I was looking at a Google search result and I saw this alert pop up, regarding a flight:
I clicked on it and saw a second search page, where the search query was ‘My Flights’, and this popped to the top:
And the link to the confirmation email — from which the information had been pulled — was offered up.
So, I can see that Google could build a search-based competitor to TripIt relatively easy. Instead of having to forward travel confirmations from airlines, hotels, etc. to TripIt, Google could simply index them in a smart way. And Google could correlate trips with travel dates on my Google calendar. So imagine if I had a trip to Southern California on calendar as a multiday event, Google could have pulled hotel and other information together with the two flights there and back, and used the name of the event as a tag, or folder, and the calendar event could have collated all the travel information together automatically.
Look out, TripIt!
I saw a new option pop up in Gmail today, and I have opted into a field trial of a new Gmail search. Now Google will show relavant files in Google Drive and Google Calendar along with emails when searching in Gmail. Also, emails and Google Drive files will show up in Google Searches.
Google is on the verge of launching their native Gmail app, multiple sources tell me. In fact, I believe it has already been submitted to Apple for review. If it gets approved, it should be out soon. And I think it’s going to be approved.
This is great news for a couple of reasons. First: native Gmail app! Awesome. Second: those who have seen the app tell me it’s pretty fantastic. Perhaps even surprisingly so.
But again, Google has had a nice mobile web version of Gmail optimized for the iPhone for some time, so what’s the big deal? Well the real big deal is Push Notifications. Finally.
This is long-awaited and overdue.
I like some Apple apps, but in a best-of-breed world I have to say that Gmail is better. Plus, I use Remember The Milk for personal task management, and its integration with Gmail is great.
It will be interesting to see how RTM’s integration works on the native Gmail app, if at all.
It’s a shame that Gist is now out of sync with the three pane Gmail. I bet it will only be a few days before they get that straight, though.
I bet that Remember The Milk, Raportive, and other plugins have stopped working, too.
I started using Sparrow this week — a Mac OS X lightweight email client — partly to get a three pane email view.
Then today, I read that Google announced a three pane display on Gmail, similar to what they did on the iPad.
So, I am out the $9.99 for Sparrow, I guess.
Sparrow is a reasonably good email client, but I was a bit misled by the positioning as a ‘social email client’. What’s the social part? It’s just email in a slightly more fluid UX.
There is a place for social email — as I wrote about in Liquid Email in July — but Sparrow isn’t it. And neither is Gmail.
So I’ll go back to Gmail. mostly because I can have a more-or-less similar experience on all platforms I use.
When you first log in to a Gmail account using Safari on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, it offers to set up that account for you in Mail, iCal and iChat.
Google will be rolling out this new Gmail widget over the next few weeks. Looks like an effort to take back the upper right hand corner of their territory which has been claimed by Rapportive and Gist. But it doesn’t reach out as far, and the use case here is that of work friends coordinating some party, which isn’t Rapportive’s pitch.
Will Google misstep on this, and fail to make the People Widget truly compelling, like they have with Google Tasks? Google Tasks does not support any collaboration, for example, so the nearly most obvious scenario — assigning a task to a colleague or friend — has been missing since launch.
What I want is LinkedIn style information about people I don’t know well. And the most recent tweets of nearly everybody I am coordinating with, and so on. Not just Google mail and calendar information.
Google: There is a big world of social software out there that we rely on. Please think of us when you build these toys, not just the folks eating free lunch at the Googleplex!
- Matt Richtel, E-Mail Use Falls as Young Chat and Text
There is still an opportunity for hybrid private/public replacement for email that integrates with text. Gmail hasn’t cracked that nut yet.
As an avid user of Remember The Milk, I wanted to offer two quick suggestions:
RTM has a GMail extension, too - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5339
Also, RTM can be run in the sidebar via their very powerful Google gadget. I do this everyday - it’s great.
So I took a look, and in a few minutes, I switched to Remember The Milk, and quickly decided to drop Todoist.
Todoist is based on the project metaphor: every task must be in a project, which annoys me, and complicates the interface and experience. RTM, on the other hand, better supports my bottom-up mindset: I create tasks and tag them with as many terms as I like, so I can display everything tagged ‘London’ or ‘cash’.
I favor the chronological orientation of the RTM sidebar, and the ease with which I can pull down the controller on each task to set the status to complete, or to postpone or edit the task.
Here’s the web site, which opens when you click on a task in the sidebar, or select edit:
The list is fine, but I seldom spend much time adding tasks in this view, except to add notes to tasks.
The integration with Google Calendar is totally great, and it the primary integration point that sells me on RTM:
The hack creates a new calendar which contain RTM tasks in some sneaky way (I say sneaky, because you can’t see the tasks when you try to subscribe to that RTM calendar). By clicking on the check icon associated with each day, you see any that day’s tasks, plus any others that are still pending from earlier days. These can be edited or completed just as in the sidebar, and new tasks can be added, and tied to the day selected. Very cool.
