy talking about Google+ on PandoDaily:

We simply don’t need another social network, no matter how great your circles are or how badly Larry Page wants to have one. 

Agreed. The problem, which Google really, truly does not seem to understand is that at the end of the day, they’re solving a problem which has already been solved. They may think it hasn’t, but it has.

It’s the same problem Bing faces in search against Google. It’s a fine product, but in order to get people to use it, it has to be far better than the incumbent. Bing isn’t, so it will never beat Google (despite Google’s best efforts to back that thang up). Google+ isn’t, so it will never beat Facebook (or Twitter, for that matter).

But Google is trying to cheat this system. By shoving Google+ in our faces, they think that they can make their product catch on without the need to be above and beyond better than the incumbent.

I think we’ll see that this approach still won’t work. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter work because they evolved based on how users were naturally using them. Google+ is trying to make the users evolve to fit into the network they created. It’s unnatural.

Yep.

A terrible Tumblr theme, but his image and point is spot-on. I have tried Bing repeatedly, but I keep coming back to Google. Between the SEO abuse and the ads, its becoming less useful though.

rickwebb:

God. I am getting so fed up with Google. This is this morning’s comparison. I experience this at least once a day now for a variety of things. 

I may not be done with Google yet, but I can see the day I will be on the horizon, and I am looking forward to it. 

A terrible Tumblr theme, but his image and point is spot-on. I have tried Bing repeatedly, but I keep coming back to Google. Between the SEO abuse and the ads, its becoming less useful though.

rickwebb:

God. I am getting so fed up with Google. This is this morning’s comparison. I experience this at least once a day now for a variety of things. 

I may not be done with Google yet, but I can see the day I will be on the horizon, and I am looking forward to it.