Google, Yahoo! and innovation

Google recently released “Google calendar“. Time and again, Google reminds me of Jeremy Zawodny's blog, Google is building Yahoo 2.0 – Google trying to re-build what Yahoo and others have built, but provide one killer feature that makes it irresistible.

Ok, if you search for comparsions of the Yahoo and Google services, you are bound to get thousands of entries. I don't want to do the same here. But there are some things that I would like to highlight from my own personal experience.

I have tried out a lot of the Yahoo services. Same is the case with Google. Although Yahoo has a lot of features, the innovation seems to have stopped. The mail, address book, calendar, note services are still in the pre-Web 2.0 phase. (Yeah they have been promising a new look and feel, but where is it??? I am waiting). Google on the other hand started off in the early Web 2.0 phase, and has added some product or the other to its portfolio, not to mention adding petty features to existing products.

Another striking difference has been the kind of integration that exists between the services. Yahoo started with lots of services. Each service was on offer individually, least bothered about what other services offer and how the 2 could be related. For example, Yahoo's calendar service seems disintegrated from Mail. Then there is a briefcase service to store files and attachments. The chat service is different; there are different kinds of searches. There are different kinds of bookmarking services. The list goes on and on.

Contrast this with Google. Google started off providing services one after the other, carefully keeping them tightly integrated. (Is this slow poison? 🙂 Get users to use one service and lure them into the rest?) Google seems to be building a 'single page interface'. “For all your requirements on the web use Google.”, that's what they seem to say. You can use the calendar from the mail interface, your chat logs are in your mail. You have ample space to store all your mail (you don't need a briefcase), the search is always there no matter where you are, search something, if you find it interesting save it, label it and search for it later.

This does not mean Google has done it all right. There is a lot still left to be done. The ultimate aim seems to be – get me all my information on demand – get me the information, wherever I want it, whenever I want it, get me only the information I want, and all the information I want, instantly.

All this translates to: A great expectation from Yahoo's new service. Do they have this kind of service integration? Or is it just old things in new clothing? I am waiting.

Gmail forwarding and service interoperability – an interesting observation

Ever seen the Gmail forwarding feature? Gmail helps you in forwarding your mails from one account automatically to another account.

It just occured to me (and would occur to any hacker), what if I forward mails to some account and then from that account forward it back to this?

Guess what? Nothing happens! Gmail has taken care of that.

We had a similar problem when we were discussing about service interoperability in Ananyeah. I guess it is easier to take care of this in Gmail as it is only mail. What if there are other services?

Let me give you an example for other services. It is possible to subscribe to a blog and get the feed delivered in our reader. Let us call the first reader, Reader1. Now assume, Reader1 provides the option of creating an RSS out of it. If I subscribe to this RSS using another feed reader, Reader2 and then subscribe to their RSS using the Reader1, what is bound to happen? Time to check out and start experimenting. (And if you did not understand this concept, don't worry. You will hear about it soon.)