The integration with Gmail is not as clean and direct as with Todoist: when you use the “Add to RTM” button that gets placed at the bottom of Gmail’s emails, it pops a window:
It you want to add tags or set the date for the gmail-linked task, you have to edit the magic words in the email that is generated, and which is later sent to your Remember The Milk account. Later, if you want to bring up the email that was linked, you have to go through two steps:
So it’s workable, but I favor the more direct one-click approach that Todoist provides. RTM’s team should do something along those lines.
However, I have found the switch worthwhile, and I am very happy with RTM’s look and feel, especially the tag-based organization into taggings, not projects.
Alexandra Samuel also commented on the earlier post:
Stowe, you make a compelling case for ToDoist over RTM, though I have been pretty happy with RTM — except for the basic nightmare of having tasks split between RTM and Basecamp. I just blogged how we’re using Basecamp (http://www.socialsignal.com/basecamp-workflow), despite the fundamental problem that we have with Basecamp’s lack of task due dates or task annotation.
What I’m curious to hear — and a little reluctant to take on the hard way, i.e. by personally testing yet another project management tool — is whether your Todoist plus Huddle approach would offer any major improvement in task management integration, compared to our Basecamp plus RTM solution. It sounds like you are still in the same pickle of needing to keep tasks in two places. Does the non-secure RSS setup at Huddle let you export your tasks in some more usable form (e.g. the kludgy approach of placing them on an iGoogle homepage, next to an RTM widget, so you can at least lay eyes on all your tasks in one place)? Or would you, given the overhead of switching a team to a new tool, wait for some more revolutionary, hint hint, solution?
Yes, I am still divided between a task management tool — RTM — and a social work management tool — Huddle — which both have task management capabilities, and which are unintegrated. I use RTM to manage my personal debris: telephone calls, posts to write, email to follow up on, planes, trains, and automobiles. This follows my personal patterns pretty well.
Of course, I could use RTM’s shared tasks with others, in principle, but I am a soloist playing in many orchestras, so trying to get my colleagues in the various companies where I am consulting to use RTM seems a bit too complex, since all it offers is task management. So, I invite my colleagues to use Huddle to manage the conversations around our work, and any project-related shared tasks. Or they invite me to use Basecamp, which happens frequently, or Clearspace, or some other tool. And I just flex, because there is so little leverage from having all your work in one of these contexts, anyway. They are just big collections of projects chatter, useful for collaborating on concepts and coordinating work lists, but not particularly geared to supporting the flow of work.
Yes, I have dreams of a more revolutionary solution, but that’s all you’ll get out of me today, Alexandra. In the near term, I have provided a list of recommendations to the folks at Huddle, and they are at work on some of them. Most importantly, I want things like having comments on Huddle posts (which they now call ‘whiteboards’ for no good reason) finding their way into the RSS feed. And, yes I would like tasks to show up in the RSS feed as well.
Stowe, not everybody uses Gmail. Does Todoist integrate with other email applications? Wrike does. I use it everywhere and can check a project updates even from my BlackBerry. I’ve read your review, looks pretty tough. But it was almost a year ago, Wrike guys have done a lot and the tool is now very efficient. I signed up only in May and I don’t know how it was in the beginning, but Wrike is full-fledged now. And besides, you can share all your tasks in Wrike. I have a small business and my whole team is working in Wrike. If I want to get an overview of my whole project work I use timeline, which is very handy. This tool doesn’t need “integration” with Huddle or any other tools. So probably you should take a look at it once again?
Well, I do use Gmail, so that matters to me, a lot. I really don’t like the Wrike model, which is — once again — tied to a “project as container” metaphor. Wrike’s timeline view is a nice feature, but it’s not important enough to me in general to justify the tool.
When Greg wrote ‘I use timeline’ I thought he meant another external tool. I hadn’t heard of Timeline, which is a widget for visualizing time-based information. That looks cool, although you have to manually generate the Timeline dataset, right? Too much work, in general. Maybe someone will build an exporter from RTM and/or Huddle, and I could get timelines whenever I needed one.
I am using the Flickr upload by email option:
One of the benefits of doing this my Gmail is that the pictures are saved as attachments in my account, and so I have two copies of all the pictures: one at Flickr, and one at Google. If Google provided a simple interface to attachments, I would be inclined to delete the originals on my hard drive, after doing the email.
This leads me to a suggestion for Google: Why not provide a way that all attachments on email that I send — not just receive — should find their way into Google docs. Which means they would have to start supporting photos there, not just RTF and spreadsheets. After all, they are storing them already: they just need a better interface for browsing them.